A.R. Rahman, the Oscar-winning Indian composer, will perform a free concert in Australian as a goodwill gesture to sooth tensions following a spate of local assaults and study scams targeting Indian students.

Rahman, who won Academy Awards for best original score and best song for "Jai Ho" from "Slumdog Millionaire," will play the diplomat when he opens the Sydney Festival 2010 with a Jan. 16 concert at Parramatta Park.

"I'm thrilled we're starting out with such a big, generous event that, in light of current tensions between India and Australia, will help to reflect our city as a welcoming, socially and culturally inclusive place," said Sydney Festival director Lindy Hume in a statement.

The artist personally suggested the one-off show following a series of well-publicised attacks against Indian students in Sydney and Melbourne, and the collapse of various education services which have left many Asian students out of pocket.

The problems have prompted high-level intervention. Australia's education minister Julia Gillard recently announced a broad review of the country's international education sector, while authorities have keenly played down any element of racism behind the attacks.

Australian music fans, however, have warmly welcomed Rahman. His international smash from the "Slumdog" soundtrack, "Jai Ho! (You Are My Destiny)" featuring the Pussycat Dolls, was a No. 1 hit on the ARIA singles chart and has certified platinum (70,000 units) down under.