After three years, A R Rahman is getting ready for another world tour. The final rehearsal is scheduled for May 5 in Los Angeles in the presence of select world press. Jai Ho — The Journey Home will kick off in New York on June 11.
Over the next 45-days, the double Oscar and Grammy winner will be hosting shows across the US, Canada, Netherlands, France, Norway and UK. Besides the Big Apple, some of the other 15 cities that will figure in Rahman’s itinerary are Atlantic City, Washington DC, Chicago, Detroit, Toronto, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Amsterdam, Paris,
Oslo, Birmingham, Manchester, and London. The grand finale is scheduled in London on July 25.
“We’ve booked the Wembley stadium and O2 auditorium for the final concert,” informs Vijay Galani who has purchased the rights to the three shows in UK. The first of the concerts will be at Manchester on July 23 and the second one at Birmingham on July 24.
The reason, he says, he zeroed in on UK was because it’s the only cosmopolitan market abroad.
“You are assured of a good mix of Indians, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, British, Europeans and Americans. And that’s a big plus because while the audience for Bollywood stars is limited to the NRIs and the Asian populace, in the case of Rahman the reach is far wider after the Jai ho! euphoria.”
No Bollywood stars
Galani has friends in the business and has financially invested in a few shows over the last 15 years. “The experience helped me learn the ropes and gave me the confidence to go solo this time,” says Bollywood’s first producer to jump into the concert bandwagon.
Well known choreographer-director, Amy Tinkham, who has worked with stars like Paul McCartney, Madonna and Britney Spears in the past, will be directing the shows that will be a virtual journey with acrobatics, dance pieces on changing sets, LED screens but no Bollywood stars.
“Rahman will be travelling with a troupe of 85 people that includes singers, musicians, dancers but no actors,” says Galani, whose ‘package deal’ was locked after taking into account travel and stay expenses for the troupe as well.
Sell-out crowds He admits the investment is big without going into figures, but is 100 per cent confident of recouping the cost. “There is a huge demand for Rahman in the West. All the shows have already been sold out to promoters who will start selling tickets by the first week of April. We expect packed houses everywhere,” he asserts.
The tickets for the UK shows will be priced between 35 pounds and 250 pounds. “For star shows, the highest tickets are tagged at 100 pounds. The VIP area for the Rahman concert is going at over double the price but we are confident there will not be even one vacant seat,” says Galani.
Meanwhile, Galani who entered the theatres with Veer in January has bought the rights to a Malayalam film and hopes to go into production with the Hindi remake later this year. “It’s a romantic comedy,” he says.
Will it star Salman Khan who wrote and played the lead in his period epic Veer? “I don’t know. Once I’ve decided on the director, we will get on to the casting.”