It was an incredible evening of music from Rajesh Khanna films at The Hindu Friday Review November Fest

From our home to Kalaiarangam, we sang all the songs we could remember from Rajesh Khanna movies. And it was astonishing how many of them we recalled! And we knew that in the course of the evening ahead we would sing a whole lot more.

There was a buzz at the venue on the second day of The Hindu Friday Review November Fest. People had already gathered, anxious to get the good seats, and it all augured well for the concert by Srinivas and his young team made up of Mahalakshmi Iyer, Haricharan and Saptaparna Chakraborty.

And it was indeed a ‘Shaam Mastaani’, a heady evening of songs from Rajesh Khanna films. A live orchestra arrangement sat in readiness and when Srinivas stepped on stage he was greeted with warm applause. He is an old friend, having performed at an earlier edition of The Hindu festival as well. He opened with ‘Jeevan Se Bhari Teri Aankhen’ from Safar, and followed that up with the incredibly romantic ‘Mere Dil Mein Aaj Kya Hai…’ from Daag. Mahalakshmi Iyer joined him and wowed everyone with ‘Raina Beet Jaaye’, from another Rajesh-Sharmila gem, Amar Prem. She also sang ‘Kahin Door Jab Din Dhal Jaaye’ originally sung by Mukesh in Anand.

Rajesh and Sharmila shared fantastic chemistry. Aradhana, Amar Prem, Daag, Safar…and songs picturised on them could have even the most hardened cynic reduced to a puddle of mush.

The tempo picked up when Haricharan came on stage and sang ‘Gulabi Aankhen Jo Teri Dekhi…’ from The Train and ‘Yuunhi Tum Mujh Se Baat Karti Ho’ from Sachaa Jhootha (starring Mumtaz, another heroine Rajesh worked with in many hits, particularly Aap ki Kasam).

Amar Prem’s ‘Chingari’, ‘Kuch To Log Kahenge’, and a couple of lines of ‘Yeh Kya Hua…’ had all those over 40 sighing in nostalgia. Not just them, ‘Roop Tera Mastana’ had a nine-year-old kid in the audience singing along with gusto! Just proves some songs can never go out of fashion.

Srinivas, Haricharan, Mahalakshmi and Saptaparna sang the solos and duets effortlessly and with feeling. Songs from Kudrat and Mahbooba (both with Hema Malini), Roti, Ajnabee, Khamoshi, Kati Patang, Dushman …had every one singing along. When the singers broke into ‘Duniya Mein’, from Apna Desh, there were whoops of delight and people jumped out of their seats to dance. They continued with Jai Jai Shiv Shankar

The evening was a resounding success and Rajesh Khanna must have smiled down at Coimbatore as nothing could be more fitting as a tribute to him.