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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Abhijeet @ "Alive India" live in concert, Phoenix market city, Bangalore, 10th November 2012, 8 pm: Review

WARNING: MY BLOG POSTS ABOUT CONCERTS ARE BOOKS IN THEMSELVES, AND THIS ONE IS NO EXCEPTION. 

THIS IS AN ENORMOUSLY HUGE POST, PLEASE READ ONLY IF YOU HAVE TIME !

For the ACTUAL concert review, please scroll down to the "CONCERT BEGINS" section. Until then, if you wanna read my ramblings about music in general, read on ...

I'm back with a concert blog post after ages :) The last one I wrote about was probably the Shreya Ghoshal one at Palace grounds ...There was a Shaan concert too, which I attended a couple of weeks ago, but didn't blog about, because it was the 4th time for me :) ...not that there I enjoyed it any less though :) ...like with a few other exceptional singers, in Shaan's case too, I enjoyed each time as much as the first ...

So yeah, coming to this concert, I was fascinated when I read about Alive India Concert a few months back and I got to know that legends like Kumar Sanu, Abhijeet etc would be performing. I had just attended Sanu's concert a few months ago and had thoroughly enjoyed it. I was badly looking forward to Abhijeet performing :) ...A couple of months passed and finally, earlier this week, there was news of his performance...



Now, I stay in a part of Bangalore that is diametrically opposite to Phoenix Marketcity, the venue of the concert. There was no way I could risk riding all the way and back ( It's extremely tiresome, plus pretty unsafe at night ). So my uncle and I decided to take a taxi. The concert itself was priced at 200 bucks, but our taxi charges were a lot more :) hehe ...

But, we knew that it would definitely be worth it. It's a once in a lifetime thing :) ... The 90s had a famed quartet of playback singers - Except AR Rahman, may be, EVERY OTHER music director selected their singers from this pool - Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik, Kumar Sanu & Abhijeet. Only in rare cases would a music director select Kavita Krishnamurthy over Alka Yagnik. Such was the rule of Bollywood. It took AR Rahman many years, until he finally worked with Alka, in Taal. 

I've had the privilege of witnessing all these legends live - Sanu, Sonu, Alka..as well as the next generation - Shaan, KK, Shreya Ghoshal.....everyone, except Udit Narayan. Seeing him perform live has always been an unfulfilled dream :) Hope I get to see him live, someday! :) ...

Anyway, coming to Abhijeet - Well, anyone in the 90s will agree to this unwritten fact - that he was THE VOICE of Shah Rukh Khan. Many people would say that Udit Narayan equally was - Yes, but the point is, that way, Udit was the voice of a thousand other actors as well - his voice gelled with absolutely any actor of the 90s - Shah Rukh, Aamir, Salman, Sunny Deol ...until Aftab Shivdasani ( do any of you remember him? :P I, somehow, do! For those who don't, let's just say he was the Tusshar Kapoor of the late 90s to early 2000s :P )

But, the one thing about Abhijeet was, that his voice was like THE PERFECT FIT for Shah Rukh. It is ABSOLUTELY NO WONDER that RIGHT from Anjaam, till Om Shanti Om, every other musician who has scored for a Shah Rukh film has featured a song sung by this legend. Now, Abhijeet does come across to the common man, as a bit arrogant and full-of-attitude, thanks to his scathing remarks on reality shows, but NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING can take away the fact that he's cemented his place in Bollywood's history books as one of its most evergreen singers, with a simply PERFECT voice! :) ...Abhijeet probably owes most of his success to Anu Malik. It is in his combination that we've all gotten to see THE BEST of the singer! Anu Malik apart, credit has to, obviously, be given to Jatin-Lalit as well and of course, Shah Rukh. 

Now, in the 90s and until the early 2000s at least, there were 2 kinds of Bollywood music - one, the typical kind and the other, AR Rahman's. The typical kind can also be called as the "Nadeem-Shravan" kind, because it was the most simplistic, formulaic music ever - strings, a tabla and a dholak were ALL you needed to make "Nadeem-Shravan" music. The second compulsory rule was that the female singer HAS TO BE Alka Yagnik and the male singer HAS TO BE either Udit Narayan or Kumar Sanu. Rahman, on the other hand, kept introducing new kinds of music and kept varying his singers.

