More than three months ago, Malathi Rangachari had booked ‘diamond’ tickets for her and her husband, both fans of A R Rahman for the music composers ‘Marakkuma Nenjam’ concert on the scenic East Coast Road near Chennai. First, rains played spoilsport and the event was postponed. However, when on Sunday evening the rescheduled live concert was held, Malathi returned home not with pleasant memories of melodious music but with plenty of frustration.
“We started from our home in Alwarpet post-lunch and reached the venue by 3.30 pm. We struggled to park our car and by the time we found a space, we found ourselves in a swarm of people with hardly any breathing space. The arrangement were so poor that we could not even jostle our way to the entry gate despite trekking three kilometres. Frustrated, we made our way back. We are just aimlessly moving around for four hours,” she lamented.
She was not alone. On Sunday night disappointed fans had taken to social media to recount the horror of an experience they had just trying to reach the venue. Many who drove in their cars found themselves stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic for three to four hours and yet could not find a parking space.
Many of those who managed to reach near the entry gate said it was chaotic all over the place and a near stampede like situation prevailed due to poor crowd management. People just struggled to make their way back to the parking lots.
“We saw families getting separated, parents desperately trying to locate their children, elders panting, and much more,” said Raghav, a fan of A R Rahman.
Some women complained that they were molested by men in the crowd and there was nothing they could do. The organisers had apparently sold more tickets than what the venue could accommodate and they were unable to manage the crowd. Even Chief Minister M K Stalin’s convoy was caught in the traffic.
On Monday, Director General of Police Shankar Jiwal directed the Tambaram Police Commissioner to investigate what led to the overcrowding and traffic chaos. The probe would cover the aspect of overselling of tickets.
The administration of A R Rahman’s ‘X’ handle, posted, “Dearest Chennai Makkale, those of you who purchased tickets and weren’t able to enter owing to unfortunate circumstances, please do share a copy of your ticket purchase to email@example.com along with your grievances. Our team will respond asap."