Porcupyn's Blog

September 30, 2012

Thoughts on a concert

Filed under: Cinema,Music — Porcupyn @ 8:31 pm
Tags: ,

Though I have been in the USA for over two decades, this was the first filmi entertainer’s concert that I attended. Here are some quick thoughts before I come back and update with and a full review and sneak previews:

– why have a concert scheduled for 6 pm the next day if the concert ends only at about midnight on Friday? I understand that she is performing only for the three weekend days after a full rest during the week, but still, isn’t it a bit too much to expect her to be fresh at 6 pm after she has performed until midnight the previous night at a city that is a time zone away, then flown over for the concert?

– why don’t desis come on time (even though there was a very good excuse this time)? East or West, why don’t desi concerts start on time? Maybe the first is the result of the second. But really, if the timing is inconvenient, the organizers need to work on it; but I doubt if that is really the case. We desis have a birthright of arriving late for anything and everything … and expecting to be there before the program starts … and being vindicated!

– when folks don’t come on time, why do they try to get to their seats during a song? Why do folks leave in the middle of a song to get water, food and/or snacks? Seriously, as you will see in the videos I have shared below, folks are either coming in to their seats or leaving their seats to go get a snack. Folks, if you are that hungry, why did you come to the concert? Why not save that time and energy to watch a recording of a concert? You could even take potty breaks, drinks breaks and food breaks, and guess what? You wouldn’t even miss a thing as long as you pressed the pause button.

– why do folks get snacks but forget to clear their area when they leave? I saw apple juice tetrapacks, leftover food trays, program schedules etc strewn in the concert hall. I assume folks think that the add-on price they pay for food in the arena covers busing of their sitting area too (wait, maybe in this specific case, they actually do! Our reputation in such matters is probably sky high).

– if you want to bring a three-year old to a concert, feel free to do so, but at least keep him or her in control when the artiste is singing. Now, unlike many folks, I am one of those who has absolutely no issue with kids making noise, crying, throwing a fit/tantrum, etc., when they are in a confined space such as a train or a plane. The purpose of public transportation is for you to get to your destination. So too all the other passengers including (yes) the kids. On the other hand, the purpose of a concert is for the audience to listen to the artiste(s) and enjoy it; the entertainment gets spoiled when you have a toddler trying to scratch your hand, clap while a song is going on, and generally being rude – and the parents have no inkling of what is going on, or do not care to admit it.

– I got a palpable ‘growing old’ feeling and a realization that maybe I should have attended concerts earlier when my favourite songs would have been in the majority, though I might not have like the “classicalization” of the song which was one of the reasons I had for not attending any filmi concerts earlier. It is too bad that for whatever reason – copyright, it comes across as insulting the original artiste, it comes across as trying to show up the original artiste, … – folks don’t sing songs that were originally sung by someone else. Whatever the reason, as the old artistes become one with the ages, the new ones will not sing those old songs (or at least, the established ones won’t). So, there is a small window of opportunity where you (or I) can catch those songs sung melodiously live – on TV in shows such as Indian Idol or Star Voice of India or some such, or when a Sonu Nigam comes along and sings such songs in live shows around the world (note: I said Sonu Nigam, not Sonuuuu Nigaaam, an incarnation I don’t much care for – and I missed the opportunity of watching the former, though he might not even have come to town in that avatar).

I have always maintained that (to me at least) it is much more fun attending a live Indian classical music concert than a filmi concert. The reason is that the quintessance of classical music is the ability of the artiste to improvise (even though my understanding of it all is limited). On the other hand, the purpose of attending a filmi concert is to listen to the song delivered live by the artiste, and when the artiste tries to improvise, it comes across as a showing off (again, this is my point of view – I am sure there are many who disagree). Not that I had a chance to ever attend a live performance by the greats of yesteryear, but I have listened to LP recordings of their concerts, and have been generally unimpressed. So, I kind of agreed with what a friend said “it is good that these artistes have a music director in the movies to kind of rein them in” 🙂

– last but not the least, a note to myself: when I carry a digital camera around, I ought to make sure that I have a few spare batteries! I thought I had checked the batteries the night before, but not taking spares is a mistake I have done a few times before as well … and I need to snap out of the habit.
The concert started out very slowly with folks still trickling in nearly 45 minutes after the show start time. The stage was taken by a girl who had won some online contest to sing during the concert. I had never before heard the song she sang (or at least don’t remember having heard it), so will withhold any comments!

Next up, the compere came on stage. I had not heard of him either, but apparently – as we all learned later in the show – he won SaReGaMaPa USA sometime in the recent past. He introduced the second singer on the stage for the day, Prithvi Gandharva. The first couple of songs that Prithvi sang were also ho hum numbers with not much audience participation. But then he gave an awesome high energy rendition of ‘damadam mast kalandar’ that snapped the audience to life. Here is a snippet:

Shreya Ghoshal was, of course, just Shreya Ghoshal. Unfortunately for me, I had only heard a handful of songs that she sang, maybe about 30-40% of all. But here are snippets of the ones I knew (and had battery life left to record). For obvious reasons, I did not record any song in its entirety!

तेरी मेरी मेरी तेरी प्रेम कहानी है मुश्किल …

जादू है नशा है मदहोशियाँ …

तुझमें रब दिखता है यारा मैं क्या करूँ …

Somewhere after the above song, I realized that I had not brought a spare set of batteries for my camera, and I was bereft of the ability to zoom. To be honest, I thought that I would not be able to take any more videos when the camera shut down just as I was about to record Katya’s favourite ‘teri or teri or’ 😦

डोला रे डोला रे …

I was impressed by the fact that she did not appear to be using any cue cards to sing the songs. That was pretty impressive. I hope she was not lip syncing and even if she did, I was unable to detect it.

At the intermission, when Shreya Ghoshal and her troupe took a break, we were treated to Jeffrey Iqbal’s singing of पर्दा है पर्दा from Amar Akbar Anthony. He did a pretty good job with it, and also shared a couple of wisecracks about his childhood as a (not) ABCD!

पर्दा है पर्दा पर्दे के पीछे …

ज़ुबि ज़ुबि ज़ुबि ज़ुबि …

Here is one song that Bollywood has recycled from Bollywood … and it was previously copied from Tollywood or Mollywood or Kollywood or some such. Though both Shreya and Prithvi did a good job, I could not but help compare the song with the (Hindi) original in Mawaali sung by Asha and Kishore. And even though back then in the mid 1980s, with the Jumping Jack* Jeetendra and Baby Face Sridevi (OK, it looks like it was Jayaprada, not Sridevi) acting out raunchy lyrics, I had not liked this song, I have to confess that Asha/Kishore version was/is much better.

छूना ना छूना ना …

चिकनी चमेली …

लग जा गले के फिर ये …

* – even to someone like me who is a level 0 dance critic, it is pretty obvious that Jeetendra cannot dance. His dance moves are akin to moves that school children probably did in PT (Physical Education) back in the 1980s!


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