Trumpets, trombones, saxophones, drums, keyboards and guitars brought Kishore Kumar right back into our lives, at the Monsorate Brothers concert, writes Pankaja Srinivasan

To think we will never get to watch Kishore Kumar, R.D. Burman or so many other of those who made heart-leaping, gut-wrenching, foot-tapping music, is sad. But the next best thing is to be with people who have worked with those legends.

And an evening spent in the company of the Monsorate Brothers and their troupe was just that. At the Geet Gaata Hoon Mein concert , the five brothers and their band performed 24 of the most iconic songs of Kishore.

The Monsorate brothers (seven of them) come from a musical family. Their Dad was a legend, often referred to as the Harry James of India. Ronnie Monsorate who conducted the music and introduced the musicians shared experiences of his childhood and of the rest of the brothers about how his Dad was a disciplinarian, but how it was that that had brought them where they were today. He said they were perhaps the only seven siblings in the world who were all into music.

At a time when music arrangements are usually the electronic kind, it was fabulous to watch gleaming trumpets, trombones, guitars and drums on stage. And the fact that the brothers playing for us here have actually stood on the same stage, within touching distance of our music supermen and women and exchanged notes with them, was definitely goosebump-worthy.

The evening began on a romantic note with ‘Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas’ from Blackmail. And that was quickly followed by a song from Julie. In fact there were two songs from that film, ‘Dil Kya Kare Jab Kisi Se…’ and ‘Bhool Gaya Sab Kuch…’ The grand seduction songs and some incredibly romantic numbers like ‘Gaata Rahe Mera Dil’ from Guide and ‘Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai’ from Kati Patang were interspersed with quintessential Kishoreda larks such as ‘Eena Meena Deeka’, ‘Lekar Hum Deewana Dil’ and the dazzling ‘Ik Chatur Naar …’ from Padosan. They kept the heartbeats pumping with ‘Haal Kaisa Hai Janaab Ka’ from Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (their dad Peter Monsorate had played the trumpet for the original recording!).

‘Eena Meena Deeka’ forced one young man out of his seat on to the aisle to dance and many in their chairs looked longingly at him, wanting to join in, and a lady actually did. It was fantastic and a complete tribute to the irresistible music being made by the Monsorate Brothers and their troupe.

Twenty-four songs of Kishore Kumar. We would have dearly liked to have known how the band went about its selection. It must have been hard. But one can’t go wrong with any Kishore da songs and it was genuinely sad when they sang ‘Chalte Chalte Mere Yeh Geet Yaad Rakhna…’ But the audience wanted more and they refused to allow the musicians off the stage till they sang just one more song. A smiling band obliged, and the result was a sparkling ‘Mere Sapnon Ke Rani…’ from Aradhana.

The singers who added the extra sprinkling of magic to the evening were Sandeep Shah (whose yodelling for ‘Chala Jaata Hoon…’ would have won instant approval from Kishore), Kiran Shembekar (who did a mean impression of Dev Anand and Rajesh Khanna as he sang) and Ajit Deval (a doctor who sings). The female singer was the melodious Ananya Bhowmick.