“We’ve just come to know that for the last half-an-hour [UPA Chairperson] Sonia Gandhiji is sitting somewhere at the back [of the Balyogi Auditorium in Parliament Library Building],” announced actress Shabana Azmi during a concert by top artists of the music industry here on Thursday. The artists have put up a grand show for MPs to thank them and the government for approving the Copyright (Amendment) Bill, 2012 that entitles them to lifelong royalty on every song played anywhere, even as a ring-tone in mobile phones.
“Thank you ma’am for your consideration to the artists,” said Ms. Azmi, prompting Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla, who was sitting in the second row from the stage, to go looking for the Congress president. She, however, remained seated in a corner seat and after a while left as unobtrusively as she entered.
Rashtriya Janata Dal president Lalu Prasad, however, was not as lucky. As he rose to leave in the middle of the show, Ms. Azmi, a former Rajya Sabha member, sounding somewhat like Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar in the House, said, Laluji bait Jayiye. Kahan jaa rahen hai aap. Baith jayiye (Laluji, sit down. Where are you going. Sit down.) Along with him, other MPs including Sitaram Yechury, N.K. Singh and Shivanand Tiwari also stayed put. They were all leaving for a dinner hosted by Vice-President Hamid Ansari.
Thanking the stars for their gesture, Ms. Meira Kumar said it was “unprecedented” that someone had expressed gratitude to the government and Parliament in such a “magical way.” In a lighter vein, she urged the government to pass such a Bill every year so that such magical evenings could be organised.
“In the passing of this Bill, the government has shown that it is sensitive to the needs of creative artists and respects them,” the Speaker said. “If poetry could be said in one word, it was Shukrana [thanksgiving],” she told writer Javed Akhtar, who was behind the show and had named it Shukrana.
Singers A.R. Rahman, Sonu Nigam, Sunidhi Chauhan, Shankar Mahadevan, Javed Ali, Mohit Chauhan, Mahalaxmi Ayer, Visual and Rocha Hardwar sang a mix of new and old songs to entertain the MPs, who enjoyed every moment of the concert. Veterans of classical music Hariprasad Chaurasia and Shiv Kumar Sharma opened the performance with a jugal bandi.
Poets Gulzar, Javed Akhtar, Prasoon Joshi and Sameer Anjan rendered heart-touching poetry on social issues written by bards like Sahir Ludhianvi, Anjan and Anand Bakshi to drive home the point that several talented artists had died with no money in their pockets.
Mr. Akhtar presented talented composer Kuldip Singh who scored music for songs like “tumko dekha to yeh khayal aya, zindigi dhoop tum ghana chaya” and a popular school prayer, but had largely remained un-recognised.
“All my complaints have vanished now that the parliamentarians have showered affection on me,” Mr. Singh said, amid thundering applause.
Among the first to arrive was Gursharan Kaur, wife of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. BJP leaders L.K. Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley too arrived early and stayed till the end. Among those who made it were Ministers Kapil Sibal, Pawan Kumar Bansal, Ashwini Kumar, Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha P.J. Kurien and Ram Vilas Paswan.
Keywords: music concert