The evening began at around 730, at the OAT in the gymkhana.
Even though, all of us acknowledge Manna De as a great singer, his popularity on the basis of recall value of his songs is not very high. An average person, will know quite a lot of songs of rafi, kishore kumar etc, but does not recall many songs sung by Manna De. I too was no exception, as were a lot of people in the packed OAT.
Manna De, was a little hesitant to start off, little unsure about performing for such a young crowd, which sways to the complete opossitte of the type of music, manna de specializes in. He, too was skeptical about the fact that his songs are not as popular as those of kishore and rafi, and said very very clearly, at the outset that he will not sing any of their songs.
But then slowly, as he started coming to his groove, the crowd started to enjoy his mystical voice, his evergreen songs and he had each one of us hypnotized by his magic.
For me, personally, it was a great feeling. I like old hindi songs, but my knowledge, as I said earlier was restricted to kishore and rafi and rd burman etc etc. Slowly, as Manna de started to sing his favorite numbers, I was completely transported into a different world.
The first song of the evening that I fell in love was “ Sur na Saje Kya Gawu main, Sur ke bina jeevan suna“, a heart wrenching number.
Then, obviously one had to like “janak janak payal baje”, an immensly popular song, performed with great style and panache. Before starting the song, Manna De said that he was going to perform a number which won the national award, and the crowd started appluading, and he quipped back “pata to nahi hai kaun sa gana, taali baja diya” (you do not know which song, but you people have clapped), and when he started the song, another wave of applause as the audience realized the song, he was about to sing.
This was followed by a request from the bengali section of the crowd to perform a bengali number called “Coffee-house”. As, I listened to this song, I could not help but falling in love with this song. The lyrics were amazing, and the tune was peppy. Trying to download this song!
He ended the first half with “Oh mere zoharazabeen”, during which the crowd literally went crazy.
As in cricket matches when Sachin plays for tea, and then comes out all guns blazing after tea and decimates the attack (sigh! where are those days!), Manna De, was just unbelievable after the break. This time he chose to sing more of his popular numbers, and the crows was lipping each song along with him. It was just magical.
He started off with some duets, Aaja Sanam Madhur chandani maini hum tum mile to wirane main bhi aa jayegi bahar” and then the Condom song (whenever I listen to this song, I am remined of the nirudh advert)“Pyar hua ikraaar hua”, and then went on to sing some great songs like “Phul gendwa na maro” and “Dil ka haal sune dilwala”.
But, he had preserved his best for the last. On crowd request, he performed the incredible song called “Madhushala” by Dr Harivansh Rai Bachchan. He was initially reluctant to perform it, suggesting that why should such a young crowd listen to this song, but finally, when he performed that song, it was just unbelievable. You had to be there. The lyrics of the song is just too good, and Manna De’s rendition of the song, took singing all together to a different plane. The man himself, was overcome by emotion, and did not quite finish the song, but the crowd had been completely hypnotized by his song. The applause for this song was just unbelievable. As if to keep us hypnotized for a little longer, he started of Laga Chunari main daag”, a classical masterpiece.
By then the time was ten, and the concert over.
The crowd was cheering on, and living every moment of an event which everybody knew will probably be never back again. Manna De was also delighted with the resopnse he got, and finally exclaimed, that he never thought that such a young crowd will like his brand of music, but after the show, he can feel nothing but 10 years younger.
Before I finish, I will have to mention about Mr. Khurana, the Master of ceremony, who kept filling in with some amazing jokes and shayari.
Truly, one of the unforgettable evenings in my life!!!