Laxmikant Pyarelal night by the Natraj Academy, a treat to listen to

Neena Badhwar

Avijit Sarkar of Natraj Academy uses an assortment of instruments – the piano accordion, the melodica, dholak, bongos, congas and the dafli. The evening ‘A Tribute to Laxmikant Payarelal – Ek Pyar Ka Naghma hai’ starts with Avijit playing the hauntingly beautiful and famous ‘Maujon Ki Ravaani Hai Zindagi Aur Kuch Bhi Nahi Teri Meri Kahaani Hai’ from the movie ‘Shor’. And soon it unfolds with singers of Natraj Academy who have up until now practicing songs of Laxmikant Pyarelal songs from movies whose music spanned for good two and a half decade from the late sixties to the late nineties when the duo’s music reigned supreme. Its their night as they don  the stage one by one.

The hall is full to the brim with people gathered to listen to LP music, some of their famous songs that came from well known movies such as ‘Bobby’, ‘Qurbani’, ‘Prem Rog’ and more.

‘Mere mehboob qayamat hogi’ by Darshik Bhagat, Akankasha and Shubhra’s ‘Hansta hua noorani chehra’ are a couple of songs chosen for the oldies whereas ‘Om Shanti Om’ by Lalit Mehra and ‘Hawa Hawaii’ by Lalitha Chellapan are a sure entertainer. Pata nahi ‘Mugambo Khush Hua’ ya nahi par Sydney zaroor khush hui. People have started to enjoy the evening, the musicians just as much, as they accompany the singers who come on stage, at times giving small intro before they sing their chosen number. Avijit talks about the life of Laxmikant Pyarelal relating snippets fromtheir life and music they provided.

Ashok and Rashmie’s ‘Hum Tum Ek Kamre Mein Band Ho’ takes you to the early seventies when Bobby films’ hit number filmed on Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia reminds one of the music of the era when whole of India had gone mad over the movie as well as its songs, thanks to LP, short name given to the music directors. Aditi’s ‘Lambi Judaai’ originally sung by Pakistani singer Reshma is well received. The night is a revelation of the breadth of music produced by them, we only realize on the night, their diversity, their knowledge and the grip on the classical is just amazing. Avijit’s student are all keen and are dressed to the hilt for the occasion and entertain you with a charm some even matching the era of the seventies and the eighties.

Avijit when asked about the accordion, says, “It was good fun for me and I donned the accordion on stage after decades!! There is a little history about the accordion. This particular accordion is a vintage one and has a story. During the days of Shanker Jaikishen, O P Nayyar and others all the accordion pieces in studio recordings were played by a Parsi gentleman by the name of Gudi Servei. His son, a fantastic concert pianist and someone who disappeared from the scene suddenly. The accordion that I was playing was owned by Goody Servei’s son, I was told! Not sure if this history is true but I got this from Manny Servai in Sydney from whom I purchased the accordion.” 

He agrees that some of the compositions sung on the night were actually quite complex and difficult. We agree, Poornima, Amit, Hemal, Kerman’s ‘Dard-e-dil’, Tasneem, Sumedha, Rajshree, first timers Lalit Khanna and Neha’s ‘Sawan Ka Maheena, pawan kare Sor’, Munish’s ‘Ye Jeevan Hai’, Revathi’s ‘Yeh galiyan yeh chaubara’, Devashree’s ‘Bhor bhayi panghat’ and Mamata’s ‘Dafli wale’ with Avijit accompanying on dafli were pretty good. Jazba band musicians back the singers in a spirited manner and the mood is good all round. You are able to catch some in the crowd during the interval as they are the stars of the night yet so approachable as people take pics with them.

Some singers are accompanied by chorus by the other singers the exact music produced live on stage in front of you. Sadiq Rehmani on guitar, young Vishal Lakhia on keyboard, Seemantho on Bass guitar, Rakesh Swami on drums, Abhijit Dan on tabla and percussion, Parag Tijoriwala and Sanjeev Raja provides side effects and Avijit of course, is a one man band picking and playing each instrument with total ease, his dafli and accordion reminding one of the great Raj Kapoor, him proud of his students, says he, “The students did perform to the best of their abilities.” We do know that they all worked hard, the audience happy to tuck into gollgappas and other street eateries as they mixed and mingled on a really really cold night. Thanks Natraj Academy, once again!

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