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A Tale of Two Philanthropists: A.R. Rahman and Shaji Nada

In 2016 world renowned music composer, A.R. Rahman and celebrated President and CEO of Ideal Group, Shaji Nada officially began to work together on two exciting new projects—99 Songs and LeMusk.

In 2016 world renowned music composer, A.R. Rahman and celebrated President and CEO of Ideal Group, Shaji Nada officially began to work together on two exciting new projects—99 Songs and LeMusk.

The films, which are tentatively set to be released this year, include intriguing elements like virtual reality and a combination of sensory experiences. They will both be produced jointly by Rahman’s YM Movies and Nada’s Ideal Entertainment.

These two innovative minds however share more than their interests in creating unique content for international audiences. The ties that seem to truly bind them are their commitments to building capacity and realizing potential in those without the means to do so. Notably, both of these philanthropists carry out their efforts with focus on producing results, not fanfare.

In August of 2016 Rahman became the second Indian artist, after legendary Carnatic music vocalist M.S. Subbulakshmi, to perform at the UN General Assembly. On this occasion he was also recognized for his notable humanitarian efforts and support of a variety of philanthropic activities when he was presented the American Tamil Sangam’s Tamil Ratna Award.

Sangam president Prakash Swamy referred to him as "an embodiment of peace, humility and charity”.

Fittingly, a highlight of the concert at the UN was a performance by students of the Sunshine Orchestra, an initiative of the A.R. Rahman Foundation. The Orchestra selects children from underprivileged backgrounds to receive unparalleled musical training.

The ultimate goal of their work is to create more quality instrumentalists in India and to give them a chance at music on the world stage.

Meanwhile in the Greater Toronto Area, Ideal Developments of Ideal Group has been creating possibilities in Sri Lanka alongside the GTA through their Build Haven program. Through the program, for every unit that is sold here in the GTA, a portion of the proceeds goes toward building a home for a displaced family in need.

In addition to empowering those living in impoverished communities to gain access to a better quality of life, Ideal Developments is also transforming the lives of their volunteers through meaningful work and a tremendous sense of purpose. About the program, Nada has said “The support of our clients has been a crucial element in ensuring that we not only build sustainable communities locally, but that we realize our dream of building them around the world.”

In 2017 Nada’s philanthropy will continue to inspire locally and globally. In recognition of his partnership with Rahman, Ideal Group is producing Ideal Dreams, a tribute to the renowned composer’s 25 years in the film industry with proceeds supporting the A.R. Rahman Foundation.

The event will feature over 100 North American artists in acts comprised of song, dance and musical theatre set to the compositions that have mesmerized audiences for decades. Joining fans at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto on February 4th will be the Maestro himself.

Nada has said that "The show will be a true testament to Mr. Rahman's invaluable contributions to film and music. For 25 years he has inspired people around the world to not only push the boundaries of what's possible but to redefine them. This is at the heart of Ideal Entertainment's mission and we are honoured to be producing Ideal Dreams."

With many lives around the world already being impacted by their individual endeavours, the possibilities for creating transformative and inspiring change seem endless for Rahman and Nada together. With sights set on February 4th, there seems to be much to look forward to in these two leaders’ examples this year and beyond.

Tickets to Ideal Dreams can be purchased here.


Ideal Dreams

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