When it came to melodies, Anu Malik and Jatin-Lalit too, largely converged with the Nadeem-Shravan style. But Anu Malik's other songs stood out completely and despite the incidents of plagiarism concerning Anu Malik as well as Jatin-Lalit, I would still rate Anu Malik as equal to AR Rahman, when it comes to orchestration ( Yeah Ramaniacs, laugh all you want and share this bit of info on Twitter too and mock me, but I absolutely stand by this :) Proof: songs of Asoka ). Some of his non-melodious songs completely prove the point - the usage of various sounds, instruments and complexity is mind-blowing, to say the least.

However, despite all the freshness and other factors that it has brought with it, there's one sad thing the "making music like Rahman" led to - the downfall of singers. What I'm saying is - in the 90s, a song was made in such a way that it BELONGED MORE to the singer, than to the music director i.e. if a song was sung by Alka Yagnik, it was such that it SIMPLY COULD NOT have been sung by anyone else but her. Singers really owned the songs they sang. But towards the latter half of the 2000-2010 decade, every musician started focusing on the music and less on the singer. Scant regard is giving for how much of a "connect" the singer has with the actor and the music that is being done. Like I've said in one of my earlier posts, it's like a rule - get a popular singer and do whatever. That's it. These days, the way Bollywood music directors are working is SAD. Have the most popular singers, record some rubbish with catchy rhythms and that's it. We're done.

The sad part is, Rahman himself is guilty of this. How on earth could anybody imagine that Rabbi Shergill's voice would suit Shah Rukh Khan ? Or that ARR's own voice would suit Abhishek Bachchan in Guru ? What next? Naresh Iyer singing for Manivannan or Goundamani ?? 

That's what I'm talking about - there was A LOT of VALUE given to singers in the 90s - a song by Alka could be sung ONLY by Alka. A song by Sanu could be sung ONLY by Sanu and so on. Each voice was SO UNIQUE, SO STARKLY DIFFERENT. Whereas these days, the ONLY singers I find drastically different are, may be, Shreya Ghoshal & Sunidhi. Every new singer seems to be inspired by someone else's style and they all end up sounding the same. Aren't there a thousand people sounding like Rahat Fateh Ali Khan already? Also, today, one needn't really be a great singer to sing. All one needs is awesome technology and PR executives at their disposal. That's all it is about these days. If genuine talent had its place, wouldn't the old timers still have been singing ? One can make a song even with stray dogs singing these days, using auto-tune and other nonsense. That's why Neethaane En Ponvasantham was such a TIGHT SLAP to everyone in the industry, on what REAL music is and how it is to be made !!

This is one of the reasons that I like Harris Jayaraj songs - it's absolutely clear which song belongs to which singer and no one else but that singer can do justice to it. Again, tune reuse and other issues are things I'm not gonna discuss in this post. But his songs almost always have a firm connection between the singer-music and the actor/actress.

So, coming to Abhijeet, I've always been a fan of his voice, right from "Badi Mushkil Hai" and "Ole ole" until his songs from Chalte Chalte. Like I said, with the change in the kind of Bollywood music, there's HARDLY ANY scope for old-timers these days - they're pretty much gone. We hardly ever hear Udit Narayan, Sanu, Alka & Abhijeet these days. They've all faded into oblivion. Sonu Nigam has established himself as a Kannada playback singer. Slowly, music is changing so much that even Shaan and KK don't get to sing these days. I was hoping to see some songs of old-timers in Yash Chopra's "Jab Tak Hain Jaan", but there were NONE. The last of the old-timers, Anu Malik too, has disappeared. It's sad that even Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy don't go in for any of these old timers anymore. So, Bollywood music is pretty much dead and is acquiring new definition now - soulless, unpleasant, noise. 

