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Sonu Nigam-Neha Kakkar Show Binds Boston Audiences In A Spell

Shuchita Rao
04/18/2019

Around midnight, on the rainy evening of Friday, April 12, 2019, there were smiles on every music lover’s face as they left the DCU Centre in Worcester, Mass. Celebrated pop stars Sonu Nigam and Neha Kakkar backed by a team consisting of over twentyfive orchestra musicians and crew members had just finished presenting a multi-media show with old and new Bollywood hit songs for over three hours to an audience of over 4,000 New Englanders.

The Bollywood song show started shortly after 8pm with a couple songs rendered by Vibhor Parashar, one of top 14 singers of the popular singing reality show Indian Idol. His songs were toe-tapping, rhythmic numbers that set the stage for the main performers, Neha and Sonu. Then, Neha Kakkar introduced as the most followed artist on Instagram (21.9 million followers) appeared on stage amidst a glitzy laser light show with video snippets of songs “Ladki Beautiful”, “Pila De” and “Aashiq Banaya Apne” projected on a giant backdrop screen. “It is so good to be here. It is my responsibility to share my happiness with you by singing Pyaar Bhare songs (songs filled with love) straight from my heart” said a cheerful and gregarious Neha who was dressed in a sporty black top, trendy jeans and a colorful, red, black and white chequered jacket.  It was clear that Neha came from a musically talented family when she sang a few songs composed by her brother Tony Kakkar and a song from the movie Queen that she had sung with her sister, the popular singer, Sonu Kakkar.  Neha excelled at engaging the audience with interactive dialog, songs, dance and infectious energy on stage. Yet another Indian Idol star, Kunal Pandit along with Vibhor Parashar joined Neha in singing songs such as “Ladki Beautiful” and “Main Tera Boyfriend, Tu Meri Girlfriend”. To break the pattern of rhythmic songs, at one point, Neha sang a song that tugged heart-strings “Too kitni acchee hai, too kitni pyaari hai, Oh Ma, Oh Ma”. A young mother sitting next to me rocked a little baby in her arms. Soon it was time for the popular “Kaala Chashma” song where Neha quickly wore dark glasses and engaged in an upbeat Sawaal-Jawaab session with the percussionists, much to the delight of the audience. After singing for almost an hour, Neha introduced her band members before exiting the stage. “There’s no one more entertaining than Neha Kakkar. She is so enterprising, so phenomenal - Singing, dancing and conversing impromptu – she totally rocked the show! I loved her!” said Nikita, the founder of Boston’s Bollywood Dance Academy.

After a short break for setting up the stage, the versatile artist Sonu Nigam appeared on stage in a pearl-white suit, white shoes and a silver hoop in his left ear amidst a grand introduction that created an almost virtual reality kind of atmosphere. Powerful images of racing horses gallopping away at break-neck speed, a loud helicopter charting its way through tall, lighted skyscrapers in an urban city setting were projected on the mega sized backdrop and large monitors suspended from the high ceiling. The quality of surround sound was high quality and pan and zoom camera effects gave members of the audience a feeling of being in an IMAX theatre setting. On seeing Sonu Nigam, Krupa Ramachandra from Shrewsbury, Mass gushed “He’s really cute”. The DCU center officials had a hard time controlling a few fans who had breached security and thronged to the bottom of the stage to greet Sonu. The artist humbly requested them to go back to their seats and they complied with the request. That Sonu Nigam enjoyed a large fan following was very apparent with this incident.  

Sonu warmly greeted the audience in several Indian languages – “Namaste, Sat Sri Akal, Kem Chho” etc... He  began with “Deewana Tera Tujhe Dil Bulaaye” and followed with the songs “Jub se mila hoon tujhse”, Sufi style song “Shukranallah”, “Tumko Dekhe Bina Chain Aata Nahin”.  He embellished the song “Kya Mera Pehla Pehla Pyar Hai” with intricate taans (fast melodic movements) showing his command over classical music. A medley of new and old Bollywood songs followed with the audience getting excited with “Ye Dil Deewana, Deewana Hai Ye Dil”, the soft and romantic song with a distinct Arabic music feel “Mere Haath mein tera haath ho, Sari Jannatein Tere Saath ho”, “Pyar Hua Ikraar hua”, “Aaja Aaja main hoon pyar tera”, “Maria Maria Senorita” with a Spanish flair, melodious numbers like “Kuchh tho log kahenge” and rhythmic numbers such as “Bachna Ai Haseeno, Lo Mai Aa gaya” and the much loved song “Har Ghadi Badal Rahi Hai Roop Zindagi”. People danced in the aisles .“I do not understand Hindi language but I can see actor Shah Rukh Khan when I close my eyes when I hear Sonu sing” said a concert attendee who wished to be anonymous.  

In the song “Mere Sapnon Ki Rani Kub Aayegi tu”, Sonu mimicked the sound of a diesel engine pulling a train brilliantly. The title song of Saathiya movie was rendered flawlessly with terrific flute accompaniment. At one point, Sonu discarded his jacket and showing off his tattooed, muscular arms, he walked rapidly across the entire breadth of the stage, connecting with the audience and winning their hearts with Michael Jackson dance moves. His talent for changing voices and touching high notes added a creative flair to the show.

After 90 minutes, the organizers and some of the sponsors appeared on the stage with Sonu Nigam. Arsh Mehrotra of Aap Ka Manoranjan thanked local sponsors of the show. The grand finale was a well-executed sequential presentation of fast-paced hit songs in a medley by Neha and Sonu. “Laila Main Laila”, “My name is Anthony Gonzales”, “Bijli ki Rani Mai Hoon Aayi”, “Main Hoon Don”, “Hari Om Hari”, “Rumbha Ho”, “Piya ub tho aaja”, “Dum Maaro Dum”, “Ye mera dil pyar ka deewana”, “Meri umar ke naujawaanon” among other songs.

The Sonu Nigam-Neha Kakkar show succeeded on many levels, the most important being the manner in which it enabled the audience to feel connected to modern, cutting-edge, technology trends for stage entertainment shows. The use of sophisticated, technology setup with high quality sound output and vivid, moving images in a large indoor stadium setting was incredibly powerful. Both performers were intelligent, skilled and very capable of entertaining and working up emotions of the large number of attendees, helping them savor the high point of living in the moment and enjoying it to its fullest. The talented accompanying live orchestra, (special mention for the Indian and Western percussionists), kept the momentum high till the very end of the show. Kudos to the artists, Shri Balaji Entertainment who organized the multi-stop US tour for Sonu and Neha, to the Boston chapter investors Aap Ka Manoranjan (Anil and Arsh Mehrotra) and Desai Entertainment, and sponsors such as Godavari Restaurant of Framingham, Alankaar Wedding Planners, Usha’s Beauty Salon and Spa and Sandip Arora of Compass Real Estate.      



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