It was one of the proudest moments in my life in Fukuoka!
I got a chance to attend Fukuoka Prize 2016 award ceremony commemorating “our” A. R. Rahman as a Grand Prize laureate, held on 15th September. Apart from A. R. Rahman, this year’s winners were Ambeth R. Ocampo, a Filipino public historian and journalist for the Academic Prize, and Yasmeen Lari, a Pakistani architect and humanitarian aid worker for the Arts and Culture Prize. Both of their achievements were equally impressed and eye opening. But today, I want to write about Rahman for my friends in all over the world who are the fans of him!
In the ceremony, Sujan Chinoy, the Ambassador of India, Srinivasa Popuri from UN-Habitat, as well as Prince and Princess Akishino were present.
To Rahman, Fukuoka Mayor Soichiro Takashima gifted the prize, while flower bouquets were given to his daughter as well, who were also attending the event. Rahman later revealed the audience in his speech that it was coincidentally her birthday.
Rahman’s speech started with his childhood memory. He lost his father in very young age, and his early life episodes cannot be separated from the YAMAHA (a Japanese manufacturer of musical instruments) keyboard his mother bought him. As such, his love and passion for music were always connected to the respect for Japan as he learned her citizens’ robust and invulnerable spirits, despite relentless hardships they had gone through. How all the enthusiastic Japanese fans of Rahman fully packed the venue must have felt a kind of excitement!
Asked by the facilitator what would he do if he faced a sort of slump in creating new music, his answer was to separate personal and professional emotions as much as he could and not to let them mixed up.
The highlight of the event was A. R. Rahman’s performance sessions with the fantastic full orchestra assembled by the students of Fukuoka Seiryo High School, where Rahman played the piano accompanied by Sitar. The numbers performed included "Oruvan Oruvan" from Tamil movie Muthu, "Mausam and Escape" and "Jai Ho" from Slumdog Millionaire. Particularly, I got goosebumps by the masterpiece of the piano introduction part of "Mausam and Escape" played by himself.
So many SPs for Rahman?
Later, it revealed that they were for His and Her Imperial Highnesses.
Brochure of Fukuoka Prize.