Concert of Madanji's melodies in Boston
07 February 2011

Swar Veena, a well known musical organization in the USA held a concert of Madanji's melodies in Boston, USA recently.

The concert was appreciated by all not only for the lasting magic of Madanji's melodies but as much for the renditions by the talented singers led by Astha Shukla.

It is heartening that Madanji's haunting repertoire is still remembered and enjoyed , so many decades later , and not only in India but across continents.

Reproduced below is an article appeared in LOKVANI, covering the details of the above event.

Siraj Khan

On November 20th, the Bostonians had the rare opportunity to remember and pay tribute to the legendary music director Madan Mohan. In the process, they were treated to a musical feast of classic Hindi film songs of the golden era, presented by the members of Swar Veena School of Music based in Morris Plains, NJ who presented a nostalgic evening at the Thoreau School in Concord, MA.

If there is a greater die-hard fan of Madan Mohan than Ashta Shukla, then I do not know that person. She is a great devotee of the composer and through the Swar Veena School of Music, she is keeping his torch alight for the younger generation, many of whom were born after the maestro's death in 1975.

Swati Ambole, the emcee, set the tone for the evening by her lively stage presence and as we were to find out as the program proceeded, providing the sheet anchor for the entire program. To do justice to Madan Mohan's intricate compositions is not easy and Ashta Shukla, Vaishali Patankar deserve great compliments for doing such a marvelous job in taking turns to sing the complex melodies, most of which were originally sung by Lata Mangeshkar. The male component was ably provided by familiar Boston talent, Mohan Subramaniam.

Astha's opening song Baiyan na dharo and Mai re set the tone for the evening. Vaishali's Zara si aahat was rendered very delicately. The spell cast on the audience by Astha with her magical rendition of Lag Ja Gale, was broken only by her Jhumka gira re. Jhumka.. had the audience clapping and swaying throughout the entire piece. This was the rare Asha Bhosle number, selected for that evening, which also led to the intermission.

If Madan Mohan was known as the "ladies composer", it was for a good reason. Most of his songs (and definitely his most memorable ones) are sung by female singers, with Lata clearly singing the bulk of them. Male songs are few and far in between. Mohan, despite not being part of the troupe, provided wonderful male support with Mein Nigahen tere chehre se and Teri Ankhon ke Siva Dunya mein in the first half. Vaishali's upbeat Kadar Jaane Na was certainly one of the high points of the first session. Swati Ambole punctuated each song with a lyrical anecdote or quoted a related and appropriate couplet from one ghazal or another. Her stage presence was electrifying and she made sure that the program did not lose its momentum, at any stage.

Vaishali provided a perfect post-break treat with Aapki Nazron ne samjha. Can anyone visualize a Madan Mohan discussion, let alone a dedicated evening on him, without Naina Barsein rim jhim and Mera Saya saath hoga? Astha sang both the songs flawlessly and with a lot of feeling. But where she was at her very best was with her rendition of Baiyyan na dharo. Mohan rekindled old memories with Mukesh's Bhooli Huwi Yado and Talat's Meri Yaad mein tum na. The program also included an informative video presentation called Tere Baghair, which provided many interesting facets of the composer's life.

The program was organized through concerted efforts of Jawed Wahid, who also provided all logistics, marketing, ticketing support and also the sound equipment and engineering on the day of the event.

It was a nostalgic evening of masterpieces, the ultimate melodies which will remain etched in the film music history. I felt that a song from Veer Zara and perhaps a duet would have done wonders. But that would mean to expect the unexpected. The thirst must remain unquenchable. I now have something to look forward to.

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