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Yeh Shaam Mastani

Siraj Khan

For those who were present at the India Center, Shrewsbury on that mastaani shaam of March 21st, spring was welcomed heartily on a very musical and cheerful note. The local Saptaswar music group, maintained its tradition of coming out with yet another vibrant musical event – this time remembering composer RD Burman, through some his popular compositions which have made him eternal.

Raghu Saranathan kicked off the program with Kishore’s O Mere Dil Ke Chein. The peppy song that it is, it set the right tone for the evening. That was followed by the slow romantic Kuch na Kaho from RDB’s last film 1942-Love Story, which had also fetched him the posthumous Filmfare Award in 1994. Krithika’s rendition was superb and she surely has added a breath of fresh air in to Boston’s music community. The effect of the meeting of two long lost brothers of Yaadon ki Baraat was captured well by Raghu and Vinay Mishra. The latter sprung literally from the audience and ran up to the stage to hug (and then sing) with (his stage brother) Raghu. I really liked the way Sudha Rao and Vinay retained the lilt and naughtiness of the duet Yeh Ladka Hai Allah Kaisa Hai Deewana. The audience cheerfully joined in with the beat. Normally, it would not have been easy to capture the audience attention with melancholy at this stage, but Vinay did a marvelous job with Mere Naina Sawan Bhadon from Mehbooba. Sudha nd Raghu then  came together first time on stage that evening to sing the romantic Gum hai kisi ke pyar mein. That was sheer magic which held the crowd spellbound for a few minutes.

I doubt whether RDB has composed another song which is packed with so many bad wishes than Anamika tu bhee tarse. Vinay replicated that beautiful Kishore number very well. At that point I thought it would be rather difficult to change the mood, but Rahgu did that almost effortlessly with the evening’s title song Yeh Shaam Mastaani, one of Kishore’s evergreen and immortal hits from Kati Patang. One could close the eyes and visualize Rajesh Khanna doing what only he could do on the screen.  

Rahul Bhardwaj made only made a few appearances but his stage presence was an high-impact one. His free-wheeling style was amplified well in Do Lafzon Ki Hai Meri Kahani and Duniya Mein Logon Ko, both sung with Sudha – the latter song got people jumping out of their chairs and it was then, perhaps for the first time, I felt that RDB was present in that hall somewhere. Raghu rolled out two more Kishore solos with Hume tumse pyar hai kitna and Chala jaata hoon kisi ki dhun mein. The clever yodeling in the latter was an absolute delight and sent the audience into splits. Duets dominated the evening and Chura Liya Hai by Vinay/Krithika and Ek Mein aur Ek Tu by Raghu/Krithika were well delivered and fitted appropriately in the songs sequence. I thought it was interesting to plug in two early hits of RDB from Teesri Manzil back-to-back towards the tail-end of the evening. O Haseena Zulfon Wali and O Mere Sona Re did what they were meant to do – add that extra spark and momentum to steer the evening towards closure. All the singers then combined together on stage for the medley. No RDB event can possibly be complete without Bill Clinton’s favorite Bollywood track Monica Oh My Darling and Dum Maro Dum. Both were cleverly welded together to bring the concert to a close.

I doubt whether the singers would have come off with such sterling performances, had the accompanying music been of any lesser quality. Christy Mathew’s wizardry on the keyboard was obvious from the very first song. In fact, his improvisation on some of the musical interludes was extremely creative. Hiral and Harshal provided the robust beat and rhythm, an essential component of literally every RDB composition. Karthik’s guitar blended in well, wherever it was required. I thought saree-clad Swathi Subramanyam held the evening together judiciously with her grace, charm and wit. Dedications, which on occasions, can sometimes slow down the tempo of such events, were handled aptly by her and, in fact, provided the fun element to the evening.

Events of this quality cannot possibly be conducted by the effort of just one or two people. The entire team of Saptaswar, ably directed Mohan Somasundaran, deserve a big pat on the back to provide the listeners with clean and pure entertainment. For a ticket of $10 per person, one cannot expect a better value for money deal, in these tough economic times.  

Many thanks to both the volunteers and the sell-out crowd for their support.  Apologies to those music lovers who had to be turned away.  Hope to see all of them all for the next Saptaswar program.

This program was partially sponsored by Mr. Bhaskar Joshi (Bombay Bazaar, Westborough, MA; Phone: 508.836.2229) who provided complimentary food.

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