Sydney remembers Sridevi

By Neena Badhwar

Pics Courtesy: Vikram’s Photgraphy

Sridevi came into Bollywood with a bang. She was young, very pretty, tall with a perfect figure. Every feature on her face was attractive, especially her eyes. She set the screens alive with her candid acting and became a heartthrob of fans worldwide. Girls emulated her with her ”˜Mere hathon mein nau nau chudiyan’ and ”˜O meri chandni’ whereas men fell for her with her sexy number in Mr. India ”˜Kaate nahi kateti raat’. She oozed oomph in plenty. Known for her roles in ”˜Chandni’, ”˜Mr. India’, ”˜Laadla’, ”˜Nagin’, Sridevi, a southie, ruled Bollywood and gave other heroines run for their money. No one could come near her as she demanded exorbitant fees in her hey days. Here Sydney waited for a concert by this beautiful heroine but she was in high demand, I remember. But Sydney’s Bollywood lovers are such devoted fans of Sridevi that her passing away in Dubai was a shock to them when she left this world on the 24th of February last year.

Adrian Nair (extreme right) presenting plaques to the artists who came hailed from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra
The audience thoroughly enjoyed the 5-hour long concert in memory of Sridevi

Adrian’s Orchestra, exactly on the 24th of February, presented a memorial concert, on the first anniversary of Sridevi’s passing away. It was an emotional decision as some of the close friends of Sridevi in Sydney not only came to the concert but even rang in to the family, her daughters Jhanavi and Khushi and husband Bonney Kapoor who were at a puja in Mumbai in her memory, that Sydney had organised a concert offering a tribute to the great actress. They were obviously overwhelmed with the gesture, says Adrian Nair, the presenter, “It was a non-stop 5-hour program with 34 songs interspersed with dances.”

He did humbly ask everyone in the audience if they were happy as one song after another of Sridevi was pelted without any interruptions of anecdotes on her life. Audience sat through enjoying and reliving Sridevi as over twenty artists from all over Australia came to sing on stage.

Sajay Saj, Sunil Pai, Gunjan Shah, Krishna S Chandran, Darryl Dsouza, Devashree Vakil, Padmalatha Rao and Aakash Vakil

”˜Hawa Hawai’ by Krishna S Chandran was electric, ”˜Naino Mein Sapna’ with Ria Singh and Daljit Singh  and Ria’s solo ”˜Mere Hathon Me Nau Nau’, ”˜Na janey kaha se aayi hai ye ladki’ by Daryl Dsouza, ”˜Chudiyan Khanak Gayi’ by Gunjan Shah, ”˜Mujhe ek pal chain na aaye’ by Sayeri Gupta Biswas, ”˜Tera Bimar Mera Dil’ by Sunil Pai, ”˜Lagi aaj sawan ki’ by Kunal Mehta and Sayeri Gupta Biswas, ”˜Rab Ne Banaya Tujhe Mere Liye’ by Devashree Vakil and Sanjay Khakkar, ”˜Oongli mein anguta’ by Supriti Dasgupta and James John, ”˜Main To Hoon Pagal Munda’ by Padmalatha Rao and Sanjay Saj were most enjoyable. Coupled with energetic dances along with the singers as they sang live, it was an afternoon of Sydney’s own Sridevi tribute. Adrian and his musicians provided the accompaniment to the singers which is very important, he himself handled the music and the synthesizers single handedly, a fete in itself. Sound is an important part of a concert and one could see the singers enjoying an effortless singing because of the sounds created by the band members. They were in tune with the singers and their ensemble made the experience exactly like the real songs of Sridevi.

Sayeri Gupta Biswas, Kunal Mehta, Swati Soni, Sanjay Khakkar, Daljit Singh, Ria Singh, James John and Padmalatha Rao
Sydney dressed up for the Sridevi Concert at Bowman Hall, Blacktown

Says Adrian, “I refused cash sponsorships thinking that it was going to be a concert purely in Sridevi’s memory alone.”

Audience thoroughly enjoyed dances by the dancers from Chakras Dance School and Kirti Jain who was unstoppable, reminding us of the sensational Sridevi. This beautiful actress that Bollywood lost definitely left an indelible mark in the films of 80s and the 90s. People mourned for her not just in India but overseas too. Finale of the concert had Sridevi’s ‘Nagin’ film song and dance ”˜Mai Teri Dishman’. Adrian Nair and his band members Biju Shams the Drummer and Sukhi as the percussionist had worked hard to put together this concert with Adrian finally thanking all the audience and honouring the singers with a plaque.

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