Song, singer and us


Vijay Prakash’s concert remembering the singing sensations Rajkumar and Kishore Kumar at The Hindu November Fest reinforced the immortal nature of these golden compositions

Ideally one would think the auditorium would be jam packed and overflowing considering playback singer Vijay Prakash’s huge popularity. It was three fourths full, but so what? The happiness and euphoria experienced by those present in the hall made it seem like all of Dr. Rajkumar and Kishore Kumar’s fans, and all film music connoisseurs had congregated at Ambedkar Bhavan on the final day of The Hindu November Fest, on Sunday. The auditorium resembled a place of worship where Rajkumar, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, G.K. Venkatesh, Ilaiyaraja, M. Ranga Rao, Vani Jayaram, R.D. Burman etc were presiding deities.

Kannada’s own Vijay Prakash who has made an impact on the national film music scene is a genial and endearing musician. His unassuming air and gentle, homegrown humour made him an instant hit with the audience. Conversant in Kannada, English and Hindi, Vijay Prakash switched languages with ease, creating a homey atmosphere for the diverse audience. He constantly, and spontaneously reacts like one among the audience, as a true blue film music buff: his musician self is a secondary one, an extension of his love for film music. Speaking of the golden era of film music, “you just cannot deconstruct this process. It is impossible to say what came first – the lyric or the tune or the singer. They are all so inseparably married to each other… it’s hard not to get emotional…,” he said with a quiet passion. Singing the verse “Lab hile to” from the song “Aap ki Ankhon Mein” from Ghar to illustrates his feelings, Vijay Prakash made the whole evening very personal and immediate. “They made great songs, singers like me owe our fame and livelihood to them.”

The concert opened with the unforgettable “Jenina Holeyo” (Chalisuva Modagalu) by Dr. Rajkumar, and in fact, it turned into a group song – which Kannadiga doesn’t know this beautiful Rajan Nagendra composition! So was the case with Kishore Kumar’s “Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas”. In fact, even before the orchestra played out the opening background score, the audience knew the song with the very first note. The orchestra led by veteran guitarist Srinivas Achar was top notch, with each of the musicians bringing years of experience into their performance. The flautist who doubled as saxophonist, Sandeep, was extraordinary from the start.

The other highlight of the concert was Maharashtrian singer Anandi Vijay Joshi who rendered a couple of duets with Vijay Prakash. The song from “Kavirathna Kalidasa” (O Priyatama), and “Nanna Neenu Gellalare” (Jeeva Hoovagide) was memorable. A competent singer, Anandi not only sang with perfect diction, but also every stress, intonation and articulation of the nuances were spot on. “Jeeva Hoovagide” is a very complex composition and how wonderfully they sang it. The orchestra for this song paid attention to minute details of Ilaiyaraja’s composition, producing its rich textures. Srinivas Achar was stunning. Anandi recreated the magic of the original in “Teredide Mane” (Hosabelaku).

A couple of songs into the evening, Vijay Prakash warmed up and ebulliently sang “Hawa Ke Saath Saath”, “Ina Meena Dika”, “Yaare Koogadali” and Kishore Kumar’s Kannada song “Aadu Aata Adu” (with Nikhil Sarathy). With an intensity marked by restraint, his rendition of “Yaava Kaviyu Bareyalara”, “Aakasha Deepavu Neenu” and “Tere Bina Zindagi” was indeed moving.

The last half an hour of the concert was a riot – the devotees of film music appeared like frenzied dervishes whirling and dancing as if they were lost to this world. The requests for new and old numbers flowed non-stop, and Vijay Prakash refused to disappoint anyone in the audience -- he after all shared their ecstatic state. He sang some lines from the mellifluous Tamil song “Innum Konjum Neram”, “Saaluttillave”, “Alladsu Alladsu”, “Naane Raajakumara” and more, all to audience request.

The most striking thing about most of these film music concerts is their respect to tradition and creative endeavor. Film music in the present is not great, but the respect they have for their past – which includes everyone from the Kumars to Madan Mohan to Upendra Kumar to Naushad to Lata Mangeshkar – is not merely worthy of emulation but touching as well. Their struggle to be faithful to the genius of creative minds was awe inspiring. Society may bestow “sacredness” to the classical genre, but the embodiment of all those high virtues was visible in what we term as “popular”.

What a concert that was!

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 10:00:23 PM |

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