LONG BEACH, Calif. — An electrifying musical extravaganza featuring celebrated singers Kumar Sanu and Alka Yagnik in a romantic live concert was presented at the Terrace Theater here May 13 under the auspices of Stage Paint Productions, drawing music lovers from not only the Indian American community, but from the larger South Asian diaspora as well. Dilliwala Indian Kitchen set up shop in the theater lobby offering mouth-watering treats, creating a lively and enjoyable atmosphere.
Manoj Kay Tee and Anil Shah of Stage Paint Productions are renowned for their grand scale productions. As the theater filled to capacity, the audience could see a panoramic wide screen displaying the Stage Paint’s previous mega productions with colorful digital graphics, setting up the stage for the extravaganza to unfold.
As the live orchestra members started taking their places, emcee Ravi officially declared the start of the event by saying, “What you are about to witness today is not just a musical concert but a mesmerizing, and mind-blowing musical experience.” He invited Swagat, an “Indian Idol” contestant, on to the stage to sing the opening numbers, such as ‘Raat Baaki Baat Baaki” and “Shaam Hai, Jaam Hai,” ending with a classical “Mere Dolna Sun.”
Ravi then introduced ‘Melody King’ Kumar Sanu as the ‘Royal Bengal Tiger’ who has the distinction of winning five consecutive Filmfare awards and has sung over 35,000 songs in a career spanning over 27-plus years. He was awarded the prestigious Padmashri award in 2009 and has his name featured in the Guinness Book of World Records for having recorded 28 songs in a single day.
Against a backdrop of a screen displaying video clips of his mega hits over the years, the legendary singer, dressed in white pants and a glittering white and gold jacket, walked onto the stage and, greeting the audience, told them that he has sung so many songs in his career that the whole night will not be enough to cover them all. He proceeded to sing snippets of his hit songs to thunderous applause, including such favorites as “Do Dil Mil Rahe Hai Magar Chup Ke,” “Tere Dar Pe Sanam Chale Aaye,” “Dheere Dheere Se Dil Ko Churana,” “Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankeh’ and “Jab Koi Baat Bigad Jaaye,” interacting with the audience in between with humorous comments.
Before singing the melodious “Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Lagaa,” he shared an anecdote about how RD Burman admonished him to shave and dress properly before recording the romantic number. Only when he went back properly dressed was the song recorded. The legendary director also instructed him to enunciate the word ‘Jaise’ differently each time the word is repeated in the song, which he demonstrated to the delight of the audience.
Kumar Sanu’s daughter, Shannon K., a budding musician, took to the stage and rendered Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” followed by “Pretty Eyes,” displaying her inherited talent and mastery over music at such a young age. Her album was released on iTunes recently and she is making her name in the western music world.
Alka Yagnik was introduced with great fanfare as the ‘Nightingale of India’ with over 15,000 songs to her credit spanning 700 films, a winner of seven Filmfare awards and two national awards. As the wide screen displayed clips of various actors, singers and music directors praising her as a singer par excellence, the singer, dressed in a blue outfit and green dupatta worn in sarong style, came on stage, greeted energetically by the audience. She began her selection of songs with “Kya Karoon Haai Kuch Kuch Hota Hai,” and wished the women in the audience a Happy Mother’s Day. When she sang “Lal Dupatta Ud Gaya Re,” she coaxed the women wearing red dupattas to get up and dance.
Continuing with “Raah Me Unse Mulaqat Ho Gayi,” “Tip Tip Barsa Paani” and “Agar Tum Saath Ho,” she went on to sing a medley of her popular songs including and her chart-buster “Ek Do Teen” that made Madhuri Dixit an overnight star.
After a short intermission, the versatile singers came back to sing duets such as “Chura Ke Dil Mera,” “Tujhe Dekha Toh Jaana Sanam” and other memorable hits that brought the audience to their feet, before bringing the concert to an end. The singers thanked the phenomenal orchestra members hailing from the Mumbai film industry who have accompanied them in their original recordings.
Earlier, they invited national promoters Darshan Mehta and Rocky of Balaji Entertainment to thank them, who in turn invited local promoters Manoj Kay Tee and Anil Shah of Stage Paint Productions to the stage, who were appreciated for their hospitality.
The concert was also presented May 12 at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium in Sacramento, Calif., by Instant Karma, among others.