The programmes under review are in a way odd ball in the list of classical music concerts organized by Abbas.
‘Evergreen Rafi’ featuring Anil Bajpai belonged to film music of the Golden Era. Mohammed Rafi is remembered more frequently these days than before. Does it mean the Hindi film song addicts want to trek the nostalgic route as often as possible? Or are the present day film songs leading to music lovers going back to the melodies of yesteryear? Or is the older generation eager to listen to youngsters reproduce the immortal voices and hits?
Whatever the reason, Anil Bajpai had established a fan circle for himself in Chennai. The petite young man regaled the audience one more time with his perfect replicas of the legendary singer. It would be an understatement if one stated that Madan Mohan’s soft music and Raja Mehdi Ali Khan’s romantic lyrics for ‘Ek Haseen Sham Ko’ from ‘Dulhan Ek Raat Ki’, provided the expected impetus to the show.
‘Aane Se Uske Aaye Bahar’ from ‘Jeene Ki Raah’ in Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s foot tapping music was the second item to give way to a female solo ‘Ehsan Tera’ (‘Junglee’) in the voice of Anusha Karthik.
The programme was a mix of duets and solos. Some songs which drew huge appreciation from the listeners were ‘Main Kahin Kavi Na Ban Jaun’ from ‘Pyar Hi Pyar’, ‘Chup Gaye Sare Nazare’ from ‘Do Raaste’ (with Usha Raj), ‘Deewana Hua Badal’ from ‘Kashmir Ki Kali’, ‘Gun Guna Rahe Hain Bhawaraen’ duet (with Aunsha Karthik) from ‘Aradhana’, ‘Aaja Re Aa Zara’ from ‘Love in Tokyo’ and ‘Raat Ki Hamsafar’ from ‘Evening in Paris,’ to name a few. Listeners’ requests included films such as ‘Taj Mahal’, ‘Chaundvin Ka Chaand’, ‘Mere Mehboob.’
The show was conceptualised and introduced by Y.Gee. Mahendra, who much to the delight of the audience, played the tabla for ‘Chup Gaye Sare.’
The veena whiz Rajhesh Vaidhya is a maverick veena player. He is flamboyant and he always prefers to play something for everyone to feel or frown. Naturally, his music is a mixed bag.
His ‘Fusion Music’ for Abbas Kalaivizha 2013 was luckily not ‘confusion’ but an ‘explosion’… at the end of every item, there was the frenzied participation of all the artists on stage. In fact, Rajhesh’s was not that extravagant here. There was Varija Sri from Bangalore on vocals and the flute, Mohan Raman on the mridangam, Paramasivan on the ganjira, Chandrajit on the tabla, and Navneeth Sundar on the keyboard and special effects.
Rajhesh had coined some exotic names for his exuberant exercises; the opening piece in Yaman Kalyani was christened as ‘Swing.’ It started with the sounds of breeze, chirping of birds, chimes of bells and the flow of water interspersed during the music by Rajhesh and Varija Sri. This time, his focus was more on music; each raga chosen was explored in different ways; from forceful to regular to subtle. But the mix was uniformly heady and unpredictable, hovering around Hindustani, Carnatic and light genres.
The next one was ‘Dhwani’ in Pantuvarali. A Rajasthani folk song from Varija Sri was prefaced by raag Maund in ‘I-Pod’ presented by Navneeth much to the awe of the audience and other players and also shared by Rajhesh. It was followed by raag Gowri Manohari titled ‘Ecstasy’.
Well, Rajhesh could bring out the gentle strains of violin, the thud of drums, the cooing of a cuckoo and the crackling sparks of fireworks, even as he played some serene and soft.
Such musical offerings from the creative minds are beyond subjective criticism. But it cannot be denied that it has become a delusion for every artist to attract crowds or controversy by opting for some vague, novel or obscure medley. It was one such endeavour.