Jashn-e-Ghazal, a musical evening that celebrated the end of Covid

By Neena Badhwar

In NSW, Covid-19 restrictions have just been lifted. Inside the Madison Function Lounge on December 6 it seems restrictions never existed.

It was as if a nightmare had finally ended as the function centre buzzed with energy, singers Rachna Bhatnagar and Suhas Mahajan taking the centre stage.

Sarshar playing Sarod, on the keyboard his son Ali Sarshar and organiser Manju Mittal as the Emcee, the stage is set to an entertaining evening.

There is also cricket on, the second T20 being played at the Sydney Cricket Ground. And it all seems and looks the same. Art, in its finest form, the fine shots from the bat with final flick of the wrists, or the crescendo by Rachna in ”˜Ranjish Hi Sahi’ or a brush stroke of a painter painting, an evening that is going to be etched on our subconscious.

Jashn-e-Ghazal which promised an evening of ghazals and enchanting melodies the audience is surely divided, some only looking forward to ghazals, others love their favourite filmi numbers penned by the famous shayars ranging from Sahir, to Majrooh and then there are some who are happy to stand outside having men-to-men talk over a peg. Ladies are dressed like the old times when mehfils and concerts were aplenty, only Covid putting a stop to all that in 2020, all smiling and greeting each other as if out of some jail with life slowly coming back to normal.

Suhas Mahajan and Rachna Bhatnagar make a nice duo, dressed in same colours, the green kurta on Suhas goes well with Rachna’s matching deep green Benarasi silk sari, she looks elegant, she starts with ”˜Ye daulat bhi lelo’ while Suhas chooses ”˜Baat nikli hai badi door talak jayegi’, and goes on to ”˜Aapke haseen rukh pe aaj naya noor hai’; when Rachna sings ”˜sama bhi hai jawan jawan’, Suhas follows it up with ”˜Chaudwin ka chaand ho’ and ”˜Chhu lene do nazuk hothon ko’ the two singers compliment each other yet are individually unique in their own style and delivery. Rachna’s deep voice has an echoing ring whereas Suhas sings softly winning us through his selection of ”˜Ahsan tera hoga mujh par’ , it is the audience that is ”˜Ahsanmand’ for an entertaining music as people tuck into entres over red, white wine flowing throughout the night.

Rajeev Tandon relating Binaca Geetmala days

Mazhar the poet in Mike Hamidi remembers ‘her’ in his couplets of all what she said in the good old days of his youth

It is an interactive evening as people come forward to relate some interesting anecdotes on the good old days of beautiful Waheeda Rehman and Guru Dutt. We are transported into an era of famous numbers Suhas singing a medley ”˜Chandan Sa Badan, Jiya le gayo ri mora sawanriya’ ”˜zindagibhar nahi bhholego wo barsaat ki raat’ ”“ yes it is a night that the singers make sure we will not forget.

Rachna has in store for us with her ”˜Ghum ka khazana tera bhi hai mera bhi’ a highlight as Manju Mittal and Tufeeq sit in a romantic randez-vous voicing Gulzar’s dialogues to add to the romantic mood of the evening. To Rachna’s ”˜Aaj jaane ki zid na karo’ people insist on an evening with a ”˜zid’ not to go as she obliges all with ”˜Yu hasraton ke daagh’ and Suhas with ”˜Chhupa lo yu dil me pyar mera’ and ”˜Bhooli hui yaadon’. The night has people come forward to dance to numbers such as ”˜Ai meri zohra zabeen’, surely men and women remembering their youth, their college years of romance, of excitement, a reminder when all those memories came pouring in. Rachna with her ”˜Dama Dam mast Kalandar’ has all on the floor dancing away.

Sai Creative Arts   Network (SCREAN Australia) presented Jashn-e-Ghazal with organiser Manju Mittal thanking the sponsors and supporters and the media for an enchanting evening when music, musicians, the audience, the accompanist in Sayed Sarshar switching between Sarod and Harmonium live, Ali Sarshar on Keyboard, Abhijit Dan on Tabla, Sadiq Rehmani on Guitar, Abdul and Mehndi Sajwani managing the sound, it was truly an enjoyable evening on all fronts, a complete package, one from the audience commented.

One regret though, that Manju and Taufeeq’s dialogues could not be heard properly, a pity really, sound engineer should note that the music should go back into the background so that we could hear their dialogues. Concept was good, Rachna superb only   the conversation with ”˜Ghum ka Khazana’ was a bit hard to hear. Another little Afsos: Can the audience keep quiet when the artists are singing as a mark of respect to them. (Understand that Covid had everyone under lockdown and thus the chirpy crowd, but!)


Suhas makes a talented singer of Sydney scene, quite loved by his devoted fans whereas Rachna mesmerizes with her soothing voice. God has given her a set of vocal chords most unique making her an excellent ghazal singer of the calibre in the league of greats such as Reshma and Abida Parveen, someone who was introduced into singing by her mum Dr. Kumud Saxena and Guru, Lata Prabhune from a young age of eight. Sydneysiders are thankful that Rachna made Sydney her home, a singer we all are quite proud to have.

From L to R: Taufeeq Ahmed Shaikh, Ali Sarshar, Sayed Sarshar, Manju mittal, suhas Mahajan, Rachna bhatnagar, Sadiq Rehmani, Mehndi Sajwani and Abhijit Dan

To Manju Mittal, Suhas and Rachna, it was indeed a great evening!

Pics Kamal Khajuria 0402 487 576


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