So this concert was AN IDEAL GETAWAY for me - a blast from the past, a ride back in time :). I still remember how much I enjoyed the Kumar Sanu concert, with all the 90s songs :) and I knew I would have a ball of a time with this one too :) Compiling a list of expected, probable songs itself plastered a smile to my face :) :) ...What songs, each one of them !!! :) Like I had posted on FB, this was one concert which I'd begun to enjoy even before it began :D ...

A friend of mine posted on FB that Abhijeet usually enters with "Baadshah" ...though it kinda acted as a spoiler, it DEFINITELY upped my spirits :) ...that was the best possible entry song for him :) ...My mind began to visualize :D ...Anyways, I entered the venue early, I managed to click Abhijeet standing in the premises and inspecting the stage! :D .....I caught a pic, although not with him! :)

After quickly finishing a lovely dinner at California Pizza Kitchen & hurrying to the arena just in time to get seating, and after almost 45 mins of time-waste, the show FINALLY began:

CONCERT BEGINS

8.51 pm - A 2-minute intro video of Abhijeet with "Chand Taarey" in the background played on the screen.

8.53 pm - FINALLY, the moment people had been waiting hours for :) The man himself, began "Aashiq hoon main..kaatil bhi hoon" ..to a thunderous ROAR from all those gathered at the arena :) :) ...Finally, he came in singing along with the pounding beat ...the crowd's reception and unanimous screams of "Baadshah" at the chorus was awesome :) ..

That's the thing about singing an intro song for Shah Rukh - you get a super-awesome intro song for your own concerts !! Shaan is lucky that way - can anyone ask for a more awesome intro song than "Main Hoon Don" ? That too, the joy & roar of the audience when he replaces it and sings "Main Hoon Shaan"...I've seen it 3 times :)...STILL, I have no reason not to scream out loud when he does that :)

Same with Abhijeet ...truly a "Baadshah" in singing :) ...he couldn't have asked for a better song to enter with :) ...A lot of credit for such BRILLIANT lyrics should go to the one and only Javed Akhtar.

With crackers & fireworks marking his entry ...the show had begun in absolute ROLLICKING style!! :) :) ...Yay !! One of the songs I was looking forward to the best, ticked off the checklist :) :)

BTW, Baadshah happens to be the ONLY film album where Abhijeet has sung ALL the songs ( except one by Anu Malik which wasn't used in the movie ) !! In a way, it is an ABSOLUTELY PERFECT CELEBRATION of the phenomenal Anu Malik-Abhijeet combo :) :) ...I really wish he sang the others too :) - "Woh Ladki jo sabse alag hai", "Mohabbat ki nahi hai" at least, but fat chance ..I thought :)

Then he began to speak ..there's one other thing about Abhijeet ..if not a singer, he can make an absolute stand-up comedian :) trust me...he knows bloody well how to engage the audience and have them in splits ...even if the jokes are of poor quality :P ...it really felt like there's a friend performing on stage and not a legendary playback singer !!!

He said that we're lucky because this is just the 3rd time he's performing in Bangalore in 20 years !! WOW !! Aren't we truly?! :) :)

9:02 pm - He performed "Bahut Khoobsurat Ho" ...Well, this one is, no doubt, a good song :) ..and his performance was, no doubt, real good ...but then, he has SO MUCH BETTER songs in his kitty that I felt this one could have been avoided.

9:05 pm - He started off with "Badi Mushkil Hai" :) :) :) ....BOY OH BOY OH BOY !!! :) :) :) :) How many times would I have hummed this song in the 90s ?!!! :) :) I SURELY HAVEN'T KEPT COUNT AND SURELY WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN ABLE TO !! :) :) ....

THEY. JUST. DO. NOT. MAKE. SONGS. LIKE. THIS. ANYMORE. !!!!!!!!!

ABSOLUTE AWESOMENESS was witnessed with this performance !! :) :) :) ...Another dream fulfilled ...another song ticked off the checklist :) :) ...I just didn't know how to react :) :) ...I could have smiled wide with happiness ..or could have cried in happiness :D

Main ro ya hasun ..karoon mein kya karoon ?? :) :)

Is gaane ko naa gaana ..aur is performance ke baare mein naa baat karna ...BAHUTI BADI MUSHKIL HAI !! :) :) :)...but the show must go on & it did ...

