A.R. Rahman Releases New Version of “Ahimsa”

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2020-05-20)

A.R. Rahman, who worked with U2 on a new song “Ahimsa” late last year, has now released his own version of the song. The song, and accompanying video were uploaded to YouTube today, May 20, 2020, as it turned Midnight in India.


VIDEO: “Ahimsa Live” by A.R. Rahman, U2, AR Ameen and Various Artists

The song sees Rahman using the music from the original song, and being joined by a number of guests including his daughters Khatija and Raheema Rahman who sang on the original song by U2. Also joining on vocals are A.R. Ameen, Jonita Gandhi and Hriday Gattani. Additionally a number of other artists join them on stage from the Pune live concert which is used in the video. That concert, held in Pune, India, saw Rahman perform in the city on February 22, 2020. The show was part of his One Heart Tour. On Twitter, sharing the video, Rahman said only “Concert footage from our Poona concert before lockdown.”

The song is credited to A.R. Rahman and U2 in the video title card, however, it appears that Bono has been removed from the vocals, although it is possible some elements of the original U2 performance are retained in the music of this version of the song. Although presented as a live version of the song, it appears to be a studio version of the song, with live footage used for the video. The new video does make use of graphics developed by Bono for the lyric video for the original song.

The credits of the song list:

  • Original song by AR Rahman & U2
  • Performed by AR Rahman, AR Ameen, Jonita Gandhi, Khatija Rahman, Raheema Rahman and Hriday Gattani
  • Additional Cinematography: Ashik Mohammed, Meraky Collective
  • Show Director: Nazeef Mohammed, BToS Productions
  • Edited and Graded by: Akshita Talwar, BToS Productions
  • Post production: Allan Fernandes, BToS Productions

The single recorded with U2 was released November 22, 2019. A second, remixed version of the song was released on December 13, 2019. The collaboration was done to promote U2’s appearance in India for the first time as part of The Joshua Tree Tour 2019, and was recorded in Electric Lady Studios in New York City in 2019. The collaboration was done in conjunction with the Indian streaming service JioSaavn, who were helping to promote the tour in India.


VIDEO: “Ahimsa” in Mumbai, U2 with AR Rahman

U2 performed the track in concert in Mumbai along with Rahman, Khatija Rahman, Raheema Rahman and Rianjali Bhowmick. It was the first and only performance of the song to date.

Also in February 2020, Rahman used the original version of the song with U2 to welcome Donald Trump to India. Rahman joined Trump at a dinner hosted for the president. Rahman shared the track with U2, and welcomed Trump to his country.

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