Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Pongal with Hariharan

The last time I heard Hariharan live was in Madras during the 'Colonial cousins' concert, almost a decade ago. Times of India had organized this brilliant concert as part of their Pongal celebrations at Bandra Fort's open auditorium on Sunday evening.
Pongal concert, Hariharan... hmm but will he be singing tamizh songs? This was my doubt even as I stood in the long queue from 6pm for a 7 o clock concert. The moment I saw a lot of Pattu-p-podavaias, right mookuttis, a man with THE HINDU paper, "jaldi-aa vaa" aunty, a lakshanam girl saying "latha perimmavai vara cholren"[kindly note the Mumbai-tam-influenced-by-Palakkadu Kameshwaran accent], I knew he was going to sing a lot of tamizh numbers.

Our star RJ, Anmol was the host for the evening. The whole of last week, another tam colleague and I rehearsed his tamizh lines with him. The show started with Anmol wishing everyone "Pongal-o-Pongal", offering Hariharan a bit of Karumbu to see if his teeth were still intact :) Oh ya, I had my...rather my name had its one second of fame on stage with Anmol thanking his tamizh colleagues for our valuable tamizh sevai.

Hariharan started the concert with 'Nila Kaaigiradu...', moved to 'Ennai taalatta varuvalo', 'Manjal veyyil', a few ghazals, 'Chaie chapp Chaie', 'Yaadein' 'Roja Janeman' - He even got the audience to sing "Roooooooooja" bit along him.

The moment Hariharan mentioned Illayaraja, Harris Jeyaraj - one could hear semma whistles
Hariharankku O podunga from the crowd. During the time between two songs, this playback singer friend with me suddenly screamed "Poi sollakoodaadu... pleasee". Hariharan replied with a"Poi sonnengala?" and immediately sang a few lines from this hit song from Run. Though this song was not part of his songlist for the day, those two lines made my friend's day coz from the time I mentioned Hariharan's concert, the one question she kept asking for days was if Hariharan would sing "Poi sollakoodadu" .

The much awaited 'Vaaji vaaji' followed amidst loud "Once more"s; then came 'Kurukku siruttavalae','Pachai Nirame'... Hariharan concluded the concert with 'Bharat humko' - the Hindi version of Tamizha Tamizha. Would have loved it if he had sung the tamizh version which is more powerful - lyrics and renditionwise.

Half an hour into the concert and one could hear the audience cheer for someone who entered the auditorium then. It was Shankar Mahadevan, the special invitee! Shankar was invited on stage during the break by the organizers and he sang a few lines from the title track of Taare zameen par. Hariharan and Shankar Mahadevan on the same day at the same concert! Wow, what more could one have asked for? Sweeter than Chakkara pongal I say!
Most often, when I watch all me-too playback singers on TV/ stage- Haricharan, Saindavi, Madhumitha, Vinaya, Chinmayi and the likes [ who are seen more often judging / hosting song based shows than playback singing ], I am simply appalled by the abaswaram. These are fit to sing only within the four walls of a studio doing retake after retake. Despite the classical singing background most of them claim to have, none of these can create the magic a Hariharan /S P B/ Shankar Mahadevan or an Usha Uthup create on stage. These me-too playback singers should learn from stalwarts like Hariharan on the basics of singing on stage - clear pitching!

Hariharan left the audience- from a Bandra Sandra, Powai paaji to a Matunga mami & Chembur mama longing for more at the end of the two and a half hour concert with his masaledaar mix of ghazals, hindi numbers and tamizh paatus. I hope Times of India comes up with a Shankar Mahadevan - tamizh songs special for April 14th! That would be one concert I wouldn't want to miss!

Pongal vaazhtukkal to everyone. Pongal-O-Pongal!

9 Responses:

Teesu (very very Indian, very very good) said...

I would love to attend a concert of one of these uruppidi singers with u Ms. B...the Usha Uthup show at IIT around 13 years ago is fresh in my memory because of the wonderful company and the whole, general ambience, not to mention the singer herself! What a wonderful time. You kalakku with your posts now...missed them for a while there.

Karthik Sriram said...

I have attended a hariharan show and a show by karthik here in Tampa and I should say as an entertainer, karthik simply rocked!!


maxdavinci said...

hariharan saar was at our univ for a ghazal program, and it was for our AID chapter.

It was a ghazal atmosphere accompanied by talas, violins and harmoniums. Even he was dressed in a kurta with a beard and looked 20yrs older.

I was MCing and a lot of tamil families had requested me backstage. I went and told him during the break and he asked me in tamil which my fav song was.

Without any preparation the second half was full of tamizh and hindi songs and yea he did mention my name and sing 'nila kagiradhu'.

The percussionists couldn't keep up with them, and he sang a lot of songs wiithout any moosik! It was a wonderful evening from a very humble and gifted maestro!

D LordLabak said...

I remember the colonial cousins concert. That was great. Remember S is my letter.

ILA (a) இளா said...

Good to read from the blogs and happenings.. பொங்கல் நல்வாழ்த்துக்கள்!

Anonymous said...

good coverage in your usual shtylee..

//a lakshanam girl saying "latha perimmavai vara cholren//
LOL :)

moneykandaan said...

nice article...really i missed the programme....(mani...pavam blog mammi...so no jealous...).BLOGESWARIKUM,BLOGESWARI RASIKARKALUMKUM(hehehe...)ENATHU PONGAL NALVAZHTHUKAL!.

Anonymous said...

hey....... poi sollakudadhu!
i was singing that song in churchgate while walking with your playback singer friend and she told me about the concert and her request!!!!

i Liked your radio mirchi stuff forwarded... woh haseena woh neelam pari... aama... tananananaa !! lol

Anonymous said...

***Would have loved it if he had sung the tamizh version which is more powerful - lyrics and renditionwise.***

Absolutely!!! :-)

first time to your blog..google reader suggestion.

The colonial cousins concert in madras - I was there too...until I saw your blog I had actually completely forgotten about it. man, semma concert adhu! and recently Hariharan once polandhu kattinar during the ARR Live in Washington DC.

and of course innum ekkachekka videos irukku - on youtube.. check 'em out... Orrre the pull arichings dhan :)