9:11 pm - After asking for requests and joking around, saying "Ole ole nahin gaaoonga, Chalte chalte nahin gaaoonga etc" ..you know, there was SO MUCH interaction between Abhijeet & the audience ..it JUST DIDN'T feel like a concert ...it was like a jamming session !!!! It was more like, there was an orchestra on stage ...and we were all singers, Abhijeet being the lead one !!! :) :) :) ...NEVER EVER have I seen EVEN ONE PERFORMER SUCCESSFULLY CREATING THIS SORT OF AN AURA !!!!!! HATS OFF, Abhijeet !!!!

He himself explained this by saying by imitating so called "rockstars" who often scream "Bangaloreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee...I can't hearrrrrrr youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu !!!" and things like that :D :D ...it was funny !! :D

And then he begin ONE-OF-THE-MOST-LOOKED-FORWARD-TO SONGS of the evening, "Chaand Taarey" :) :) ....WOW !!!! I have no words...another dream fulfilled :D ...another KEY song ticked off the checklist :D ...It was AWESOME !! :) ...WHAT A VOICE !!! ABSOLUTELY NO ONE ELSE COULD HAVE AND CAN DO JUSTICE TO THIS SONG !! :)

9:18 pm - He sang "Lamha Lamha" from "Gangster" ...well, in my opinion, this is a good number and fit to be sung if there's an abundance of time...but when there isn't ..such songs ought to be given a pass ...SIMPLY BECAUSE he has FAR BETTER songs than this in his collection !!!! Good performance, nevertheless.

This was followed by a mini-felicitation at 9.25 pm

9:29 pm - The next one was "Khudaaya Khair" from "Billu Barber" ...well, again ..a good song & a good performance ...but one definitely wished he sang some of his more legendary ones instead of this :) ...more on that at the very end of this post :)

9:35 pm - The slightly less-noisy crowd became highly noisy again, as he went on to sing "Suno Naa suno naa" from "Chalte chalte" :) ...

Now, this wasn't on my checklist - Chalte chalte wasn't the best of SRK-Jatin Lalit albums in my opinion, but IN HINDSIGHT.....when one looks at the current music scene in Bollywood ...& then looks back at this album, IT IS GOLD !!! The crowd absolutely lapped up every bit of this soothing melody :) ...and thoroughly enjoyed it !! :)

9:42 pm - He mocked the usage of smoke on stages, saying that it chokes him :D ...he also said that he always sings live on stage and never lip-syncs, unlike many singers of today - a point that created controversy when he criticized Atif Aslam recently ...

He then talked about how much he was inspired by Kishore Kumar ...and performed the classic "Musafir Hun Yaaron" in his own style :) ...Well, I wasn't expecting this ...I really dunno whether to appreciate or criticize this - such things take away time from YOUR OWN songs ...but on the other ...it clearly shows the amount of respect he has for the legend ...and how much the legend means to him :) ..so overall, I think this was definitely a good thing to do !! :)

( Someday, IF I perform live ..I don't see this happening even in my dreams :P ...I will probably perform a song of my idol - Harris Jayaraj )

9:51 pm - He came back to Chalte Chalte and sang "Tauba" ..Again, a song I didn't like much when it came...but now that I look back, a very rare, simple melody :) ..Very well done :)

9:58 pm - This time, it was "Tumhe jo maine dekha" :) ...I've seen this song being performed live twice, at Shreya Ghoshal's concerts :) ...this is a song she doesn't miss out on ...and this, may be, I should call it as Abhijeet's LAST SOULFUL, GOOD number :) ...Anu Malik & Abhijeet have hardly ever collaborated after that ...thanks to the decline of the music scene ...so this is probably the last amazing song which Abhijeet has done ...

