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Avijit Sarkar channels Talat Mehmood. SHYAMAL BHATIA reports
One of the first songs that comes to mind when one thinks of Talat Mahmood is Jalte hain jiske liye and so it was no surprise when Avijit Sarkar opened his concert “Life and Music of Talat Mahmood” with this lilting melody from the film Sujaata. Story has it that the composer S D Burman originally intended to get Mohammad Rafi to sing the song but his assistant Jaidev suggested that Talat Mahmood’s velvety voice would be better suited to the song. Whether true or not, there is no denying the fact that the song has become immortal and has immense appeal to audiences across several generations. Such is the magic of Talat Mahmood.
Talat Mahmood was known to be a soft spoken gentleman, a man with a distinctive mellow voice, stylish vocal expression and unparalleled emotional nuances in his singing. These are qualities also possessed by Avijit Sarkar which he proved once again on the evening of the 26th of May by presenting in his voice a range of songs originally sung by Talat in the 1950s and 1960s.
Avijit’s selection of songs for the evening highlighted Talat’s versatility in singing. He covered a cross section of styles: ghazals, slow romantic songs as well as fast, peppy numbers composed by a range of music directors of that generation such as:
Anil Biswas (Aye dil mujhe aisi – Arzoo; Rahi matwale -Waris), Naushad (Milte hi aakhen – Babul), Salil Choudhry (Aasoon samajh ke and Itna na mujhse -Chhaya; Raat ne kya kya – Ek Gaon Ki Kahani), Madan Mohan (Phir wohi shaam – Jahan Ara; Berehem aasmaan – Bahana), S D Burman (Jalte hain jiske liye -Sujaata; Jaayen to jaayen kahan – Taxi Driver), Ghulam Mohammad (Zindagi dene waale sun – Dil e Naadaan; Dile e naadaan tujhe – Mirza Ghalib), Khayyam (Sham e gham ki – Footpath), Jaidev (Dekh li teri – Kinare Kinare), C Ramchandra (Apni kaho kuchh – Parchhain; Bechain nazar – Yasmin; Muhobat hi na jo – Parchhain), Ravi (Sub kuchh lutake – Ek Saal), Sajjad (Yeh hawa yeh raat – Sangdil), Shankar Jaikishan (Andhe jahan ke – Patita) and Sardar Malik (Aye gham e dil kya – Thokar).
Female vocals were provided by Pushpa Jagadish (Apni kaho; Itna na mujhse) and Rachna Bhatnagar (Milte hi aakhen; Dil e naadaan), both excellent singers in their own right. Pushpa Jagadish also sang Seene mein sulagte as her own tribute to Talat Mahmood.
Accompanying musicians that evening were: Akbar (keyboard), Abhijit (tabla), Salim (electronic drums), Sadiq (guitar) and Parag (side rhythm).
Sadiq also sang Tasveer banata hoon (Baradari) to show his respect for a great artiste who belonged to a generation before him.
The evening was entertaining and the singing was interspersed with anecdotes from the life of Talat Mahmood. The audience, which included many who were not even born when the songs were released, seemed to love every minute of the concert and by the end of the evening were asking for more. This is a real tribute to a great artiste and to an era when melody and meaningful poetry ruled in Bollywood.
I hope that this love for classic Bollywood music does not fade and continues on in the hearts of the coming generations. The words of Majrooh Sultanpuri beautifully sung by Talat Mahmood come to mind: Geet nazuk hai mera sheeshe se bhi, tute na kahin.
The concert was sponsored by QualityCare and the ticket proceeds were donated to Breast Cancer Research in Australia .