An evening when singers Srinivas and Shweta sang the music of legends backed by a fantastic orchestra

Sholay's theme music is the first piece at the Joy of Life concert. It is followed by three hours of the best melodies of legends — R.D. Burman, Ilaiyaraaja and A.R. Rahman. As singers Srinivas and Shweta Mohan, and an excellent team of musicians recreate their magic, the packed audience at Kikani School auditorium clap and cheer on.

Shweta Mohan sang ‘Netru illadha maatram', a beautiful A.R. Rahman melody from Puthiya Mugam. “It is very special” she says as it was the first song her mother singer Sujatha Mohan had sung for A. R. Rahman. “People ask for dappakuthu songs in most concerts, the organisers here requested only melodies and we are thankful to that,” the young singer smiles.

It's back to back music of the legends, announces singer Srinivas and renders the breezy ‘Kaiyil midhakkum kanava nee', an all-time favourite. The orchestra introduced Ilayaraaja with the unsurpassed theme from the movie Mouna Raagam. Srinivas follows that up with the bitter-sweet ‘Manram vantha thendralukku' number from the same movie. “We are blessed to have such composers from Tamil Nadu,” he says.

The duet ‘Ore naal unai naan', another Ilaiyaraaja classic fills the air.

Melodies all the way

“When it comes to mixing melody and rhythm, R.D. Burman is the monarch,” declares Srinivas when Shweta takes centre stage with the sexy ‘Bahon mein chale aao'. “One more R.D. for you,” he says and launches into ‘Yeh jo mohabat hai'…

When Shewta hums Ilayaraaja's la la la for ‘Thumbi vaa', there is loud applause. She brings out the innocence of the song in this straight-from-the-heart composition.

Srinivas sings ‘Kuch to log kahenge' from Amar Prem. Humming the line ‘Chhodo bekar kee bataon me kahi beet naa jaaye raina' Srinivas says, ‘if I could ever compose something like that I'd be prepared to die.' The song is rated by legends like Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Shiv Kumar Sharma, and Pyarelal as one of their favourite R.D. compositions, he tells the audience. ‘Minsara kanna', the number from Padaiyappa that won Srinivas his national award is power-packed. Shweta and Srinivas enjoy the performance.

Srinivas took some time off to speak about the string arrangements in the compositions of the musical geniuses. “Each of them think so differently and yet come up with such gems in the same scale. But, one man from Pannayapuram took it to incredible levels,” Srinivas says about Ilaiyaraaja. His classic ‘Paruvamey' number from Nenjathai Killadhe is one such incredible composition. “When I first heard the string section of this song, I could have just died,” he adds. “This song is for the orchestra, we are just incidental by passers” he smiles.

He sings the pacy ‘Yeh zindagi'…from Sadma also with a fantastic string arrangement. The lively duet ‘Oh saathi chal' from Seeta aur Geeta adds josh to the evening. Flautist Nikhil Ram from Calicut and Francis and his team of violinists from Kochi come up with a stellar performance along with the singers for A.R. Rahman's ‘Thoda thoda malarndhadhenna…'

‘Anjali Anjali', ‘Nee paadhi naan padhi kanna', ‘Kora kagaz', ‘Jaane jah', ‘Thoongaadha vizhigal rendu'…the melodies kept coming.

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