Kabira in Matunga

Thursday night, while “Tum Hi Ho” was being belted out, I shot a short video and posted it on our college WhatsApp group. One friend wrote back asking, “Who is he?” I then forwarded the same video to another school-friends group to have yet another friend pose the same question.

Guys come on! We need to get away from this time warp, the chimera of old Hindi songs that has so many of us touching 50 so trapped that we are unable to appreciate the amazing wealth of talent that exists in non-classical Hindi film and non-film music today.

The Arijit Singh concert was organized by the students of ICT in their Matunga campus, like the Shaan concert in 2011. It started an hour or so late, but that was fine given that the 90 minutes odd concert would anyway have to get over before the 10 pm deadline that exists for all outdoor performances in Mumbai. Seriously, this insane rule really needs to be revisited sooner rather than later.

The crowd as expected consisted of teens and young adults in their 20s, with a few scattered “uncles” and “aunties” like us. For once, I didn’t mind being addressed “uncle”…all of us “seniors” were given priority entry.

I first heard Arijit on television, probably in an episode of Indian Idol, where he sang along with one of the contestants and I was struck by the timbre of his voice and the control he had over it. I don’t remember what he sung that day, but since then I have been hooked…his recent MTV “unplugged” album will help you understand why!

Arguably, his most famous song is “Tum Hi Ho” from Aashiqui 2 and many people only recognize him as that award-winning A2 singer.  He started and ended the concert with this number, which is perhaps last year’s most popular love anthem and had the kids and us eating out of the palm of his hands each time he sang this.

Arijit still does not have a large repertoire of his own songs and when he filled out the performance by singing other popular numbers, there was a momentary dip, simply because all of us had to come to listen to Arijit singing Arijit numbers, not covers of songs as happens in other musical orchestras. Once he re-started with “Kabira”, the ground was again on fire and he even had us “uncles” and “aunties” up on the chairs swaying with the rest of the crowd, including when he sang “Sunn Raha Hai”, also from A2, which he made his own despite having originally been sung by Ankit Tiwari.

My kids and I had a bet about “Raabta”, the initial part of which seems to have been sung by Arijit in a single breath, in the original recorded version. We often try to emulate him, succeeding perhaps once in 3-4 tries, and that too only after we have taken really, really deep breaths. Obviously, the number has been studio engineered…and Arijit took as many breaths as needed to keep the song going. This was perhaps the only number that didn’t quite just seem right!

Live outdoor artiste performances in Matunga are so rare that whenever they do happen, they are worth going to…these are the desi “rock” concerts that we used to see in the movies (Kumar Gaurav in “Star”, etc.), but never in real life…they are all happening now. Hopefully, I might even be able to write another piece titled, “The Nadaan Parindey of Matunga” (for middle-aged ignoramuses who are bound to ask…I am talking about Mohit Chauhan…jeez!)


  • V.Subramanian wrote:

    We uncles and aunties have had our fair share of fun and dance in the 70’s with Kishore Kumar Nites,Babla,and Asha Bhosle Nites at the Shanmukhananda Hall.”Chahu Ya Na” and “Sun raha hai” are pleasing and fabulous Numbers from A 2, But such songs are far and few between. Besides all these
    studio engineered and tech. punched and patched songs are difficult to be replicated in live senario,especially group songs.Some of the singers have turned out to be “one time wonders” and not able to sustain.

  • Dr.Bhavin, I agree with the views of V.Subramanian.Today”s entertainment world esp film songs or any song rendered by KK/Altaf/Adnan sami are numbers evaporating in short time and can not sustain/remembered by the masses/youngsters as in the case of film songs sung by Kishoreda/Mohd Rafi/Mukesh/Lata/Asha etc.Gone are the days when we had orchestra group performing in various auditorium in Mumbai to regale the audience and keep in rapt attention.
    The present day entertainment be it music/drama/dance/orchestra are for killing time and for the organisers to make quick money.
    But u have not replied to the problem of nexus between Hosp/GP and the Path-Diag centres for giving kick backs by the Path-Diag centres and fleecing the patients.U are the key person as a Doctor of the Assn which monitors the clinical examination centres and the commn/kickback system should be rooted out.

  • On 11 January this year I attended mindblowing performance by Roopkumar Rathod at upvan festival in Thane.He is not just a great singer but also a very humble human being.I also happened to attend Sonu Nigam’s concert at sanmukhanand this year which too was great.Reminded me of our SIES college day annual celebrations!

  • On 11 January this year I attended mindblowing performance by Roopkumar Rathod at upvan festival in Thane.He is not just a great singer but also a very humble human being.I also happened to attend Sonu Nigam’s concert at sanmukhanand this year which too was great.Reminded me of our SIES college day annual celebrations!

  • Prakash Nanavati wrote:


    I agree with you on insane rule of 10 pm deadline which should be removed. Look at Rang Bhavan – a nice open air place which became casualty of this stupid rule.

  • To start with the stupid rule, as far as open space theatres are concerned, you may be right that the time should be extended.
    But just think about the residential areas where in tiny school halls the music played is so loud that we cannot hear the T.V. or even able to talk on the phone despite closing all the windows!! Yes our building is opposite a school where marriage ceremony, dandia, Christmas parties etc. are held and the music is ear spearing instead of heart spearing! I love music, songs, instrumental, et all. But when such beautiful notes turn into sounds like banging of the vessels, etc. people like us thank for the stupid rule! But, who follows the rule???? Not in our area. This din goes on and on till midnight or till somebody alerts the cops!

    The music and songs of yester years where Shanker-Jaikishn’s orchestra of 100 on a stage with singers like Lata, Mohd.Rafi, Talat, Mukesh, Manadey, were treat to hear and watch! Since we could not afford such luxury I remember attending 2 such programmes!
    After finishing schooling in Panchagani, at home I had to be content to listen to the Radios played outside. In those days most people blared their radios! All I had to do was to sit near the window with study book in hand (college) with ears on the songs. So my Mom decided that we too should have a radio and she got the first Murphy radio for Rs.300/- !!
    Dad was miffed at the outset then things settled down. Those were the days of joy and thrills.

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