The clock was ticking towards 9:00 pm of the 14th of Jan, 2011. We were rushing to park our car somewhere in Bur Dubai and rush to Sheikh Rashid Hall to experience an event close to our hearts - Rahul and I. RDB as RD Burman or Panchamda would be fondly remembered by many, will always create a ripple in the hearts of people who love Indian Film Music. A person who revolutionized the film music with his styles. The cherry on the icing is Ashatai's (Asha Bhonsle) live performance.
Reached the venue, got our tickets from the counter and rushed in, where, Anamika and family were already eagerly waiting for the show to start. Everything was in a hurry to an extent where we were feeling really thirsty. Serena opted to rush out and get some water to drink and Anamika joined her. 120 seconds away from the show start Narendra gets a call - Serena and Anamika are stopped at the gates for trying to bring water into the hall. Great! I see people having coffee, and other beverages in their hands and snacking away to glory inside the hall and they stopped for trying to smuggle in water. Rushed out walked into the hall with the bottles of water after expressing the attitude we have and emerged victorious. The show started in a few minutes.
Gunjan the host for the day walked on to the stage for the crowd’s solace who have been waiting since 7:00 pm when the gates opened. He cracked a few silly jokes and paved way to the excitement. A joke on those who were in the hall with complimentary passes. Sadly we also fell into the group. He went on to invite Anita Shah, CEO of Cyclops Entertainment. Bad start to a good day. She was reading out the prepared speech with the resource person who drafted the speech who was not interested in checking when Ashatai performed in Dubai previously. I remember seeing her with Dr. KJ Yesudas and SPB on January 25, 2008. So far so good, waiting for the performance to start any minute now.
Gunjan went on to invite His Excellency Shri Sanjay Verma, Counsel General of India for a few words. The twist in the speech where he mentioned though he would be far from singing, someday he can say to son that he shared the stage with Ashatai. A man who really knows to use the right words at the right time. Recently during a function where a television channel was being launched, as the anchor mentioned rightly he is a man of few words but the words pointed rightly at the right person. CG went on to mention that just as we remember the quotes of Shakespeare than the whole volumes of his work, Indian Film songs are well remembered by music loves than the movie themselves. Film songs can be compared with "islands of excellence". CG concluded with an anecdote by Javed Akthar about Ashatai, comparing her to Menaka, who broke the 'tapas' of Vishwamithra. He did not leave out to mention Ashatai's feat of even singing with Bret lee, she being the Living Legend and about the Mangeshkars. Before making way for the show to start, HE. CGI Sanjayji mentioned that the God of appreciation is angry with desis as they don't clap much and at those words giving a cue to those who might forget to applaud to the great performance, claps thundered in Sheikh Rashid hall.
And finally the show started with the invite of Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan to perform on stage. He is a Pakistani classical singer belonging to Patiala Gharana lineage. He is the youngest brother of the late Asad Amanat Ali Khan. He was the lead vocalist of the Pakistani pop band Fuzön. He was awarded the President's Pride of Performance civil award on August 14, 2007.Shafkath Amanat Ali khan is also known as "The Rock Ustad".
He started with a usual and popular number - "dil ye bhula nahin paaye" and got the crowd to rock with "Aankhon ke sagar" one of his popular numbers. The audience were taken to a world of rock and classical with the song Khamaj from his Album Sagar - Saawan bhi kho jaaye piharwa mora sainyya moh se bole na. From classical to movie numbers he went on to a song from the movie Patiala house - Kyun main jaagoon. It’s the magic of Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy with the rock Ustad - pure musical magic. More magic was rendered to take the audience to a trance with "Kuch ajab khel kartar ke" a bandish performed in the true rock genre. The words keep ringing in my mind as I am writing them down.
Kuch ajab khel kartar ke, more sai ghareeb nawaaz ke.
Ek ko deen-o-mulk khazaane, ek bhikaari anaaj ke.
Kuch ajab khail kartar ke ...
After a close to heart rendition of Na Maye Na Bhej Mujhe Main Nai Jaana Pardes, rock ustaad made it rain with Jhoom jhoom badal barse in Raag Malhar. He brought a tear to the eyes with "ye hausla kaise jhuke ye arzoo" from the movie Dor. Then went on to perform "Bin tere koi khalish" from I hate love stories. No show is complete without the audience participation. Dubai stood proud with members of the audience singing in tandem with the Rock Ustad on mora saiyya moh se bole na. A few more rocking numbers followed
Aaj jaane ki zid na karo, which was again sung by ladies in the crowd who wanted the ustaad to stay back and sing more. He brought the house down with "Tere naina tere naina" which had to be sung again on popular demand. With the hand touching the heart and faith moving our soul forward, the crowd rocked to Duma dum mast kalandar. The band was introduced before he sang his last number "Man ye batha de tu ..mitwaa" from Kabhie Alvida Na Kehna.