10:05 pm - FINALLY ..THE SONG EVERY SINGLE ONE OUT THERE ..WAS WAITING FOR :) ....The whistle humming began and led to whistles from the audience ...and the whistles converted to roars ...as the legend began "Main koi aisa geet gaaon" :) ...WOW !!! :) ...This WAS THE MOMENT of the whole show ..for most of them out there :) ...but for me, personally, it was the 2nd best moment ...read on to know why :) ...

Sitting there and listening to the legend blissfully soaking himself in this legendary classic was breathtaking :) ...This is regarded by many all over the world as Abhijeet's best song ever !!! There's not a SINGLE group of people who can possibly detest this song :) ....

WOW !!! This moment made the concert ..for everyone else :) ...I would've happily gone home now ...had I been asked to :) ...I had got millions more than my money's worth :) :) ...

10:13 pm - THIS ...THIS WAS THE BEST PART OF THE WHOLE CONCERT ..FOR ME !!! :) :) ...I frankly wasn't expecting this song ...but before it began ...and when he was asking for requests ...I screamed this out loud !!!!!!

AND THE VERY NEXT MOMENT ....IT WAS THERE !!!!!! :D :D :D WOW !!!!!!!!! :D ...I screamed out loudest ...for this one :)

Though he began singing "Roshni se" off beat ...after a few lines ...he caught up with the beat :) .....He exercised his vocal chords LIKE NEVER BEFORE ....FOR THIS SONG !!! :) :) ...and while performing it live !!! :) :) :) ...I sang along in full josh..as he began.- Dhoonda hai dhoonda hai tujhe ...

I thought he would use either Suchismita or Sinchan ( the 2 female singers ) ...and make this a duet ...but to my surprise, he sang it himself ... And when he began "Shaahid kisi na tera ve .."...WOW !!!!! THIS VERY MOMENT ...WAS THE PEAK OF THE CONCERT for me :) :) ....That's my favorite part of the song ...and to see the legend do it live ...was NOTHING SHORT OF MAGICAL !! :) :) :)

WOW !!!!! This made up the concert for me !!!!!! :) :) :) ....This made my day!! :) This made my weekend !! :) :) ....I dunno....I've never felt THIS happy in a long long time !!! :) :) I would've given even thousands of rupees to hear this live again !! :) ...WOW !!! :) ..

In the 2nd stanza, he kinda forgot the lyrics I guess ....he repeated Dhoonda hai dhoonda hai tujhe again :) ...hehe

I personally feel that this song is Anu Malik's BEST SONG EVER !!!! God must've been in Anu Malik when he made this song ....WOW !! This one happens to be MY all-time favorite song of Abhijeet :) ..Alka :) ...Anu Malik :) ....and the combo of course !! :)

I would rate this song as one of Bollywood's greatest love songs ever !!!!! :)

10:15 pm - He mentioned a fact ...that he is privileged to be THE ONLY SINGER to have be en given a break by R.D.Burman ...

10:22 pm - He went on to sing another evergreen Nadeem-Shravan chartbuster - Tum Dil ki Dhadkan Mein ....Awesomeness :) ....Dhadkan happens to be one of the duo's best albums ever ...and this song is proof enough why :) ...

10:32 pm - He sang a song called "Oh Maajhire" ..he said that the ONLY time he took part in an inter-college competition ever, he sung this sung and won the event :) ...It was good ...he finished it with a couple of Bengali lines ...much to the delight of the MAJORITY of Bengalis who had gathered ( Yes, Bangaloreans were a minority! :D )....

I personally wished that he didn't sing this song ....but he had good reason to - he said that he never misses this song in any of his concerts ....

10:41 pm - He sang an old Hindi song "Kahin ...something" ( I dunno the song )...but it wasn't his ....I personally was slightly disappointed ...I'm a 90s guy :) ...so I expected 90s stuff :)

10.50 pm - He sang the evergreen hit "Jaanejaa" along with Sinchan Dixit ...it was a wonderful performance ...but again, time was running out ...and it felt pretty restless and disappointing for me to see this being performed than this own songs :) ...

