Geet, Ghazal Aur Quawali By Bangkok Residents of India

This is Gayathri, filling in for Nidhi and totally honored to be allowed into the realm of the “nidhiramblers" Blog!

So what do a group of people do when they want to organize a Geet, Ghazal Aur Quawalli evening, the main intent being to provide a platform for at least a few of the many talented residents of Bangkok, people who have demonstrated their sincere dedication and interest in music by developing a sound classical music foundation and taking their singing to a greater level of melody and perfection? Well, what they do is meet up for a thali meal and coffee at Sri Ganesh. Seriously. You know how all of the cultural advances in France happened in the little coffee places? Similar. There is something about a truly good cup of coffee and unpretentious environs that brings out the best in people, intellectually and emotionally. So that’s what the three of us, Tara, Viji and I did. Met at Sri Ganesh and planned.

And what a brilliant evening it was, if I say so myself. When you have singers of the caliber of Tara, Viji, Shyamlee, Ashok Khullar, Rakesh, Aruni and Ravinder, instrumental accompaniment by the likes of Ashok Khullar, Aslam Parvez and Shripad Rajguru, the dynamic wit of Ajay Bhatt, a sell out auditorium with an audience all set to have a good time, and a “gopher” like yours truly, you sure have it all made for an absolutely scintillating evening. The major hitch to getting such an event going in all these years has been the lack of a Bangkok based group of accompanists who could provide the instrumental support for such a program. This gap was recently filled by the presence of Ashok Khullar, Aslam Parvez and Sripad Rajguru who are masters on the synthesizer and the tabla.

The evening started off with Kaahe Tarasaye by Tara and Viji, from the movie Chitralekha, a song that was a salute to the brilliant composers and lyricists of a bygone era. Then a fast paced taraana in Raag Janasamohini by Viji, Tara, Aruna, and Ravinder. Aruna’s soulful rendering of Jagjit Singh’s ghazal, Kaun Kehta Hai, was much appreciated. I remember hearing Aruna as a school going teenager.Her voice had that magical quality even then, the sweetness that reaches out to the listener. Gurmeet’s Bahon Mein Chale Aao from Anamika and Lag Ja Gale from Woh Kaun Thi were wonderful. The clarity and reach in her singing is indeed a precious gift from the Almighty and is something to be nurtured. It was a pleasant surprise to meet Rakesh who has not been on the musical radar as we know it! He has this deep voice that lends itself so well to the emotional content of our film music. And how beautifully emotional are our songs, well, at least most of them! He sang Kitna Hasin Chehra and Sochenge Tumhe Pyaar from Diwana.
Ravinder and Ashok Khullar’s Ude Jab Jab Julfein from Naya Daur was a treat and brought on some nostalgia for the innocence of the time where love was portrayed with a measure of awe and wonder. Shyamlee is a very accomplished artist with a stage presence to match. Her easy and confident Mere Mehboob Na Ja from Noor Mahal and Pyaar Do Pyaar Lo from JaanBaaz were so easy on the ear and heart. Viji and Ravinder’s Tum Ko Piya from Shikari was vibrant and got the audience going. Tara’s melodious and soft voice was just perfect for Hum Pyaar Mein Jalne Walon Ko from Jailer and Tere Sur Aur Mere Geet from Goonj Uti Shehnai. Seene Mein Jalan, a song from the movie Gaman, was sung by Askok Khullar. The depth of his voice and style of singing enhanced the quality of this meaningful and profound song. So also with Sanso Ko Sanso that he performed with Aruna, from the movie Hum Tum. Kajra Mohabbat Wala is a such a romantic song full of lovely nuances and subtle suggestions, that it brings on an immediate smile. Viji and Ravinder added the joie de vivre required in the projection of this song from Kismet as also Babuji Dheere Chalna from Aar Paar, sung by Viji. The quawali, Nigahein Milane Ko from Dil Hi to Hai is a brilliant composition that energizes and Viji, Tara, Aruna, Gurmeet and Ravinder did just that.
The grand finale was a fast-paced medley with all the singers on stage. The selections ranging from Aajkal Tere Mere Pyar Ke Charche to Aaj Ki Raat from Don were beautifully rendered with precision and fun.
The evening’s program was made particularly enjoyable due to the presence of Ajay Bhatt, a witty and humorous resident of Bangkok. He had the audience in splits with his apt poetry and fun-filled comments.
The artists of the evening appeared in scintillating costumes that added a dimension of glamour that Hindi cinema is always associated with.

It is truly amazing to see the varied talents that exist within this community of the so-called NRIs. It is such a sad statement that we get labeled “Non Residents” when our thoughts of home and everything associated with it, including the Bollywood factor, resides within each of us.

What has to be appreciated is the spontaneous response of friends and family and music–loving community who came and supported the event. The Ambassador of India to Thailand, Her Excellency Madam Latha Reddy, The Ambassador of Pakistan to Thailand, His Excellency Mr. Mir Hussain Bakhsh Bangulzai and Madam Ambassador graciously attended the occasion and their presence was a true encouragement to the organizers and artists. It takes many hours of logistical organization and practice sessions for such an event to take concrete shape. But what makes it all worthwhile is the oneness that music brings with it, the feeling of comfort that these tunes bring with them, the sense of being distanced from the rigors of daily schedules, and the warmth that thoughts of times spent in the movie theaters back home bring with them. The families of the people involved in this program have been just wonderful in offering the affectionate support and confidence in the abilities and talents of their dear ones. And for this we express our heartfelt appreciation, each and every one of us.

Khun Kong Mangkornkarn who loves Indian music and attends our programs regularly has kindly shared the pictures he has taken of the days event. Please log onto the web site below: to see the slide show.

He says:
'I did not use flash to disturb the artists so the pictures are not vivid like the flash one but it does render a very natural colour like what we experienced in the hall.'

The pictures below are coursey: Khalid.

( It is great that you are given a 'short and crisp' coverage of the event very ably by Gayathri! I hope this will be a permanent feature in the future! Thanks Gayathri, I am equally honored!)


Maggie said…
As a British person who lived and worked in India over 20 years ago, I was delighted to be invited to another wonderful evening of Indian music. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and only wish I understood all the jokes! The music and singing was superb and the clothing was beautiful. I hope we have many more musical evenings like this one!
Shipra Srihari said…
I have been enjoying the updates I receive from your blog, Uncle, and as always I love to hear about what you guys are up to. Aunty, you looked pretty glamorous singing at the ghazal evening! Wish I could've been there to hear you sing.
Satish Gadagkar said…
The report and the slides are also very good.
Thanks for keeping me informed.
Dolly Khogar said…
Hello Nidhi ji,
So you missed Tara's perfomance a la Asha Bhonsle complete with glittering saree and lipstick!!!

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