Singer Srinivas on his love for Hindi Retro and what the songs mean to him

Music has become my profession today, but even the new numbers I render don’t give me as much happiness as crooning retro songs. These are songs I listened to and grew fond of during school and college... they’ll never leave me.

Some numbers, such as the haunting Mere Naina Sawan Bhadon (‘Mehbooba’) are milestones in my life. I also particularly remember the theme music from ‘Sholay’. In fact, I got to listen to these numbers not in the comfort of home, but on my way to college — the lottery seller would play the songs, and I would wait to listen to them before rushing into college. You see, those days, there was no concept of a personal stereo system. It was the zamana of LPs and EPs. And, those were the days of singing Mehbooba Mehbooba to eager friends who asked for an encore.

When I sing retro, all these memories come flooding back.

I still remember our show for the November Fest in Chennai in 2008. It was such a tough task having to choose from songs you were so possessive about. Can you believe that the long-list had over a hundred? I forced myself to look at it from people’s point of view and come up with a fair representation of composers and singers.

This time, I have with me mostly young singers — Chinmayi, Haricharan, Shweta Mohan and Mahalakshmi. They are all amazing singers, and I’m sure the show will rock!

Orchestral support is so important in such concerts. This time, we have a team from Kerala and Chennai. The artistes from Kerala are great with the violin and flute. And, rehearsals are such fun. Everything comes back. The songs of ‘Aandhi’… the memories of watching the film, every single scene is fresh in the mind.

And, that’s what we’ll try to recreate for the audience in Hyderabad, Bangalore and Coimbatore. Who’s singing is not important. What matters is that you do your best to take people back in time to another time, another place, where melody ruled and lyrics reigned supreme.

(As told to Subha J. Rao)

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