Shreya delights Sydney, yet again

By Lokesh Varma

It was a packed house that greeted Bollywood’s Queen of Melody Shreya Ghoshal on the evening of August 4. The crowds that comprised 3300 of her die-hard fans had all come to see her perform as they thronged the Hillsong Convention Centre in Baulkham Hills. This was notwithstanding that she had visited Sydney for a record five times. While this frequency ranks her as one of the sub-continent’s most loved stars, the performance did not reek of past successes nor did it suggest that Shreya takes her audiences for granted.

The event’s success is largely due to the superb organisation of husband-wife duo, Chirag and Foram Parikh of Star Alliance Entertainment. Right from the security arrangements, the availability of yummy break food or the set up of the stage it was clear that the organisers had spent a lot of time and effort in bringing a memorable night for Sydney-siders.

Of note also were the three MCs. Nitin Madan, Sakshi Kapoor and Jazeel Mistry all kept the audience enthralled with their wit, jokes and their knowledge of all things Shreya.

The evening started at 7.45pm and the dance troupe of Shiamak Davar warmed up the audience. It was a high-octane performance showcasing not only the dancers’ dancing ability but also Shiamak’s choreographic brilliance of Indo contemporary and modern moves.

This was then followed by Shailesh Sharma who treated the audience to ”˜joh bhi kasmein kahi thi, kya tumhein yaad hai’. A little known but a superb singer in the form of Jaideep then emerged. A past Sa Re Ga Ma Marathi winner he sang ”˜Kachi doriyon se tu band le’ and ”˜O Zalima’ with aplomb.

The MCs then revealed she had been honoured by the state of Ohio, where 26 June is celebrated as “Shreya Ghoshal Day”. Your correspondents thought this is good praise for Shreya, who has a bevy of awards both national and international. For the uninitiated, she has received four National Film Awards and six Filmfare Awards including five for Best Female Playback Singer in her short 16 year career.

Shreya started the evening with the super hit song from Deewani Mastani’s ”˜nazar teri lagi to deewani ho gaye’ and followed it up with ”˜Baharaan’ from I Hate Luv Stories. As the evening progressed, Shreya attempted to engage the audience. “Sing with me. Aap subah to Riyaz karke aaye hain na? I want to hear Sydney. The Sydney I love”.

As the audience started to enjoy the brilliance and diversity of her repertoire, she shared that while growing up, AR Rehman was her idol. Singing with him was a dream come true for her and to honour that legend, she crooned ”˜Tu Meri Dost Hai ”˜with the versatile Jaideep. This was followed by ”˜Maanwa Laage’ and then ”˜Mein Tenu Samjhawan’. The latter song resonated so much with the audience that they all turned their mobile phones into flashlights and transformed the auditorium into an enchanted land.

The extent of her versatility then became evident as she crooned what she called a soul number ”˜Jo meri manzilon ko jati hai’ from the recent release Dhadak. As the entertainment continued, two young Sydney girls started dancing in the aisles. So impressed was Shreya with her young fans, Pretty and Chinmaya that she invited them to dance on the stage.

The second half started with dancers from Bolly Fits. This was quickly followed by Jaideep who celebrated Kishore Kumar’s birth anniversary with ”˜Kehna hai kehna hai aaj tumse pehli baar’ and ”˜oh mere dil ke chayn’.

Shreya entered the stage again and immediately paid her respects to the music greats from the 1950s to the 80s. We were all unsure which was the better rendition – Shreya’s take with western instruments or the originals. Certainly, ”˜Chauhdvi ka chand’, ”˜woh sham kuch ajeeb thi’ to the evergreen ”˜kabhi-kabhi mere dil’ and ”˜jabh ho gaya tum per dil diwana’ were wonderfully sung and provided much joy for the older generation to enjoy.

She mixed this up with some foot tapping songs”¦’door se kitni aayi ho’, ”˜pyar ka tofa layi ho’, ”˜pyaase pyaase mere labon’ and ”˜piya to aja’. And then a jive song of ”˜Zoobie Zooby’ from the 3 Idiots. She then went onto a “simple song, a romantic song so please sing with me”. This was the technically difficult ”˜ghumur ghumur’ song from Padmavat which bought the house down.

Sadly, the evening’s fun stopped soon after Shreya once again thanked the Sydney audience for their love and left the auditorium amidst thunderous applause. Such a relationship that befits only the Queen of Melody and her special relationship with Sydney siders.

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