CERRITOS, Calif. – Several Southern California-based Indian American medical associations came together with AAPI to present the penultimate performance of “Jai Ho,” a 10-city live concert tour featuring Sukhwinder Singh, at the Cerritos Center for Performing Arts here May 26.
The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, working with regional medical organizations like ALAPIO (Association of Los Angeles Physicians of Indian Origin), IMASC (Indian Medical Association of S. California), ISCOPI (Inland Southern California Organization of Physicians of Indian Origin), and TVIMA (Tri-Valley Indian Medical Association), used this tour as yet another step towards the fulfilment of its mission of providing free surgeries and supporting free clinic projects in Southern California, in addition to lymphoma and leukemia research, studying cardio-vascular diseases among Southeast Asians and the empowerment of women. A souvenir issue, which was released to commemorate the event, provided an insight into the various medical organizations involved.
The executive committee, comprising of Drs. Mahesh Vyas, Bharat Patel, Manoj Shah, Jyotin Patel and Shubha Jain, was ably coordinated and assisted by Dr. Parvin Syal of ALAPIO, an organization which, spearheaded by Dr. Bharat Patel, has set a unique example of philanthropy and organizational skills working together to provide free medical care and free surgeries to the indigent population of the Greater Los Angeles area. ALAPIO has worked hard to give back to the community that has made the Indian American physicians so remarkable.
Bharat Patel kicked off the program by recognizing co-organizers of the concert, pointing out that for the first time, four local associations came together to host an event to benefit the local community. He said that they plan to host several such events periodically, sharing information about the upcoming events: The Gujarati Film Festival, which will run June 7-9; and a music concert featuring Richa Sharma in Los Angeles June 23.
In introducing Dr. Naresh Parikh, Patel said, “AAPI has been spearheading philanthropic and educational programs and has been instrumental in arranging Sukhwinder Singh’s ‘Jai Ho’ concert in 10 cities across the U.S.”
Parikh was accompanied by his AAPI colleagues, including the convener of the multi-city tour, Dr. Narendra Kumar. Parikh emphasized the importance of initiatives by ALAPIO in spearheading and setting pathways for other organizations to promote free healthcare in the U.S. and said that he was encouraged that sponsors from across the nation were supportive of this mission.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars were contributed by the chief sponsors, 27th Investments and Thakkar Investments. Also acknowledged was Beverly Surgery Center of Dr. Bharat Patel and Dr. Anil Shah, a renowned California cardiologist, of Smart Villages Initiative. Beverly Surgery Center is the home of the Free Surgery project by ALAPIO.
A welcome speech was also made by Dr. Mahesh Vyas, and the sponsors were felicitated for their support. The local organization was also presented with a plaque commemorating the Los Angeles event.
Special guest Amruta Fadnavis, the First Lady of Maharashtra, in an interview prior to the performance, stated that singing was her passion and that it helped her use it as a channel to fulfil her mission of supporting women. As AAPI’s goodwill ambassador, she has been meeting with many doctors and others to strategize ways of helping people.
She opened the performance to a flood of applause from the packed auditorium as she appeared in a dazzling black outfit. A couple of opening lines from the song, “Tere Bin Jiya Jaaye Na,” led to a sensual number, “Raat Akeli Hai,” followed by the popular “Buleya,” segueing with ease into “Maza Aa Gaya.”
Though appreciative of her performance, the audience was eagerly awaiting the appearance of the star of the evening, Sukhwinder Singh. But before this, the audience was regaled by the appearance of another singer whose talent had not been publicized as part of the tour: Madhvi Shrivastava, whose charming voice and captivating presence calmed the restless public with her rendition of several favorites – old and new – often as a medley. “Chura Liya Hai Jo Tumne” was sung with as much ease as was “Aap Jaisa Koi Meri Zindagi Mein Aaye” as she owned the stage and engaged the audience with her powerful singing.
Cerritos Mayor Naresh Solanki was recognized and plaques were given out to Fadnavis and, in an unprecedented move, to Sukhwinder Singh even before the artist had had an opportunity to make his grand entrance.
After that, the evening and the stage belonged to the star of the evening. In a jocular style that continued to underline his performance throughout the evening, Singh introduced the show by saying that although he had sung so many different songs, including some award-winning ones, he will always be known as the “Chaiyya Chaiyya” boy.
Ably accompanied by Shrivastava, he set the stage on fire with this opening signature song from the movie, “Dil Se,” which he sang with innovative variations to showcase his immense understanding of music. Enhanced by background clips supporting his repertoire, each number was received with roaring abandon by the audience.
Singh displayed his mastery of rhythm and tempo, mingling the recitation of poetry with some background information about the creation of the song, and offering his own style and rendition of the songs from the originals.
For the next couple of hours, Singh exuded energy, warmth and humor as he stopped spontaneously to call the mayor to the stage, so that he could hug him, or when he would walk up to one of the musicians and embrace him.
“Ramta Jogi” and “Holey Hoely Ho Jayega Pyar” received much applause, but it was “Beedi Jalay Le” that brought the audience to its feet. Singh paid a tribute to poet Gulzar, who penned the songs of “Omkaara,” including “Beedi Jalay Le,” which he thought was an extremely sensuous song, evoking a unique rural imagery.
Rendering “Jai Ho,” which won international acclaim, he continued the rhythm, moving across the stage and embracing all listeners with the sheer strength and power of his voice. He often paused to give center-stage to his musicians, allowing them to display their mastery of their own instruments, including an opportunity to show their talent as soloists in ‘jugalbandi’ sessions.
Singh’s traditional Punjabi background was apparent in his rendition of “Rabba Rabba Meen Barsaa” from the movie, “Monsoon Wedding,” which he interspersed with ‘tappes’ and ‘boliya,’ the typical Punjabi flavor of folk music.
For the finale, Singh repeated a medley of some of his earlier songs, ending the evening with the same song he had started it with: “Chaiya Chaiya.”
As the audience filtered out, Ravi Kapila of Florida commented: “In my 97 years of life, I have seen many shows; this one certainly ranks among the top ones I have ever seen!”