In the west, there is a popular culture of independent artists, unlike in India where music is largely dominated by films. Rahman feels there is no dearth of talent, but the country lacks good centres for the artists to perform.
“There is a whole open territory waiting to be exploited for many people. First of all, we don’t have art centres, we don’t have a radio city. We do have amazingly talented performers, but we don’t have the right international art centres,” said Rahman.
“We have so many metros, but where are the world class centres? We don’t have an opera house, so that culture has to come in. Once that culture comes in, then you have tourists coming in, watching Indian performers,” he said.
The Tamasha composer runs KM Music Conservatory in Chennai and says even though the institute houses phenomenal talent, the students are often left asking questions about what the future holds for them in the industry. “We have amazing talent here, but where is the outlet.
I have a conservatory back in Chennai, the students there are doing amazing stuff in singing and playing instruments and all are asking me, ‘where should we go after this’?” he said.
“The academy is bringing out amazing people, they all are going to England and rest of the world, but I want them to be a part of the Indian culture. I want them to shine here,” the 49-year-old musician said. Rahman advocates the need to set up a place like Broadway where artists from across the country will get a platform to perform.
“We should have a place like Broadway so there will be so many jobs created and sense of pride. Imagine being a part of Ramayan and Mahabharata and touring cities, there are so many stories out here which can happen,” he said.