Transforming audience to fans
by Rtn. Vidyut Shenoy
IFRM stands for International Fellowship of Rotarian Musicians. (The author Rtn. Vidyut Shenoy is the Core-Committee member of its Dist. 3190 Chapter).
IFRM Dist 3190 chose the redoubtable Indian singing icon Mohammad Rafi’s 31st death anniversary to put up an event showcasing his songs. Chairman Rtn. Manoj Agarwal and IFRM India’s Regional Director Rtn. Nagesh Sidhanti worked tirelessly behind the scenes to arrange ‘Meri Awaaz Suno‘, an event named after one of Rafi Sahab’s everlasting numbers.
The packed auditorium at the Rotary House of Friendship on a Sunday evening was testimony to the Mohammad Rafi legacy and popularity of his songs. Given that there were 5 other similar events in the city at the same time, the sellout audience at Rotary House of Friendship was music to the organizers’ ears.
The balmy evening got kicked off with a documentary on Mohammad Rafi’s life and achievements. Though most images therein were in black and white, the melodies and information presented added significant colour. It was a masterful stroke on part of the organizers to set the tone for the evening.
Rtn Sidhanti, who doubled as the evening’s MC, welcomed the audience. He shared the angst of having to leave out from the evening’s play list, many from Rafi’s huge repertoire. The significant challenge was overcome by using featured heroes as a parameter to choose songs for the evening’s presentation. A giant Rafi Sahab caricature smiled indulgently from the stage. MC Nagesh ensured the audience was on its toes by announcing that the evening would have a running quiz, with CDs for those who answered questions. IFRM members were requested to refrain from answering.
Meanwhile, Ahmed and his orchestra readied themselves to put forth a melodious evening. Acclaimed singer Roshan presented the evening’s first song ‘Nazar Na Lag Jaaye‘ from Night in London. The crowd enjoyed it thoroughly and got involved instantly.
Shifting track, a hyperactive Aniket and Rumana enthralled the audience by enacting the melodious proposal, ‘Tere Ghar Ke Saamne‘. Yaseen lived up to his reputation with an outstanding ‘Aaj mausam bada‘.
Aniket continued his Dev Anand romance with the racy ‘Jiyo ho jiya ho jiya kuch bol do‘. Roshan brought Dharmendra and Dilip Kumar to the stage with back to back numbers ‘Chalka ye jaam‘ and ‘Madhuban mein Radhika‘. The percussionist Mr. Gopal accredited himself with a wonderful solo immediately thereafter.
Could Gurudutt have remained hidden while all this happened? Not a chance. Yaseen brought them alive by crooning one of Rafi Saab’s most celebrated ghazals ‘Chaudhavin ka Chand Ho‘.
While this was happening, Mehmood was getting ready to jump on stage proclaiming that colour had nothing to do with love. And as Aniket started reminiscing, Mehmood was on stage gyrating to ‘Hum Kaale Hain to Kya Hua Dilwale Hain‘. All thanks to Rtn. Chandramouli.
Roshan and Rumana took it upon themselves to pay tribute to Rafi Sahab with the duet ‘Woh Jab Yaad Aaye’ from Laxmikant Pyarelal’s debut film Parasmani.
Yaseen then brought spring into the proceedings with ‘Aane Se Uske Aaye Bahaar‘. And Aniket went rosy eyed with ‘Gulabi Aankhen Jo Teri Dekhi‘.
Rotarians’ Annes, Annetes and guests were enjoying the evening. Dist.Governor (DG) Pandurang Potnis chose the event to take a well deserved break from the hectic July schedule. We are sure that the evening provided our DG with just the right dose of melody. IFRM was honoured with his presence and made him an honorary fellowship member. DG Potnis inducted 3 new members. Past DG Yogananda too inducted 3. Past DG Prabha Shankar was also at the forefront of the audience.
After this brief interval, it was time for IFRM to take stage. IFRM member Vidyut Shenoy sang the evergreen ‘Jawaniyan Yeh Mast Mast bin Piye‘.
But the professionals were not done yet. Aniket and Rumana turned on a new leaf with ‘Patta Patta‘ from the Amitabh starrer ‘Ek Nazar‘. Next, Roshan politely wondered if Gods were watching with ‘Khuda bhi aasmaan se‘. And Yaseen had an issue with the veil and belted it out with ‘Parda Hai Parda‘.
By now the evening had got the audience on its feet. Spontaneous dances erupted in the aisles and added colour to an already spirited evening.
IFRM member Shreedhar Morab had been waiting for just this moment. He came up with the wondrous ‘An evening in Paris‘ and got the audience well and truly going. A ‘Hats on’ performance shall we say?
The Paris tryst continued with Roshan and Rumana combining for ‘Raat Ke Humsafar‘.
The audience’s request for an encore by IFRM member Vidyut was met with the foot tapping ‘Huye Hain Tumpe Aashiq Hum‘.
By now the audience would have had their heads spinning in wonderment. It was the perfect setting for IFRM member Sanjay Koppikar’s thirsty solicitation ‘Sar Jo Tera Chakraaye‘. Audience members acted out the move sequence in the aisles giving each other a head massage.
Aniket provided a fitting finale to the evening with the duet ‘Sa Re Ga Ma‘ from the movie ‘Chupke Chupke‘ which he sang all by himself.
The evening served to partially quench the audience’s thirst for melody and spirits. It got over all too quickly. IFRM promised to return with more programs in the near future. It was certainly a most enjoyable evening, as DG Potnis heartily agreed.
They came in as an audience and left as fans looking forward to more events. The stage is now set for many more melodious events.
Way to go IFRM!