Sahir, Sarkar and Sydney were all in Taal in ”˜Taal Se Taal Mila’

Avijit Sarkar set the mood for a Sahir evening

By Neena Badhwar

Heart & Soul Production’s Fourth ”˜Taal Se Taal Mila’ event was a sold out show when Sydney’s Sahir Ludhianavi lovers of his filmi poetry congregated to be transported to an era of music that has left an indelible mark in our memory.

Sahir was a literary gift to the Indian film industry in times when writers struggled to get few hundred rupees for songs which became classic. Many movies ran on the back of successful music as we all know.

Avijit with Taufeeq Ahmed and Arun Nanda

Hear & Soul’s ”˜Lal Ishq’ concert at Pioneer Theatre in Castle Hill was exactly aimed at that as the hall filled with an expectation of an evening devoted fully to Sahir and only Sahir.

Jagpreet Grover

But the concert started with a bang, loud music and numbers that did not remind one of Sahir’s poetry or even the music. One gentleman from the crowd had to get up to request for the sound to be lowered which the sound technician did, not as much but a tiny wee bit lower. Only to help transport oneself in the times nostalgic to all us NRIs.

MC Shailja Chandra

Taufeeq Ahmed came on stage, promising a night devoted to Sahir as he invited MC, Shailja Chandra, Radio Monika Geetmala’s presenter, donning a beautiful red gown, she looked gorgeous. Shailja introduced the night in memory of a great poet of India whose songs have left an imprint for ever, even after fifty years. Each song, each verse, each couplet penned thoughtfully by Sahir has haunted us with his sheer poetry, be it on the topic of love, suffering, poverty, or struggle, as if the artist is pouring his heart out in every way possible. His lines affect us in a very profound way, as we find solace by listening to his wonderful lyrics. Shailja, of course, had planned an interactive evening, but soon was interrupted by a member of the audience asking to start Sahir’s music. Whereas another member of the audience was happy to have a conversation on Sahir. But as the majority ruled, soon Avijit Sarkar was on stage with Rucha Lange, his mesmerising voice soothed everyone with ”˜Main pal dau pal ka shayar hun’, ”˜chhu lene dene nazuk hothon ko’, ”˜Zindagi bhar nahi bhoolegi wo barsaat ki raat’, ”˜Ye raat ye chandni phir kahan’ and ”˜Jeevan Ke Safar mein Rahi’.

It was enough to calm everyone down as they forgot what had happened earlier.   The evening progressed with some more songs from other singers ”“ ”˜Aage bhi jaane na tu’; ”˜Dhadkane lagidil ke taaron ki duniya’, ”˜Wo subah kabhi to aayegi’. It was a night of which no one wanted for the ”˜Subah’ to occur. Shailja mentioned that Sahir’s poetry while it expresses a lot of romance and ishq, many of his songs also talk about injustices that are still rampant today.

Rajeev Kapoor dancing away

The audience was enwrapped, in my opinion, in ”˜pyar’ and ”˜ishq’, ”˜Abhi na jao chhod kar’, they wanted more of those memorable songs picturised on Sadhana, Dev Anand, Kishore Kumar and Nutan, Waheeda Rehman and Guru Datt, Arun Nanda’s ”˜Ye Raatein Ye Mausam Nadi Ka Kinara’ with Rucha Lange, was a superb choice, someone got up to dance, carried away, definitely to his young days of love, romance and excitement. People looked at him while they sat enjoying the music, in a way demonstrating the success of the show, when you get up and feel like dancing. Here a suggestion to the organiser, perhaps a group of young Bollywood dancers, just two or three, can be hired to dance on the floor, not stage, to help heighten the experience of the musical evening. No criticism to the brave Rajiv Kapoor who had got up to dance to the beautiful romantic song.

The qawaali of ”˜Barsaat Ki Raat’ movie ”˜Na tau carwan ki talaash hai’ had the hall clapping away, the orchestra enjoying it to the fullest themselves, as Musician Emmanuel gestured with claps to guide the audience in a rhythmic music ensemble. As if an imaginary magic wand by a conductor directed us all, this is the beauty of Indian audience and their love of the golden music of Indian films, they fully get into it, to the satisfaction of musicians, the singers and the artists.

And the songs, they have left in us all, a tragic romantic for life. Not sure if the same is true about the current crop of youth who are into Indian filmi music of the 21st century. There is a very polarised group of audience, the Indian baby boomers and Generation-Xers, who love Sahir whereas the millennials are into the current music that’s being pelted, of which the seniors do not want to know, writing it off, of a much less in literary quality, rather accuse that it lacks subtlety that is expressed in the older songs.

Rucha Lange, Jagpreet, Jasmine and Ami Surti – talented singers of Sydney, together they presented some old and some new songs

So for trial the show brought forward some very new numbers sung by Jagpreet Grover, Ami Surti, Jasmine Gill ”˜Mera naam ishq, tera naam ishq’ ”˜Ai dil hai mushkil’ ”˜Sun raha hai na tu’   ”˜Ai zindagi gale laga le’. Some stubborn ones in the audience just got up and went to socialise in the foyer, seemed like a protest, sort of.

After having ingested samosas, curry rice and nice spiced Chai by Ajay’s Maya da Dhaba, wine tasting by many, people trickled in for the next half.  The evening had Avijit again on stage with songs ”˜Laga chunri me daagh’ and ”˜Ai Meri zohra zabeen’. Arun’s ”˜Mere dil mein aaj kya hai’ was well received, no wonder the guy, not only sings well, but takes efforts to put up concerts under the banner of ”˜Taal Se Taal Mila’. The audience ”˜Ke dil me kya hai’ Arun would have realised that the music of two eras does not mix, it was quite evident on the nite devoted to Sahir. Mixing the two eras ”˜Sahir’s and ”˜Laal Ishq’ was a good experiment, of a concert that made many happy yet left a few disappointed.

Emmanuel on saxaphone

Abhijit Dan on Tabla. The show also donated over a $1000 to cancer research by auctioning a portrait of Sahir and some wine

The musicians accompanying under the supervision of Satyajeet Roy with himself on Keyboards and instrumentation; Mayank Singh on Lead guitar; Sadiq Rehmani  on Rhythm guitar; Seemanto Nath  on Bass guitar; Abhijit Dan on Tabla; Drums by  Rakesh Swami and Emmanuel Lieberfreund on Flute  and saxophone and other instruments, ”˜Taal Se Taal Mila’ was a concert where the lyricist, his songs, singers, musicians and the audience, were all in unison or one can say were in ”˜Taal’ with each other.

Pics by Euphony


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