Filmi chakkar

MAN WITH THE GOLDEN VOICE: K. Ganesh. Photo:M. Periasamy.   | Photo Credit: M_Periasamy

Forgive me, for I am about to throw journalistic restraint to the winds and do some serious raving. It is about a Musical Nite, the Coimbatore Gujarati Samaj organised in order to raise funds for a free dispensary for the underprivileged.

So, here I go.

We may not have put a man on the moon, but, boy oh boy, do we have out-of-the-world music. Kishore Kumar, Mohammad Rafi, Hemant da, Manna Dey, Mukesh, Naushad, O.P Nayyar, Burman, Lakshmikant Pyarelal, Kalyanji Anandji … And then, there is Ganesh. For those who don't know him, Ganesh sings old Hindi movie songs. And, when he does, it is sensational.

Old wine

The elderly gentleman in the audience will vouch for this. He requested Ganesh to sing Duniya Ke Rakhwale from Baiju Bawra. And, grandpa sang right along, no doubt feeling as young as Baiju! Requests poured in. And, Ganesh obliged. Before each song, he would share a little something about the movie it was from - the lyricist, the music director, who acted in it, and so on.

It's a miracle how this man can carry so many songs in his head, let alone sing them perfectly. And, even more amazing is the number of songs we in the audience knew. Some of us were not even born when those numbers were scripted, recorded and filmed. But, as Ganesh sang one song after another, everyone joined in.

Kishore Kumar's Thandi havaa yeh chandni suhaani (Jhumroo) kick-started the evening, followed by Suhaani raat dhal chuki…(the matchless Naushad-Rafi combine). A string of songs followed - Mere mehboob qayamat hogi, Yeh mera deewanapan hai, Ganga aaye kahan se (Kabuliwallah), Khoya khoya chaand

We hummed, tapped our feet, waved our arms, whistled, clapped, went wah wah, begged Ganesh for some more, and, in between, sang lustily along - often hopelessly off key. We banked on his reputation as a good natured bloke. He seemed to enjoy it all as he gamely responded to our unending demand for yet another song. Why, with some of the peppier numbers, he even rashly invited us to step up and dance with him. He did that with the unforgettable song from Waqt filmed on the oh-so-handsome Balraj Sahni.

Hum Dono's melancholy Kabhi khud pe, kabhi haalaat pe rona aaya and the moving Dost dost naa rahaa ( Sangam) had us swallowing and blinking back tears. But, the smiles came back with Nakhre waali, Sir jo tera chakrayey and Ik ladki bheegi bheegi si.

However, it was when he sang Tum jo mil gaye ho … from Hanste Zakhm, that the years fell away and grey hair and arthritis notwithstanding, there was plenty of hand holding and loving looks exchanged.

Love in the air

The wooing continued with the intoxicating Yeh nayan dare dare, Chaudhvin ka chaand, Yeh jo mohabbat hai, Mere naina saawan bhadon, Aaj mausam badaa beimaan hai

Somewhere half way down the evening, I gave up all pretext of taking down notes, and surrendered to the songs. It was four hours of sheer romance. After Ganesh sang his last song at 1.30 a.m, not just me, everyone in the audience filed out with a spring in their step, humming all the way to their parked cars. The next time Ganesh is in town, get yourself invited to his performance It is uplifting.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go sing.

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Printable version | Aug 6, 2021 8:45:31 AM |

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