'Amchi Dilli' swings with Bali...

Crowd-puller... singer Bali Bhahmabhatt. Photo: Sandeep Saxena.  

TO ENTERTAIN the crowd you need not only a golden voice but also be a great impresario. Bali Brahmabhatt may not have been blessed with velvety voice but his extrovert nature - mingling with boisterous crowd even at a personal risk - jells with the audience.

At New Delhi's Hamsdhwani theatre in Pragati Maidan -- where the India International Trade Fair is on -- the denizens of the Capital got a spectacular treat this past week. The bursting at the seams crowd breathed a sigh of relief when the five feet nine inches tall singer came on the rostrum. The girls started stomping their feet on the ground and the boys began whistling. After singing a song, Bali Brahmbhatt said, "First I thought I would perform bhangra before you. But after watching that you showed utmost restraint and patience while waiting for me I thought you deserve a treat."

There were no synchronised special affects but the anticipated crowd knew that Bali -- synonymous with versatility as exemplified in the hit song, "Amche Mumbai" and the title song of "Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam" - will come out with some of his popular numbers.

After singing, "Usne Bola Prem Che" Bali came down from the podium and started mixing with the crowd. This easy going attitude went well with the audience.

The crowd was on its feet when "Jage Sari Raat Sonu Re" was sung by a local singer. The performing artists though did more of aerobics than bhangra. The audience didn't mind as the music was foot-tapping. However, for those seated next to the gigantic stereos, the deafening noise emanating from them was too powerful but they were still enthusiastic at being at the happening place.

One Piyush while singing, "Avargi Mujhe Achi Lage" from the film "Badshah" made the crowd so enthralled that they started doing jigs. Must to the consternation of the Delhi Police who had to restore order by brandishing their huge truncheons. The organisers had to request them to stick to their seats. Since Pepsi was the sponsor, the compere, Nitin Arora, kept saying, "Yeh Dil Maange More."

The "Ghumro Ghumro" from Vidhu Vinod Chopra's film, "Mission Kashmir" didn't get a positive response as the crowd started getting restless.

Ear splattering yet enjoyable but the perpetual late arrivals of the main artist and programme never starting on time had many complaining... and cribbing.