Shaam-e-Ghazal, an evening to remember

By Vijay Badhwar

Yogendra Bhatnagar poetically sums up at the end of 25th anniversary Shaam-e-Ghazal concert on 30 March at the Ermington Community Centre: Apne Hi Ghar Main Khazane Bahut Hain (there is plenty of local talent).

Indeed! Muqqarrer!

Avijit Sarkar and Rachana Bhatnagar are legendary among many others on the local musicscape for many decades, no less than overseas imports, and complete entertainment sans ”˜starry airs’.

The Ermington Community Centre is cosy (on a cold windy evening) with just around 200 seats, tastefully decorated with cushions spread randomly at the front of the stage with a Surahi (ewer) on the left and the back curtain marking an entrance to a Mehfil.

The air is full of ”˜Gayaki’ – poetry laden with precise expression of sentiments that can not be described otherwise:  ”˜Khuda kare ke mohabbat mein yeh mukam aye, kisi ka Naam loon lab pe tumhara naam aye’. Rachana Bhatnagar’s clarity in diction and modulation, especially in upper octaves, is superb as she sings Pankaj Udhas’ popular ghazal.

(As an aside, I recently attended a Pt Jasraj concert in Delhi. Pundit ji is in his nineties and what was still applauded in him was his ”˜clarity in diction’.)

Avijit Sarkar is a doyen of art, is a teacher and guide to many. He’s seeded Indian music among the next generation and all this for a noble cause – cancer research – for which he has donated proceeds of many concerts, including this anniversary concert, book sales and funds raided from many charity functions. He sings many Jagjit Singh ghazals at the anniversary concert – Tere Khushboo mein base khat main jalaoon Kaise, Pyar ka Pehla khat likhne main waqt to lagta hai, and Ghulam Ali’s, yeh batein jhooti batein hain yeh logon ne phailaeen hain among many others.

Emerging young ghazal singer: Ami Surti and Will Bhatnagar

There are two youngsters singing ghazals at the concert and both of them top class, absolutely enthralling – Will Bhatnagar and Ami Surti. Ami has been a finalist at a recent Unity Concert and has in her family her father who can double up as a Shammi Kapoor dancer. Will sings kis mor se shuru karoon yeh jindagi and Ami first sings a solo ghazal, safar mein dhoop to yogi jo chal sako to chalo and then a duet with Avijit, duniya jise kahte hain jadu ka khilona hai. The youngsters have a lot of promise, as Avijit said.

Towards the end, it has to be the evergreen Farida Khanum ghazal, aaj Jane ki Zid Na Karo… It also allows the irrepressible Tabla player Maharshi Raval to showcase his talent which dominated throughout the concert.

It was a truly entertaining concert from Sydney’s own khazana, as Yogendra put it.

Short URL: