Sunday, June 17, 2007

The searing divide: butter chicken vs. sambar

Last night, our cohort had gone for the most hyped ‘desi’ concert of the season – A.R. Rahman live in concert (for lack of a better word). Like most ‘desis’, we arrived at the stomping ground, adorned in Indian mood, hankering for delectable desi goodies; mind you, not ambrosial food.

Sign from God about how abysmal the concert was going to be: we hit no traffic; there was no ‘masala chai’ at the buvette; the spinster cousin, ‘medhu vada’, had replaced ‘vada pao;’ and finally, the crowd was niche regional as opposed to just plain desi. We were not being covetable but none of it made sense-- it was close to blasphemy. We were not a fastidious bunch looking for a musical soiree; all we wanted was a musique de concert in a convivial atmosphere, in comprehendible langage with felicitous performers. Is that too much to ask?

A further insight into the evening - the crowd was divided into four groups: Tamilians, wanna be Tamilians (they conversed in Gujarati otherwise but were well-versed with Tamilian numbers. Go figure!), Punjabis, and wanna be Punjabis (people like us who lean more towards bhangra as opposed to gueulard (loud-mouthed) Rajnikant devotees and obstreperous crowd). Even before we got through a quarter of the way, my friends and I were craving ‘Chicken Makhani;’ Sukhwinder Singh’s melodious voice finally brought a smile to our disgruntled faces.

Of all the desi concerts I have been to, last evening’s was truly the worst. Instead of burgeoning into a fun evening, Hari Haran’s cheap improvisations to Rahman’s unenthusiastic, sordid, enervative performance brought the evening dwindling down. His proletariat musical crew lacked the capacity to captivate the showgoers. The musique catered to a very specific audience—clearly, it was not us. Lot of people in there would have appreciated a burlesque more.

A friend made a very pertinent remark: two of her Tamilian friends decided against the concert. For all of us who did not belong there that should have been sign enough. The only person worth a mention was the drummer, whose music coruscated throughout the concert hall.

Here is what I surmise from the erroneous evening: for some reason, most artists prefer to sing Tamil songs with their dark glasses on without realizing that it makes them look odious. In addition, there still is a huge music-based cultural divide amongst Indians; so next time around the organizers should not dupe the audience by calling a regional classical music fest gone shoddy, a concert.

Copyright © 06.17.2007

“I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.” – Oscar Wilde

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

the show was so bad!!!!!

deepa said...

The show started off boring..........the sound system was bad but was a total PAISA WASOOL at the end with maiyya maiyya, rang de basanti , humma humma and Vande mataram.....Actually just for Vande Mataram, I would go all over again . Brilliant perormance. The energy levels were unmatched...........I don't know about others, but I had a great time. AR Rahman is a Music composer, not just a singer or an entertainer. And he has done a brilliant job whether in regional language or national language. I guess, we need more of an open mind for such concerts. Its like going for a Himesh Reshmaya concert , expecting RD Burman music and then being disappointed.

Anonymous said...

because of people like you, idiots like rajnikant become popular...

deepa said...

And why exactly is Rajanikant an idiot? He is one of the biggest stars and spins money like nobody's business and just because you don't like him , does not make him an idiot. Besides, no one else can light a cigarette the way he does......

Jaydeep said...

I guess I should have stayed till the end but the first half was disappointing (except for Chaiya Chaiya). And how can they have 2 shows back to back and perform with the same energy levels. The organizers are to blame.

N said...

okay, I wasn't there for the show so can't argue but rajnikant? you like the way he lights a cigarette? OMG!!! i am sure you like the way he monkeys around with sunglasses. You need better taste girl. stop hanging out with paanwaalis/autowaalas or as us Mumbai people call them 'vadaaris'.

payal said...

'vadaaris'....

heeee. i agree with jaydeep, the organizers were to blame but even the artists were weird. very badly organized concert.

Jayashree said...

Well! AR is a genius and anyone who thinks anything different needs some lessons in music. He is not a stage artist. He is an evolved soul who plays music as a food for the soul. "Language" is never a barrier in his worlds like in most music lovers, so tamil, dravidian or Aryan, there is no questioning Rahman. The sound system was a total downer, but that is not his fault, The energy, the spirit, the 15000 people rising to "Vande Mataram" was an ethereal experience. If you saw Sivamani's sticks creating magic in the air, you had experienced the show in spirit..

Anonymous said...

even i loved Sivamani the drummer. he was magical but I was disappointed in AR. Maybe AR is an artist and not an entertainer but for the money I paid, I need 'paisa vassool' masti and not vulgar dancing from those cheap morons in the crowd who were obnoxious...

deepa said...

this is for N.
Nothing wrong in liking someone who caters to the autorickshawallas. I love Govinda too, he is the original tapori and .........And my tastes ranges from Rajanikanth to Rahul Bose .........Doesn't mean I have to pick one. Everyone has their own style and is a suceess in their respective leagues......And nothing wrong in liking someone who caters to a diff. class.......So.......you don't have to worry about my taste , its time you learn to stop comparing between apples and oranges.

Anonymous said...

Can't say much to people who are jealous of Rajni. Entire country of India and out have the spotlight on him, and he doesn't need to be an ambassador or run behind media for that spotlight. Must make some people burn green with envy.

Coming to the concert, if people are expecting Justin Timberlake or Britney Spears kind of a concert, it doesn't make sense to go to a live Desi concert. You should realize that ARR's songs are national and come in many langauges. Nor are Indian artists out there to dance and shed cloths while lip-synching. If you were expecting all that, you gotta go to that kind of an event.

payal said...

you have it all wrong. you don't have to strip to be good. the energy at the AR concert was sad okay. Have you ever been to any other desi concert? did you go for the asha bhonsle concert a month ago or EVER? she is good even when she sings in marathi or konkani and not just Hindi. damn it she is good and energetic and beautiful, not a cheap performer like hariharan or any of those losers there. AR sings well but cannot entertain. also, other Indian artists can sing and dance and entertain at the same time. you need to get out more and go to more concerts.

deepa said...

The incredibles concert was indeed incredible ........And clearly, the night belonged to Kunal Ganjawala....Selection of songs was excellent. Ashaji was good too, but she would have been better if she stuck to singing her own songs and not Himesh's. Wonder what she was trying to prove, that she is more nasal than Himesh??????

Hariharan is not a cheap performer, he just failed to involve the audience and did not appeal big time to the crowd, that does not make him cheap in any way.....

Anonymous said...

i go to the concert also. i did not enjoy very much but it look like many people have. rediff have very good review of concert. look at
http://specials.rediff.com/movies/2007/jun/18sld1.htm
how many pople agree this reporter is right?

s said...

everyone has their own opinion. i did not enjoy the concert and that's my final answer.