Mika Singh proved he is the king of entertainment at his recent show in the city

At Mika Singh’s concert at the Nehru Indoor stadium, the seats are all empty...that’s because the audience is on its feet. Barely five minutes into the show and the singer has successfully gotten everybody in the mood to dance. Mika starts off with ‘Yeh shaam mastani’ as a tribute to Rajesh Khanna. Over the next few minutes, he performs a medley of songs dedicated to Shammi Kapoor, Dev Anand and Jagjit Singh. As he departs from the hits of the 1960s and 1970s and moves to his own hits such as ‘Pungi’, ‘Dhinka Chika’, ‘Jugni’, he gets rid of his coat and wears on his trademark scarf and dark glasses.

From his days of overly gelled locks and loose fitting clothes to a trendy close shaved hairdo and well-fitted suits, this singer sure has come a long way. “I spent seven years from 1991 to 1998 playing the guitar for my elder brother Daler Mehndi. I used to travel with him and play at his live shows. That’s when I learnt the nuances of stage performance. Often there are singers who are very talented but don’t know how to perform and carry themselves in front of a crowd. I give my audience a complete entertainment,” he says in his usual nonchalant style.

Originally named Amrik Singh, Mika made his debut in 1998 with an album titled Saawan Main Lag Gayi Aag. “The song had a different feel to it and even though it was well-received, critics said ‘Mika naak se gaata hai’, par ab toh saara Bollywood hi naak se gaata hai’,” he proclaims with a laugh.

Mika has four albums to his credit. Any plans for more? “Film music needs me. And anyway as long as I am singing it doesn’t matter if it’s for an album or a film.”

Next he sings ‘Appadi podu’ and the excited audience does an interesting mix of thappan koothu and bhangra. When it’s time for the hugely popular ‘Tu mera hero’, more people rush to the dance floor.

Mika then calls all the children to the front of the stage and asks them to sing along and dance. The pint-sized brigade is ecstatic as they match steps with “Mika Uncle” and hang on to his every word. A few over-enthusiastic parents too make their way to the front of the stage but are promptly sent back by the singer. “Bade peeche rahe, I want only kids here,” he says sternly and adds, “I should have been a class teacher because I can handle children very well but unfortunately I have studied only till class five.”

The next segment is dedicated to Daler Mehndi, who Mika refers to as “one of the world’s best singers”. Mehndi’s special ‘Bolo tara ra ra’ and ‘Main dard di rab rab’ see people going berserk. There are only bobbing heads and waving hands. But it honestly is hard to sit still in your seat when Mika is performing.

‘Chinta ta’, ‘Ganpat’, ‘Mauja hi mauja’, ‘Singh is King’, ‘Mustafa Mustafa’, ‘Dil se’, ‘Aap ka kya hoga janabeali...’ the medleys and chartbusters kept pouring in and so did his wisecracks and self-complimentary comments. Sample this, when asked how does he deal with controversies, he replies, “Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, Mika Singh...we are all celebrities and when a person makes it big controversies follow. Jab naam hota hai tab badnaam bhi hona padta hai.”

The three-and-a-half-hour show organised by Punjab Association and Landmark Construction proved this Singh is entertainment ka king.

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Priyadarshini PaitandyJune 28, 2012