Singers Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik, Regale Washington Audience
By Geeta Goindi
Washington, DC, April 17, 2016 – It was a night and a concert to remember as supremely talented Indian playback singers Kumar Sanu and Alka Yagnik took a packed crowd down memory lane with their timeless megahit film songs from the 1990s.
The event, organized by Manish and Deepa Sood of Intense Entertainment, was held at the magnificent Warner Theatre on the Avenue of the Presidents, a venue befitting the caliber of the ace singers.
The artistes were in full form belting out “Everlasting Melodies” in a concert by that name, accompanied by a symphony orchestra. “Today’s show is unique”, said Kumar Sanu. “Twenty five years ago, when these songs were recorded, they were the original musicians”, he told a cheering audience about the 18-member orchestra. “It is a huge loss if even one person misses this show”, he declared.
What is it about the music and songs of the nineties that make them so special? At a press conference kicking off the US tour of ‘Everlasting Melodies’ which took the artistes to six cities – San Jose, Houston, Chicago, Detroit, New Jersey, and DC – Sanu affirmed, “People will listen to the songs of the nineties even 500 years from now”!
At the Warner Theatre, Sunday, the singer took the audience on a musical journey — a mesmerizing experience which lasted over three hours on stage, but lingered in minds much longer!
Sanu was welcomed on stage with a deafening applause, and proceeded to render one romantic song after another: ‘Do dil mil rahe hai magar chupke chupke’ (Pardes); ‘Ek sanam chahiye Aashiqui ke liye’, ‘Dheere dheere se meri zindagi mein aana’, ‘Main duniya bhula dunga teri chahat mein’ (Aashiqui); ‘Chand sitare’ (Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai); ‘Jab koi baat bigad jaye’ (Jurm); ‘Yeh kaali kaali aankhen’ (Baazigar); and ‘Ek ladki ko dekha toh aisa laga’ (1942: A Love Story), among others.
There was an element of surprise and discovery when a 14-year-old girl, Shannon K, was called on stage to sing for Sanu in the packed theatre. The audience was enthralled with her god-gifted vocal prowess only to be told that she is Sanu’s elder daughter.
Sanu recalled that he was introduced on stage in the same manner by legendary ghazal maestro, the late Jagjit Singh, to much applause from an admiring audience.
Shannon began with Adele’s ‘Hello’ and then joined her father in a duet with him singing ‘Dil mera churaya kyun’ (Akele Hum Akele Tum) and she rendering the English lyrics of the song inspired by Wham’s 1984 hit ‘Last Christmas’. Taking to social networks later, she gushed, “With Dad, it’s the most precious time for me”.
The teen has moved from London to New York to pursue a career in what she does best: singing. What a powerhouse of talent!
Sanu, besides being such a prolific singer who holds the Guinness World Record for recording the maximum number of songs in a day: 28, is a consummate stage performer who clearly enjoys interacting with the audience. On stage at the Warner, he shared interesting anecdotes like the time he was summoned to record a song by legendary music director R.D. Burman, Pancham da as he is fondly called, only to be sent home for his disheveled looks. The next time around, he was mindful of his appearance, but suffered from a sore throat. Still, he managed to record the number, ‘Ek ladki ko dekha toh aisa laga’, which brought him accolades and awards galore!
On a humorous note, he recalled feeling elated when Rajshi Productions summoned him to record for ‘Hum Aapke Hain Koun’ (1994), a musical with 16 songs, only to discover that 15 had already been recorded. It is another matter that the one he sang, ‘Aaj hamaare dil mein ajab yeh uljhan hai’, is exceedingly popular even to this day! At the Warner, members of the audience broke out in cheers, several dancing in the aisles, when Sanu rendered it on stage.
Songstress Alka Yagnik was introduced by the master of ceremonies Raviraj Kande as an artiste with “grace, elegance and unlimited talent. She is a household name wherever Indian music is cherished”, he said, emphasizing that she has won the most awards for best female playback singer in the music industry.
Yagnik began with the hugely popular title song from the film, ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’, and followed it with ‘Lal dupatta’ (Mujhse Shaadi Karogi), ‘Gali mein aaj chand nikla’ (Zakhm), A,R. Rahman’s composition ‘Agar tum saath ho’ (Tamasha), ‘Ek do teen’ (Tezaab), ‘Bole chudiyan’ (Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham), and her favorite, ‘’Tu muskura’ (Yuvvraaj).
She believes “music is therapeutic, a cure for many problems”. Sanu asserts, “Music has no religion”.
The artistes were clearly elated by the response in DC from a “very enthusiastic crowd”, as Alka Yagnik described it. “I always like a spirited and an animated audience”, she told the engaged listeners. “Your energy rubs off on us”, she said, in Hindi, adding, “We become energized”.
Sanu gushed about “the great response in America this time. I’m loving it”, he said. “Also, the fact that you are all singing with me”, he told the crowd.
The event also showcased the talent of aspiring singers Chetan Rana, ‘K For Kishore’ show finalist, and Anuradha Ghosh of ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Zee Bangla’.
To their immense credit, Washington area promoters, Manish and Deepa Sood, always endeavor to highlight local talent in their events, providing a great platform to artistes in our community. On stage, Sunday, were students of the Arya Dance Academy who regaled the audience with their vibrant and colorful performances in three opening acts. Later, some twelve artistes of Smisha’s Fusion Dance Academy presented Bollywood style, fast-paced dances, adding to the mood and momentum of the show!
The finale featured duets by Sanu and Yagnik which had the crowd in raptures: ‘Tujhe dekha toh yeh jaana sanam’ (Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge), ‘Mera dil bhi kitna pagal hai’ (Saajan), ‘Ghunghat ki aad se dilbar ka’ (Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke), ‘Kisi roz tumse mulakaat hogi’ (Pardes), ‘Ladki badi anjaani hai’ (Kuch Kuch Hota Hai), the title song from the film, ‘Baazigar’, and more.
The event lived up to its title of ‘Everlasting Melodies’, creating an everlasting impression on the audience!