Kailash Kher and his band Kailasa rocked the audience at a recent concert in the city not just with their music but also with some well-timed wisecracks

Not many can remain unmoved by Kailash Kher’s raw voice. Yes, we know that. But at the Mutha Venkata Subba Rao Concert Hall on Saturday he won quite a few fans with his sense of humour as well. The unannounced downpour did result in some empty seats but that didn’t dampen the singer’s spirit as he even made a couple of jokes about it. However, as the skies cleared up, more people trickled in.

Kailash Kher was in the city with his band Kailasa to perform at an event by The Hindu, presented by VBJ and powered by Eldia. The event started with each of the band members performing solo with their instruments, creating a hauntingly beautiful melody. Then the singer made his appearance singing ‘Jaana Jogi De Naal,’ a rather unusual choice considering most events featuring other singers generally start with ‘Teri Deewani,’ one of Kher’s most popular numbers.

“I know only one word in Tamil…Nalla Irukingae! But I am keen on learning more of the language because I love Tamil culture and music,” he said, amid delighted whistles from the audience. This is the third time the band has performed in the city. “Usually, we don’t get nervous. But we hope and pray that we do get just a bit nervous; otherwise we may become overconfident ,” he laughed moving to his next few songs ‘Aaoji (Chandaan Main), ‘Main Toh Tere Pyaar Mein Deewana Ho Gaya’, Tere Bin Nahi Lagda Dil Mera Dholna,’ originally sung by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and ‘Rang Deeni.’ “It’s good to see people buying tickets for a music show. Earlier, they would just get free passes or make a call and ask, “Hello, please arrange 10 passes for my family,” he said as the audience burst into laughter. Soon requests started pouring in for various songs, to which the wavy-haired singer calmly responded, “It seems like you only know these few songs. But, we are 100 times more excited to perform here, so check out what we have lined up for you.” As he sang the hugely popular ‘Tu Jaane Na’ from Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani everybody clapped and hummed along. After he was done, he remarked, “I have noticed one thing in all my shows. People like love songs and film songs, no matter how old they are. I believe love is the only religion.” He then bounced about like an enthusiastic child with a new toy and performed ‘Teri Deewani’, followed by ‘Joban Chalke’ where girls from the audience were invited to join him on stage and dance, which they did promptly. And before they could get off the stage Kher made his photographer click a picture of them with him.

The diminutive Kher surprises with his powerful voice and range that traverses genres, be it Sufi or bhangra, effortlessly. As he prepped himself for the next song, he got himself a damru and hopped on one foot as he sang ‘Babbam Bam’, all the while pushing back a strand of hair from his face. ‘Allah ke Banday’, ‘Saiyyan’, ‘Chak De Phatte…’ he managed to fit all his hits into the two-hour performance.

As many in the audience clicked pictures of the singer, he said with a smile, “We don’t take offence to people clicking our photographs. You never know when they can be useful; some of the boys can use it to impress their girlfriends.”

The performance was interspersed with his wisecracks and he was truly a delight to watch. The band managed to create a festive atmosphere which had even older members of the audience on their feet dancing to the magic of Kailasa.