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South Indians must be represented in dignified manner, says AR Rahman 

The composer said he was disturbed by something a Chinese man had told him in Malaysia.

Haricharan Pudipeddi

Oscar-winning composer AR Rahman made a very strong statement about the representation of south Indian actors in their movies at the CII Dakshin 2022 – South India Media & Entertainment Summit, organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Southern Region. 

Recalling an incident from his visit to Malaysia seven years ago, he said, “I met a Chinese guy there. He was very nice. He was saying that he likes India and people from north India more as they are fairer. Their movies are much more charming. “

Rahman added that the statement was troubling. 

“I couldn’t understand how he came to the conclusion that North India is better. I wondered if he actually saw films made in the South. I was deeply disturbed. What we need to do I think, in my humble opinion, is to cast people with colour. Make them empowering. Give them characters that will give them dignity. This is the most important thing South Indians can do because we love our colour. We need to represent them in the most glorious, dignified way,” he said. 

Rahman further added that he doesn’t like to divide India into geographic spheres. 

“For me, India is India. When somebody does good here, north Indians benefit. Somebody does good there, we south Indians benefit. The borders have been broken. We need to empower ourselves and through art, it’s much easier,” he said. 

“It is very easy to divide people through art and movies. But this is the time to unite and celebrate differences.”