For a quintessential Chennaiite, the most important musical identity would be the Margazhi music season. Come December, NRIs and city music enthusiasts gear up for the music season in Chennai sabhas. The city is also host to an eclectic mix of music that includes rock, pop, jazz and Western Classical. B
But there is a growing interest in retrospectives for greats of the Hindi film industry, which organisers, singers and the audience reckon has added a new dimension to the existing music scene.
Chennai-based singer Surojit Guha is known for his rendition of Hemant Kumar classics — apart from those of Kishore Kumar and Talat Mehmood. One of the foremost artistes in the retro soiree circles in the country, he tracks the gradual rise in takers for this music genre.
Surojit, who has been singing for the last forty years, says, “In the ’90s, musician and family friend Pronoti Bannerjee, through her group Rooplyn Music Circle, made a foray into retro shows. Later, the scene also saw organisations like DMS catering to a similar audience,” he says.
The singer — who recently quit his job to become a full-time singer, suggests the scope for such events could increase if there were recognised music clubs. “Unlike Mumbai, Chennai doesn’t have clubs that promote music. At present, the audience here prefer a select set of songs for every singer ,” he says.
Another group that is active in the music circle is Satrangi, with frequent retrospectives lined up every month. The team held its latest show on Friday, titled ‘Unforgettable Combination – Rajesh Khanna and Kishore Kumar’.
Pramod Nair, who started Satrangi in 2007, says, “The audience for our shows has been rising steadily over the years. There is so much to that era’s music. Each composer, lyricist and singers has left his identity through his works. Each has a special place,” he says.
The artistes who perform in these shows add that what is heartening is the sizeable audience that attend these shows, irrespective of the knowledge of the language, and just for their love for music.
An interesting feature of these retrospectives is that they are tailored around exclusive themes, say for example, a show based on Hindi singer Geeta Dutt’s works or an evening that explores lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi’s songs, along with narratives and insights for the niche audience.
The pertinent question in people’s minds would be whether the retro Hindi music culture is here to stay.
Anjali R, a regular at the events, says, “That is the charm of old Hindi numbers. They grow on you. The melodies from the bygone era are a treasure trove for music lovers. It will take a lifetime for anyone to hear them all.”
Echoing a similar thought, Surojit, who is busy preparing for his show on Sunday titled ‘Salaam! Kishore Da’ at the Egmore Museum Theatre, says there is no point comparing old numbers with the music nowadays. But he raises a query. “These shows are a reminder for contemporary music composers. They have the current breed of listeners glued to their music, but for how long?”
For more details on ‘Salaam! Kishore Da’ concert, contact 99400 92727/89394 91769 or book online at www.sulekha.com/kishoreda