Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Pancham Relive 2008 in Singapore

In every man’s life, there comes a time when his reputation, stature, skills and performance reaches nadir. This person was no exception either – his consecutive 23 movies crashed at the box office and people who stood by him all his life started deserting him. When he learnt that Nav-Ketan banner with whom he and his father had done every movie, too have decided to shift loyalties, he kept his ego aside and reached for Dev Saab and pleaded not to discard him. However, Dev Saab was unmoved by sentimentality. Soon he was all alone by himself compounded further by his cardiac ill health. That was the time, he remembered the advice his father gave him ‘When things are down and out, immerse yourself in creativity. That creation will bring people back to you’. During the time of convalescence, he created nearly 2000 tunes.
This story and few others narrated by Harish Bhimani during ‘All Instrumental’ performance Pancham Relive 2008 brought out some of the unknown facets of Pancham. This was not just an event by motley group of performing artists who belted RD music but by his own team members worked with him – some over many decades. It does require a courage to make an Indian Bollywood concert without any vocal singers. This was never done before and that too on a foreign soil. Nevertheless, Nitin Shankar and his team proved that the legacy of RD’s creation can only be show-cased through musical instrument orchestration and in a theater, whose engineering acoustics befits the status and talent of Pancham music.

There must be something special for Pancham’s team to try something novel after 15 years of his death.However, once we saw their passion and listen to the compositions, the answer was evident. Pancham’s musical orchestration brings the best of every instrument and every musician loves that prominence. At Esplanade, Manohari da was there with Nitin Shankar, Kanchabhai, Suraj Sathe, Shyaam Raj, Kishorsodha. But the special recognition was always for Manohari Da who at 77 displayed lungpower that would make any young man nervous. Its amazing that this legendary musician came to RD after being with S D Burman, Salil Da. It was incredible experience as he played saxophone and yet kept a close watch on the movements of other musicians. Euphony gives a great introduction of this team.

For Nitin Shankar and his team , it must have been an arduous task to choose songs for this 'All Instrument Concert' but they did a fabulous job. As I listened to instruments amidst some of the whistle blowing and feet tapping audience, one thing became obvious that we often do not pay enough attention to the music that accompanies between two verses of the song. This happens as our focus is on storyline that moves during that phase. This must be testing time for most Music directors who have to sacrifice their musical purity for the sake of a movie. However, this concert brought the Pancham’s sheer musical genius in the very phase that is often ignored. Songs of ‘ Lekar Hum Diwana Dil ’ , 'shaan' brought out this facet vividly.

This was also the first time Shalimar Title Track was played on the stage. Nitin Shankar explained the difficulties in devising this number that was created by Kersi Lord but they wanted to give their best at this concert . Medley of Hum Kisise Kam Nahin is still the benchmark for the longest song in Bollywood and listening to this medley played by RD’s own team led by Manohari da was an enriching experience.

Now few things about Esplanade Theater. Long ago, discovery channel did a documentary on this master architecture and during my subsequent visit to Singapore; I had bought the tickets to witness children choir just to feel the ambiance of this great theater. Little did I imagine then that I would be listening to RD scores in this theater that is considered as one of the best in the world. The beauty of this 1600 seat concert hall is the acoustic perfection. The hall does not have speakers positioned in different places .They use reverberation chambers combined with acoustic curtains and circular acoustic canopy. Result is every musical note is distinct but without any specific origin. I am sure RD too must have delighted to hear his music played in such top class auditorium. Some numbers from the concert that still echo in my mind are Kata Laga, Hum Kisise Kum Nahin -medley, Zamane ko Dikhana hain – Dil Lena Khel hain Dildar ka ,Yadoon Ki Barat – Lekar hum diwana Dil ,Mela – Gori Ke Haton Mein , Kati Patang – Yah jo Mohabbat Hain
p.s: Here is a post from Niketan :
Milind , Thanks for the review. I was lucky to be involved with the show. you have captured the mood of the show very well. I am sure you have enjoyed the show. A few things to add to this:
The audience were simply blown away with the songs. For most of the songs the musicians had to repeat the tunes - due to the Once more from the audience. The audience simply could not have enough of the music. During the intermission and after the show, everybody were raving about the show. The most moving portion was when Harish Bhimani introduced Manohari-da. The entire audience rose to their feet and gave him a long standing ovation. Dada in all simplicity bowed before everybody and gestured to them to sit down.Some of my American and European colleagues had come to see the show. Even they enjoyed it. Nitin-da mentioned this was the first time an instrumental concert was held outside India.Kudos to the Organizers, sponsors and others who made this landmark event a reality.
One hopes for more Pancham events in Singapore

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Anonymous Sagar Kopardekar said...

Really Great efforts man! And this effent happend at Esplanade theatre?? Wow!! Surely this is one of the best theatre with great acoustics....off course I have heard and read about it only. And here, you actually experienced it and that too with Pancham's Magical numbers. I envy you for that.
Keep it up!
Sagar Kopardekar

9:25 AM  
Anonymous srishant shetty said...

This wud have been one hell of a show for all RD fans. Can we get a DVD of
this concert by an chance.

Please let me know. Why are these kind of shows not held in India?

Would appreciate a reply on acquiring a copy of this concert, if there is
one availabe on sale.


9:27 AM  
Anonymous Dhruv Chowdhary said...

Reply to srishant .
These kind of shows are held in India and by the same musicians
mentioned too. They are usually organised by members of this very
group. Please check past messages. Of course, we don't have
auditoriums like the one in Singapore.

9:28 AM  

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