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Updated: May 22, 2014 17:04 IST

Bringing the house down

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Sunidhi Chauhan. Photo: V. Ganesan
The Hindu
Sunidhi Chauhan. Photo: V. Ganesan

Sunidhi Chauhan aptly began her show with the super hit ‘Krazy kiya re’ as the audience went wild dancing and singing along

Add a bit of Beyonce, a hint of Shakira and flavour it with the adorable quirks of Lady Gaga and what you get is a Sunidhi Chauhan performance. There was appropriate drama. The show by The Hindu held recently at Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Concert Hall began with a giant screen portraying the singer in a hooded gothic garb sashaying and striking a pose. As the screen slid back we expected Sunidhi to enter but in walked Vipul Mehta (winner of Indian Idol 6) and entertained us with ‘Tum Hi Ho’, ‘Dil Se’ and ‘Teri Deewani’ — now a staple at most live concerts. The giant screen slid down again with the same footage and this time Sunidhi took to the stage and fittingly started off with ‘Krazy Kiya Re’ perhaps an intimation of what the crowd would be feeling by the end of the show. Next came ‘Aapka kya hoga’, ‘Halkat Jawani’ followed by the soothing ‘Ishq Sufiana’ and ‘Bin Tere’... giving the audience a demo of the soulful husky texture of her voice that’s most often masked by loud, foot tapping music.

Strangely on stage Sunidhi looked much petite than her on screen persona. What’s amazing though is the kind of powerful voice and energy she abounds with. Wondering if that voice actually required a mic at all. “The next song is written by Gulzar saab. Zara lyrics pe gaur farmaiyega (please pay attention to the lyrics),” she said as she crooned ‘Hum cheez hai bade kaam ki yaaram’ (from Ek thi dayaan) and we joined in rhythmically snapping fingers. Her voice once again transformed from demure to powerful as she sang ‘Babli Badmaash’ and ‘Mind Blowing Mahiya’ (the only unforgettable song from the forgettable movie Cash). Given the high voltage nature of the show, just when we were beginning to wonder why the crowd still wasn’t on its feet, groups of young girls jumped out of their seats as Sunidhi sang ‘Ainvayi Ainvayi’. The youngsters of course knew all the songs and sang verbatim, some of the older audience clapped along and as a few put it “We didn’t know few of the songs but we applauded her energy that was simply infectious.”

Requests for ‘Sheila Ki Jawaani’ kept coming all evening and as the show neared its end, nervous voices around began speculating if she would sing the songs on their wish list. “Yaar abhi tak ‘Bidi Jalaile’ nahi gayi!” rued a couple. As if on cue, the diva boomed into the mic, ‘Ain’t nobody got body like Sheila, Everybody want body like Sheila…’ the crowd went into raptures and a number of enthusiastic listeners ran towards the stage like ants towards candy. They sang and danced as Sunidhi gave the song a makeover altering its tempo. And finally the show ended with ‘Bidi Jalaile’.

Right from the beginning, the singer accompanied every song with vigorous dancing, including the trademark steps from the number. In case protein shakes and energy bar manufacturers are looking for a brand ambassador here’s someone who could fit the bill. Sunidhi’s hair band and long skirts from her initial days of singing have long gone and her shin high socks may well have been replaced by glitzy high-heeled boots but thankfully what remains is a versatile voice that continues to give goose bumps.

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