It was a great weekend---4th---6th November, Kalaa Utsavam 20011.
It began with Shaan taking us down memory lane with Kishoreda's hits from the 1950s to the 70s..Some of the memorable songs he sang were : Phoolon ke raang se, Tum bin jaoon kahan, Om Shanthi Om, Jaan ne Jaan.
I was a little disappointed that he didn't sing much of the songs picturised on Rajesh Khanna...which brought romance as well as pathos as in "Chingari Koi badke..." and other Amar Prem songs and Safar. But it looked like Shaan chose only fast paced songs of Kishoreda.
After about one and half hours of taking us into a world of Kishoreda, Shaan regaled us with his own popular Bollywood hits. I loved his "Jabse tere naina.." from Sawariya, "Chaand Sifarish."from Fanaa, Tanha Dil from his own album. Lovely evening!
The next day was a Dhrupad performance by Ustad Hussain Sayeedudin and his sons Nafeesudin and Aneesudin. It was really awesome! It was the first time Raja and I attended a concert in Dhrupad and we were truly awe-struck at the way Ustadji sang inspite of having a bad throat. He explained the Raaga he was going to sing before each piece which is really required for music illiterates like us!
Elaborating in this style of music at the end of the concert, Ustadji said that it was a music of devotion, in praise of dieties in temples, where the singers would sit in front of the dieties and sing while people sat behind the singers. He then commented that now he sings with people in front, so we are his gods! Maybe that was a hint on how commercial concerts have become with entertainment its primary focus.
On the 6th November evening it was time for the well-known Bollywood singer Kavita Krishnamurthy and her husband Dr. L Subramaniam, the Violin maestro. Actually I wasn't sure what to expect because I have never heard them do a concert together.
Kavita sang the first half and began with the beautiful bhajan, Shri Rama Chandra krupanu dharaman... of Sage Tulsidas, she followed it by that wonderful, melodious song.. Pyar hua Chupke se.. from 1942 A Love Story. Her other lovely song was from Saaz--"Baadal ghumad bad aaye ". Allah tero naam and a lovely soothing ghazal were the other memorable numbers she sang. She concluded the first half of the concert with a tillana accompanied by her stepson Ambi Subramiam.
The second half of the concert began with a splendid performance by Dr. Subramaniam and son Ambi on the violin. They played the Kalyani varnam in Adi Taal "Vanajakshi.." a piece I had learned on the veena. My happiness knew no bounds as it was a piece I loved and knew so well. They played the varnam at varying speeds keeping us mesmerised with the music.
With a tillana again, this time with Kavita singing it as well, the wonderful program came to an end.
It was a great experience attending these concerts: It helped me appreciate the richness of classical Indian music as well as enjoy the light heartedness of Bollywood music (Shaan). I am now eagerly looking forward to the next weekend of Balasai Flute and an evening with the poet Gulzar.
Thank you Kaala Utsavam 2011!