Abhi Mujh Mein Kahin – when Sonu Nigam crooned this song at a concert in Minnesota, the crowd went still. The singer’s voice had an amazing melody and depth that soothed the over enthusiastic, frenzied crowd and made them listen, intently. Before the singer’s entry, the concert was average, where upcoming singers mostly performed on the latest, peppy Bollywood remixes, but he transformed it into something special. When he sang, it was clear, he did not need additional accompaniments, suggestive dance moves and props to spice up his performance, his voice had it all!
Even when not singing, his voice, carried the same melody. And he did miracles with his song – lifting, lowering, extending, shortening, pausing – unpredictable twists that made the audience respond with thunderous applause. At one point of time, during the concert, the audience went so overboard that they blocked the fire exit, the singer had to make a request to restore order. The security had a tough time containing the crowd who had come to listen to one of the most well loved singers in Bollywood.
Sonu Nigam and Neha Kakkar, the two biggies of Indian Music Industry, are currently performing in a number of cities in the US and Canada. And we had the good fortune of attending one of those concerts in Minneapolis on Saturday, with our lovely family friends. It was a night to remember in amazing company!
Now talking about remix queen Neha Kakkar – she definitely had the crowd eating out of her hand, as she wriggled and danced akin to Shakira, but was not melodious. She had a shrill and powerful voice, that entertained, but did not really touch the heart. It was her latkas and jhatkas that entertained more!
Coming back to Sonu Nigam, his dedication to music seemed real, palpable and fame seems to be just one part of it. Small wonder then that he has held his own for decades despite a crowd of eager, fresh singers striving in Bollywood and changes in music style. Plus the guy doesn’t seem to age at all! To my great joy, someone in the audience requested to sing ‘Bijuriya’, and he sang with an amazing alacrity, giving it a perfect end with the famous ‘Moonwalk’ step!
If you ask for my personal favourite from his bunch of songs that included – Suraj Hua Madham and Hans Mat Pagli, I would say the song mentioned in the opening line of this post – Abhi Mujh Mein Kahin. That song was sublime!
As I watched the singer’s performance, one thing seemed sure. He did not belong to that rising group of people, who do passable work for instant fame. Unfortunately, the ‘chalu’ type of work has invaded all arts across the world. Integrity, dedication and hard work increasingly replaced by quick something for social media fame. Thankfully, the singer seems to belong to a select, small group of people, who practice art for sake of art!
I have been listening to Sonu Nigam’s songs right from my teenage years and have always liked him. But it was a different experience to hear him live. In between the songs, the singer paused and remarked – ‘when I’ll die, this song will be played for sure.’ And he sang – Har Ghadi Badal Rahi Hai Roop Zindagi from ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’. Well, none of us would like that to happen, ever. May he continue to enthrall us all with his soulful singing!
(First Two Images courtesy Google)