PHOTO CREDITS: NAVNEETH B
VIDEO: SANDHYA R
The evening started with the bombastic sound of Allegra from Kanthasamy. Singer Rita (who has also sung the original) got onstage ready to rock – only to find the mic muted. She did not let the embarrassing audio glitch stand in the way of, what turned out to be, a superb performance!
In fact she was the biggest revelation that night. I would surely cite her as one of the talents to watch out for – a lot of movement onstage but the notes never suffered. Ranina followed with Nuvvosthanantei from Varsham. She was the darling of the audience that night with her sugary ‘I love you’s and flying kisses.
Suchi, the 3rd and most famous vocal accompaniment, worked it in a black jumpsuit (her long legs said hello later when she donned a golden skirt).She was the most recognizable/popular voice but arenas like this is where having a husky, more bass voice presents hardships. All of her songs were the biggest hits in the setlist but most of them didn’t create the same impact. Studios allow layering & boosting but live, going that low pitched and still being loud is no feat.
In what seemed like half an hour, DSP (as Devi Sri Prasad is eestylishly referred to) got onstage & did the Jalsa! Ably supported by the John Britto dance troupe, the show had all the elements of a telecast-on-TV type show (without the annoying comic sketches & MC hoots). That said, I’d like to ask out loud WHY do dance troupes end up being such a fail?
There seem to be many dance schools but onstage, we see a lack of coordination and really bad costumes! Even in televised awards shows, the standard of dancing is very mediocre. In this regard, dance schools down south should take a leaf from Bollywood ceremonies.
DSP IN DA HOUSE
It was overall a good show, fun evening; not too many technical mishaps. And a strategic move by the Saarang committee to bring a Tollywood favourite. At first I was skeptical about a non Tamil act headlining but I quickly realized that I was the minority.
DSP performed many of his Telugu hits (Maaro Goli Maaro), Something Something, Kaathadi Pola Endi Enna Suthura (Maayavi) & every now and then, would break into a ‘Shankar Dada MBBS’ – cue hyper audience to go ‘HOO HA HOO HA!’. I can’t say much about the Telugu songs except that the seemed to have the desired impact, be it swaying soulfully or raucous hoohaa-ing. There was also this one song with Suchi that had Kawasaki in the lyrics (gien up Google-ing) – made the crowd go W-I-L-D!
I wouldn’t say DSP was born to be a performer but he managed to hold it together quite well. One would think he went overboard with the teasing, though. At one point he sat onstage and reminisced aloud – sweet memories no doubt – of how he used to sing to empty seats in the school jampad that gradually filled up after hearing his own composition, which went on to become one of his first hits too. Now he painted a beautiful picture, including a ‘first love’ angle too but 20 whole minutes? Us hyper pattanis were not prepared for that.
But this could again be minority speak. Choruses of oooh’s and aaah’s hinted that huge numbers were hanging on to his every word. He really tried to reach out to us all – at one point constructing sentences that started in Telugu, meshed into Tamil & ended with Hindi – but exaggerated bad English was the bond that held us all united in understanding. (Nowadays being referred to by sociologists as the Kolaveri streak. We have insight from the man himself right here!)
A sincere appeal to music directors; please don’t sing songs that you arranged. It scars our mind for we will compare it with the version where there was an actual singer behind the mic. Whom you may have generously helped with retakes & processing, but that is besides the point.
Kadhal Vandale from Singam was a letdown. It sounded rushed, off pitch and shrunk in comparison to the original. Another such low was Ringa Ringa (that went into Dhinka Chika). At any given point in the show, at least 30 people were always screaming ‘Ringa Ringa’ and in the end, finally, we got a rather meh version that got over too quickly. The infectious beats and general elevated adrenalin levels sort of saved it though.
But there were pleasantly memorable aspects too – like the acoustic rendition of Neela Vaanam with just the piano and vocal arrangement. Nothing extraordinary but very well done!
Also, I’d like to make a special mention of DSP’s onstage orchestra. They did a phenomenal job with engaging instrumental bits; particularly an audience-repeats-to-drumming set that was super fun!
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