Music 'poured' last week.

It has been raining in Bangkok. Similarly, the normally arid Indian cultural scenario in Bangkok was drenched in music last week. No matter it was all Bollywood! First, it was the program arranged by our precious friends Viji and Khalid. (Precious: highly valued, much loved, or considered to be of great importance-- I quote from MSN dictionary!). They sponsored a concert of Roshan and Ritvik, physically challenged artists from Bangalore.

It was arranged in style to introduce these artists and to encourage them. It was compered competently by Viji's sister Rajani. Rajani helps deserving artists through an organisation called 'Good Deeds'. There were two more artists Satish Govindan and Smriti who added variety and some Bollywood style dancing, nice and subdued. Our very popular Indian ambassdor H.E. Latha Reddy was gracious to be present for the whole evening.

We had excellent snacks and dinner at the Novotel, courtesy, the hosts. The music began almost on time and we had some nostalgia of old classics and also modern music to please the young at heart. You should have seen them dancing! The older brother Roshan was blind and sang very well. It was really endearing to see his smile, it was radiant and with genuine pleasure. His brother also blind was even more challenged, his mother had to hold the mike for him. He also sang well and was innovative. To the uninitiated like me, they said singing along a track was very tough and that these two did very well.

But to me and all of us, the most important and significant part of the whole evening was to see and meet the admirable mother of these two boys. She was smiling all the time and exuded extremely positive energy. She had every right to be be sad and melancholy. But she had not succumbed to depression after being dealt with such a cruel blow from fate. It touched our heart and also gave us a lesson about facing life squarely in spite of what it chooses to throw at us as a challenge.

Our thanks and gratitude to Viji and Khalid who gave us a glimpse of how the physically challenged have overcome their problems. We did have worries, how will they cope with the very competitive field of film music? Understand they are learning classical music as well. But we felt that with mother around, the boys will do well and keep their success in a proper perspective and not get carried away. They released a CD of their music at the concert and we wish them well. (Roshan Rajan, a postgraduate student from Bangalore, who was participating with his brother Ritvik Rajan: "Both my brother and I have been singing right from childhood. I have learnt Hindustani classical music and can play the violin and the organ. My brother and I perform at many concerts together").

( I would like to insert a comment from Viji, I had asked for some details and sent a copy of my blog for her to see! I love blogging because it is so easy to add and edit! "Dear Nidih, the name of the girl is Smriti. thanks for the very balanced review of the evening by Roshan and Ritvik. U forgot to mention the food which was excellent and the VIP reception I had organised for my guests at the entrance. The name of the organisation is Good Deeds (for whatever it is worth) and they believe in having fun along with some serious work i guess. viji". I like the new spelling of my name! Ramesh (Khendry) would be pleased with the compliments his catering staff have received.)

The evening at the Rembrandt Hotel was attended by a larger group. Sponsored by Indian Council of Cultural Relations, it was hosted by The Indian Embassy and a host of Indian -Thai elite organisations! I knew Penaz Masani as a Ghazal singer, but surprisingly this was a program of Bollywood music and what could be modern dance. The Ghazals, which Penaz was gracious to sing were nice and the dances, whatever type it was, were well choreographed ! Interestingly the boys and girls wore almost similar looking dresses in many of the dances and only difference was that the boys were bare chested! Penaz led us through the program with practiced charm and smile. Her language was too syrupy, matched the gulab jamoons we had at the interval break.
Honestly I expected a better show. The stage was too small and the people at the back could not see the lower part of the stage! I am not really a judge of music and I know she has talent, but I felt that she was too busy bonding rather than singing!

I wonder in which category did ICCR place the music and specially its modern dance when they approved its tour to South East Asia. If they are still at it, eventhough I hate the word Bollywood, I can suggest 'Bollyangra' or 'Bolly-natyam' or 'Bollypuri' or 'Bollyattam'. If they ask me I would prefer one of the last two! Regards Bolly music, I leave it to others who are more into music! May be I should invite Khalid to suggest.


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