The life of the celebrity is no unending bed of roses. Everyone wants a slice of their time when they are in public space. It may have started with an autograph, sometimes sought on pieces of paper torn out of notebooks in a hurry. Once cameras became handily sized, the fans would pester the celeb to grab just that one moment for a priceless ‘snap.’ Once the camera got miniaturised into the cellphone, it was the life of the celebrity that became even more difficult. Endless requests for selfies with the ubiquitous mobile phone are what celebs face today.
Is there a solution to this? The music maestro, AR Rahman, with a following that runs into tens of millions, is hoping there could be one as he experiments with an app that would enable his fans to augment the musician’s reality into their own lives. The virtual world might be offering the chance to ease the lives of celebs and ARR is trying it out, hoping to satisfy an insatiable demand with a picture that would feature Rahman and the fan. Would millions of his fans be satisfied with such an augmented reality presence picture for their albums, like the kind you can take in a museum with fabled artworks?
Over the past 25 years, Rahman has garnered an immense following for his music while also wowing everyone with his unassuming attitude. More often, he is mobbed by his fans requesting to take a picture with him, mostly selfies. In order not to disappoint his fans as well as to make things more comfortable for himself, the maestro has now come out with a unique concept putting Augmented Reality to use. The Roja composer’s novel app tries to address the giant appetite for selfies for social media posts by fans.
Rahman took to social media to write — “Other than music, the one thing people ask me often is that they want to take selfies. While it’s fun to do it when I am outside bonding with fans, it’s also a hindrance to creativity. Thoughts and tunes come at random moments to me, while I am walking at the airport or while I am sitting in a lounge or dining at a restaurant. Instead of denying their request and feeling odd about it, the idea of an Augmented Reality photo app felt like such a blessing. I discussed the idea with Kaali Sudheer and Mani Shankar of Avantari to execute it.”
Speaking to DC, Rakesh Rajan, an ardent fan who involves himself in several of Rahman’s fan club activities, says, “It’s a boon to fans of Rahman sir. It is first of its kind at least in India. It is not possible for every fan to get close to him and this is the best alternative. I feel it’s a great idea from sir to keep his fans happy.”
Noted artist, photographer AP Shreethar who has successfully launched in the city a unique 3D interactive Click Art Museum and Live Art Museum, akin to the Tussauds Wax Museum, says, “Rahman sir is a tech savvy person and he updates himself with the latest technology. And launching an app for his fans to take selfies is a brilliant thought. Even people in remote villages who would never get a chance to take a picture with Rahman can get this great opportunity. As far as Tussauds Wax Museum or Live Art Museum, one has to go in person to take selfies with their favourite celebrities. But ARR has made it convenient, by letting you capture the magic moment from wherever you are.”
Some fans express their disappointment though. They feel that yearning for a moment in time with Rahman is a lifetime ambition for them and they are not going to be satisfied with the shortcut of augmented reality. “That one is for very young people, Personally I would not be happy unless I can get close enough to Sir one day to take a selfie or have a picture taken,” says young fan Suchitra. The jury is still out on an experiment that could be the first in the world by a celebrity. To his credit, Rahman at least tries to please as many fans as he can.