Just like a monsoon comes in parts the show slowed down before the son of the Legend Kishoreda Amit Kumar was introduced. I really felt he needed a grander introduction for being a singer since the 70's. Rocking the floor with "bachna ye haseeno" from Hum kisi se kum nahin, he sang "Ye zameen ga rahi hai" from Teesri Kasam and "Ye jawani ye diwani" from Jawani Diwani. RDB - "the boss" rocks. When Amit Kumar introduced Ashatai, the crowd was in frenzy. Clad in a yellow saree she would pass on for a young singer in her 30's with her voice. The ravages of time and weather has not taken the charm out of her voice.
"Aaj ki raat koi anne" from RD for the movie "Anamika", got the audience to see Helen on stage even when she was not present physically. Ashatai enthralled the audience with the tale of how the song "poocho na yar kya hua" was made. The trip to Nepal and RD asking a Nepalese village girl "Kanchi tum kya gaa rahi thi" and the song went on to inspire the song "Poocho Na Yaar Kya Hua" for the movie Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai. Ashatai is still amazed at the ways the songs are distorted these days. Elucidating the same she demonstrated how these days Hotel California, performed by the team mate Arjun with his guitar moved to "chura liya". The crowd went romantic with her next number "tu tu hai wohi..." from the movie Yeh Vaada Raha.
Ashatai went on to narrate the difficulty of being a playback singer when she had to practice 8 days before she could sing a song for RDB, as he had said that if you can’t sing it, we can change it. Which Tai feels is insulting to a singer. And the song was "aaja aaja..", which the boss lost to Tai as the version she snag turned out to be more popular than the version by Mohammed Rafi Saheb. Singing with Amit Kumar was an experience to Tai as she had seen Kishoreda getting married to Ruma Guha Thakurta and when Amit Kumar was born. She sang the next number with him "jab andhera hota hai" (the full song). To the shock of all present there the smoke machine hurt Ashatai and she went inside asking a relevant question "aap dhuvan dekhne aathe hai ya gaana sunne". Breaking the silence Amit sang "jaane jaa" and the line tum kahan prompted Ashatai to come back saying "main yahan". When "We will we will rock you" moved to "O haseena zulfon wali" by Amit Kumar joined by Ashatai, the crowd was transformed to a house full of Shammi Kapoor rocking their heads in his style. Amit Kumar stole the hearts of the gathering with his father's antics and voice passed on in a legacy with his songs. Kishore da and Pancham together was remembered with Mahmood Bhai the King of Comedy with the "Dole dole dole" punch for the following song picked from how Kishoreda petted his son Amit Kumar. The result of which was the "Boss's" number for Amithab Bachan for the movie Bombay to Goa "Dekha na hai re soc ha na" & on popular demand a repeat of the same and "Saamne ye kaun aaya" made everyone enjoy the evening. The only sadness for all Amithab Bachchan Fans was that till then there were no AB songs. To thier hearts content Amitkumar rendered the song "Jahan teri ye nazar hai" from Kalia in the inimitable style of his father and the AB Fans cheered him like never before.
After singing the duet "Ek main aur ek tu" with Amitji, Ashatai went on to crack two jokes after seeking permission, just proving how naive such a living legend could be and her saying that during live singing there could be mistakes and apologizing for it, just teaches how simple and humble a person should be. The jokes were also interesting about a compounder, doctor and the patient, where the patient has a problem of seeing two for one and the same is the case with the compounder, breaking into which the doc exclaims why a crowd is there in his clinic. Tai also narrated how Ramlal was sad about the child being born small in spite of being born after 20 years.
Then was the time for demonstrations. After singing "Do lafzon ki hai dil ki kahani" for us, AB fans delight Ashatai started with how varied were RDB's songs with "mera pyaar shalimar"; african song patterns in "bhali bhali ek soorat"; Jazz in "aa dekho mujhe dekho"; rap in "mera nam hai shabnam" and went on to sing the song composed in 15 minutes which he never wanted to and got Ashatai to sing it - "Mera kuch saamaan". Opening yet another page in her life, she narrated how RDB had come to her for an autograph hearing her sing the semi classical song composed by her father Dinanath Mangeshkar "Yuvathi mana darun". She sang the song without the tabla playing the beats on congo drums. The excitement reached the pinnacle with "O mere sona re sona re" and "dum maro dum"
The naughty side of Tai prompted her to lighten the minds of the audience by mimicking "thora man darpan" as sung by Noorjehan aappa in the age old singing style of yester years, her sister Latha Mangeshkar with the trade marked "Jai Shree Krishna", Pandit Bhimsen joshi with the classical touch, an 8 yr old boy with the antics and Helenji with her sensuousness.
All good things have to come to an end and so did the show. The team members were introduced and she sang "piya tu" for the finale. She came forward with Amitkumar and bowed the audience thanking them for the support. The Orchestra ended it with a grand crescendo and audience went rushing towards the stage to get a glimpse of Tai. She sang a few lines from the song "Dil cheez kya hai aap mere...maan lee jiye" and said "Ab mera kehna maano aur ghar chale jao, raat bohoth ho chuki hai". Then we realised it was almost 2:00 in the morning. What a night. With Boss's songs and Tai's voice everyone would have felt the same - Rahul and I.
- vaazhka bhaaratham -