LA MIRADA, Calif. — ‘Bollywood Sufi Queen’ Richa Sharma presented an electrifying concert for her fans, mostly from the Indian American community, Oct. 21 at the La Mirada Theater here, which was presented by Luxe Events & Saaz Promotions, and sponsored by various organizations such as Sulekha, Sethi Law Group and Hudson Energy.
The concert started with a dance segment performed by Rachana Shrivastav’s students to Richa Sharma’s greatest hits. Dressed in white with red dupattas, the young women danced energetically to the beat of the singer’s popular songs. Mini Guleria, one of the organizers, introduced the next artist, Paras Maan, a participant in the ‘Voice of India’ reality show, as ‘Punjab Da Sher’. True to the introduction, the young man dressed in jeans and red leather jacket started the show with a foot-tapping Punjabi dance number, following it up with the fast-paced “Jugni Si” to a thunderous applause by the audience.
The next performer of the evening, Prithvi Gandharv, is well known for the song “Albela Sajan” from the film “Bajirao Mastani.” Dressed in blue jeans and black velvet jacket and sporting a pony tail, the young man started with the melodious “Yeh Zindagi Gale Laga Le.” Dedicating the next one for all the losers in love, he sang “Channa Mereya” from “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil,” ending with a soulful ghazal, “Woh Jo Adhuri Si Baath Baaki.”
Before the phenomenal singer came on to the stage, there was a brief video presentation listing her achievements in the music industry. Her repertoire encompasses Punjabi and Rajasthani folk, semi-classical and Sufi to foot-tapping Bollywood chartbusters with more than 50 super hit tracks to her credit. With multiple nominations, Sharma has won many prestigious awards. She also has the distinction of being the only Sufi singer to participate in the Ottawa Jazz festival.
As the theater lights dimmed and the stage lights came alive, Richa Sharma, dressed in a pleated black dress with glittery earrings and high heeled stilettos, walked onto the stage by saying, “Hi L.A., are you ready?” The audience responded to her grand entrance with eager anticipation as she started the show with the song that changed her career graph, “Nime Samaj Gayi,” from the movie “Taal,” and following it up with the melodious “Zindagi Mein Koyi Aaye Na Rabba” from the movie “Musafir.” Next up was her signature song, “Mahi Ve,” in a new tune by saying. “It is the same song but in a new package,” clearly displaying her versatility.
Then came the mellow Punjabi song “Tere Bin Nayi Lagda Dil Mera Soniya” and with both Paras Maan and Prithvi Gandharv by her side she started off singing “Khuk Khuk” and asked the audience to guess the song. When they responded “Choli Ke Peeche,” she said, “Aap ko galat faimi hai,” explain that this was actually the Punjabi Sufi song, “Nime Yaarnu Sajda Kardi,” which she sang beautifully, ably supported by the young singers. After singing the famous song “Sajda,” she sang the Punjabi folk song popularized by Usha Uthup, “Kali Teri Gut Te Paranda Tera Lal Ni,” during which she encouraged the audience to sing the chorus “Aahu,” and the audience wholeheartedly participated.
Spotting an elderly gentleman in the audience, she said she was singing the next two songs just for him and sang the golden hits ‘Kajra Mohabbatwala” and “Jawa Hai Mohabbat Haseen Hai Zamaana,” a song by Pakistani singer Noor Jehan.
During the course of the evening, she also took time to introduce each member of her band by saying they are all from different states of India and they have come together to create great music and show India’s unity in diversity.
Switching gears from her high voltage electrifying songs, she presented three soulful melodious songs. Saying she sings this song when she is sad as well as when she is happy, she sang the soulful “Mere Maula Karam Ho Karam” and the melodious Nazm “Aaj Jaane ki Zid Na Karo” written by Pakistani poet Fayyaz Hashmi. Paying tribute to her idol, Pakistani legend Reshma, she rendered her immortal “Lambi Judai.”
Speaking in Punjabi to the audience, Sharma introduced her official channel by playing a short video of her latest song, “Nayyo Lagda Dil Mera,” followed by the zesty Punjabi number, “Jogi Jogi,” followed by the soft “Mohse Naina Milai ke.”
The singer also called the national and local promoters on stage and gave them a vote of thanks. Sharma is on a multi-city tour of North America and was about to go back to India to celebrate Diwali with her family when she was requested to present the show in Los Angeles, to which she graciously agreed.
The diva ended her concert by singing the crowd favorite, “Billo Rani,” and the memorable song “Dama Dam Mast Kalandar,” immortalized by the legendary Sufi singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, which brought the crowd to its feet with a standing ovation, while she thanked the audience profusely for their love and response.
Mohan Singh, the promoter of the show in Los Angeles, along with Mini Guleria and Harshad Modi, worked for months behind the scenes to produce the successful show.