11.01 pm - FINALLY came the song A LOT of people were waiting for ..."Ole ole" :) ...WOW !!! In my humble opinion, if Saif Ali Khan still has fans these days :D :P ...it probably is because of this song :) ...It is an evergreen, ROCKING song :) :) ..

No game of Antakshari is ever complete without singing this song and Jaadu Teri Nazar when the letter "Ja" comes :D ...

The whole crowd sang "ole ole" in unison :) ...it was too good ...

I thought he would end with this one ...as time was running out ...though I was SLIGHTLY disappointed that he missed out on some songs ( I'll come to them later ) ...I was very happy that he was gonna end with this one ...

BUT SUDDENLY AFTER THIS ...at

11.08 pm - He went on to sing "I'm the best" :) :) ...WOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) :) ...Now THAT was TOTALLY UNEXPECTED !!!! :D  ...and AWESOME !!!!!! :) ..

WHAT A WAY TO SIGN OFF !!!! :) ...Abhijeet has really been lucky to sing such glorious songs for SRK ...and so has SRK, to have had NONE OTHER THAN THIS LEGEND to give him a voice !! :) :) ...WOW !!!!

He scampered off the stage ...singing I'm the best :) ...following which everyone dispersed !! :)

WOW !!!! WOW !!! WOW !!!!!!! ....is all I can say :) ...What a DELIGHTFUL evening it was !! :) :)

Now, coming to the songs I had on my checklist which weren't performed -

1. Mere Khayalon Ki Mallika from Josh -  One of Abhijeet's BEST SONGS EVER !!!!! HOW COULD HE MISS THIS OUT ?!!! Anu Malik created a magician out of Abhijeet in this song !!! I BADLY wanted this one to be performed :(

2. Tan tana tan tan tan tara from Judwaa - Another song ROARING with energy ..it was a HUGE CHARTBUSTER in the 90s ...It was a RAGE..when it came ...This one should've been performed IMO :( ....It would've been a glorious performance !!!! :(

3. Aye Naazneen suno na - Perhaps, Abhijeet's ONLY song with the legendary AR Rahman ( I'm not sure if it's the only one..pls correct me if I'm wrong ) ....As an AR Rahman fan, I would've been delighted had he sung this SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL song ....but it's fine ...may be he himself doesn't like it much :) ....

4. Main Khiladi Tu Anari - This song was another SUPERHIT ...I would've loved to see this being performed ...but you need 2 male singers for that ...so it's quite understandable that he didn't sing this one ...aah...how I wish Udit and Abhijeet do a joint concert :) ..hehe !!!

5. Humko Tumse Pyaar Hai - I really think it's time Anu Malik did a live concert and brought back THE LOST GLORY of the 90s !!! ...This is an ABSOLUTELY SUPER-AWESOME SONG ..suing by Anu Malik and Abhijeet :) ...Again, 2 singers needed...so it kinda makes sense that he chucked this one...

Though it is a perfect fodder for those who wanna mimic Anu Malik::D ..there's NO DENYING THE FACT THAT IT IS AN ABSOLUTELY ROCKING SONG !! :)

6. Biwi number 1 - not a breathtaking classic ..but would've been fun :) ...but not an absolute necessity

7. Aur Kya - this is one of's Abhijeet's BEST-EVER duets ...This HAD TO BE THERE ...Not just me, A LOT of people would've been having a tinge of disappointment that this wasn't sung :( ....he had 2 female singers available ...he really should've done this one IMO ..

8. Aa aa ee - Think Govinda ...think this song !! :D ...should've been there :) ...

Anyways, never mind :) ...the disappointment is just a tinge...whereas bliss and happiness is flowing in buckets !!! :) :) : )...

WHAT A DAY ...WHAT A SHOW ...WHAT A LEGEND !!!!
THREE cheers to Abhijeet ...and to the organizers of Alive India in Concert :)

For those who've ACTUALLY read the whole post - Thank you folks ..for ur ENORMOUS patience ..and tolerance ...in reading so much :) hehe ..
3 cheers to you all too ! :D
Ashwin..




















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