Vocal journey with a maestro

Surojit Guha and Sangeeta Melekar performing during a tribute to the legendary singer composer Hemant Kumar, at Museum Theatre, Chennai. Photo: R. Ravindran.  

When the latest entrant into the music business today talks about finding his own identity, it’s heartening to hear how Surojit Guha wants to remain his master’s voice. “You know, my parents used to tell me that as a one-year-old I would sit still when they played Hemant Kumar’s songs and I continue do so,” he laughs, his eyes lighting up with excitement.

Sitting backstage during break at the recent Hemant Kumar tribute show organised by Chennai Music Lovers at Museum Theatre, Surojit doesn’t let even a cup of tea interrupt when talking about his journey as a Hemant voice-alike. “You may see it as living in the shadow, but to me his songs are the light of my life. Nothing fills me with as much energy and happiness. I also sing songs of Kishore Kumar, Talat Mahmood and Manna Dey, but when it comes to Hemant’s compositions I am my own.”

Clad in a white kurta and Bengali-style dhoti and rendering his idol’s timeless songs standing in front of a life-size poster, Surojit gets as close as he could to Hemant’s personality and voice. And is able to make you visualise a forlorn Guru Dutt in ‘Pyasa’ with his emotional rendering of ‘Jaane woh kaise log the jinke pyaar ko pyaar mila…’

“I have sung it so many times but each time it tugs at my heart strings. The tune, lyrics and voice make me move my hands and head but Hemant never did so. He could sit straight with an expressionless face and render the most soul-stirring number,” says Surojit.

‘Kuch dil ne kaha,’ ‘Teri duniya mein jeene se,’ ‘Na tum hume jano,’ ‘Yeh nayan dare dare,’ ‘Bekarar karke,’ ‘Yeh dil ki suno,’ ‘Hai apna dil’… Surojit goes on with no trace of fatigue or faltering till the last note. “How can anybody tire of singing or listening to such melodies? The huge turnout at retro music shows is proof of this. My only regret though is I never got to express to the legendary composer-singer my deep love for his work or sing in front of him.”

The evening wouldn’t have been complete without Sangeeta Melekar bringing out the romance in the voice of Lata Mangeshkar, Geeta Dutt and Asha Bhosle. Solo or duet, her firm grip on the laya and taal, made her a delight to listen to.

Proceeds from the show, which was another effort by Chennai Music Lovers to preserve the link with a euphonious past, went towards Avvai Homes. After all art is about giving, sharing and loving - ‘Sun ja dil ki dastaan.’

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Printable version | Jul 22, 2021 5:46:46 AM |

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