Where’s the party?

TALENTED TRIO Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy proved to be show stoppers

TALENTED TRIO Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy proved to be show stoppers   | Photo Credit: Photo: K_Pichumani

When Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy took the stage, they made Chennai seize the day. SUDHISH KAMATH joined the party

It wasn’t exactly meant to be a rock show. But it did rock the house. Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy brought the roof down. What differentiates this trio from the rest of their filmy counterparts is the way they adapt to the stage. They might not be a rock band but they sure wear that attitude in concert. Shankar’s high-energy acts, the band’s electric presence and the magic with which they work the crowds has to be seen to be believed.

It started off with the audience seated like they had come for a kutcheri. Within moments, all that changed. Those who stayed till the end would have had a tough time believing it was the same show that started with people parked on the seats. Doing it at Saarang is one thing. Young people dance. Doing it for a largely family-centric crowd, now that is quite something. Scores of fans across age-groups rushed to the stage and turned the SKC-plastered Nehru Indoor Stadium into a party zone, all credit to Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.

To start the story from the beginning, Shankar Mahadevan had them ‘Breathless’ right from the moment they took stage at ‘A Commitment’ concert, organised by SKC and The Shakti Foundation on Saturday evening. It was one of those rare concerts that actually started on time. The other fascinating thing about SEL’s shows is the improvisation they do… be it breaking into jazz while ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ or sneaking ‘India One Day Haar Gaya Tho’ in between ‘Take it Easy Policy’ (Shankar’s first song for A.R. Rahman) or egging the crowd to sing along and even dance with them on stage or teasing the crowd by spoofing other musicians for an alternate start of ‘Koi Kahe’. The band made the audience ‘Jhoom’ before Shankar dedicated a song to all the ‘Pretty Women’ of Chennai as women raided the stage.

Kids pitch in

It was heartening to see the band of kids from Shakti Foundation take to the stage and jam with the professionals. The audience cheered the kids. The support singers Akruti and Raman did a brilliant job keeping the energy levels high and holding the audience captive when Shankar took his breaks. Akruti had them ‘Crazy’ and had the crowd break into the infectious ‘Sajnaji Vaari Vaari’ jig. The trio joined Aditya on a wheel chair when he decided to sing ‘Konjanaal poru thalaiva’. Taking that cue from Aditya, Shankar asked the audience: “Tamizhpaatu paduta?” before having them dance for ‘Varaga Nadhi Karai Oram.’ Akruti and Raman joined Shankar for ‘Nach Baliye’ before Shankar did a few SRK numbers including ‘Main Hoon Don’ and ‘Mitwa’ followed by a medley of slow songs with ample scope for Ehsaan and Loy to do their solos. When Loy played the ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’ theme on the keyboard, it was a familiar stadium sight – the glow of hundreds of mobiles swaying in the dark. A kid went on stage to ask for ‘Rock and Roll Soniye.’ The band obliged. And it was time to party. Raman went ‘Dil Se Re,’ before joining Shankar for ‘Khaike Paan Banaras,’ ‘Aal Thotta Bhoopati’ and ‘Where’s the party tonight’ bringing the whole audience on its feet. Having everyone jump with ‘Koi Kahe,’ Shankar said they were going to finish with a “lullaby”. Akruti got started with ‘Kajra Re.’ The finale of the show, however, was ‘Hum Hai Hindustani.’

The band promised to come back soon. “We’ll do it again in the future,” said Ehsaan. “You’ve been a fantastic audience,” said Shankar. The euphoria that lasted over three hours needed a little sobering down for a concert seriously titled ‘Commitment’. Apparently, the retail chain SKC had spent about Rs.15 lakhs on the fundraiser for The Shakti Foundation. The folks from The Shakti Foundation took the stage with children for Michael Jackson’s ‘Heal the world’ and the national anthem.

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