Shreya Ghoshal: The Entertainer with the Big Voice
by Indo American News on October 4, 2012 by Jawahar Malhotra & Sanchali Basu
Every so often, Houstonians get a chance to see a really Big present day Indian star up close and just get carried away with the entertainment that they dish out. Most of the times, the economics and logistics make it impossible to get a good close seat to get a sense of what they are like and you need binoculars to see their theatrics.
Not so with the Shreya Ghoshal show that visited the Bayou City this past Saturday, September 29 through the efforts of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (see above).
Ghoshal’s concerts for AAPI were carved out of her much longer tour of the US, Canada, Trinidad and Guyana by Shri Balaji Entertainment of Florida and a special souvenir book was produced especially for the nine cities involved. Locally, Dr. Nik Nikam, a well-known cardiologist, author, humorist and community activist spearheaded the organization of the show held at the University of Houston’s Cullen Auditorium, surprisingly so since the show could have easily sold out to much more than the 1,600 people who packed the hall.
But, that worked out to the benefit of the concert goers who had a chance to sit it comfortable seats (rather than stadium style hard seats) and see Shreya upclose. And, it turned out six songs into the 4 hour show, that Shreya wanted to be upclose to the audience too when she asked for the house lights to be turned up so that she could see them! Throughout the show, Shreya made it personal by talking to the crowd between each song.
The concert started with some opening words of appreciation by the local physicians who organized the event, with Nikam expressing his thanks and then led into two opening songs by local Texan Dixie Patel. Nikam, who is an amateur video special effects editor worked the light board and projected the laser show graphics that he had developed. The seven dancers with the show performed several numbers and the eight musicians on tour with Shreya did a wonderful job on all the songs.
But the night belonged to Shreya who was introduced onstage by Jefferey Iqbal, who represented the US on Zee TV’s popular show “Sa Re Ga Ma Pa” and performed with A. R. Rehman in 2007. Iqbal performed Mithwa and Parda hai Parda during the mid-set break. Another backup singer, Prithvi Gandharv performed a few songs like Jiye bole that got everyone to sing along and later sang with Shreya on duets.
Shreya began her set dressed in a tight, bright blue satin dress and started with a song from the movie Jism. “I have a PhD in romance,” Shreya said, “and this number is for those who love to love,” as she went into Wadha raha paya se pyar ka with a heavy dhol beat. She encouraged the crowd to clap and get boisterous, to give some feedback and many times throughout the show, Shreya prodded the audience to sing in the gaps to her songs. She sang “tuj ko bhula ke b jahon kahan?” and the hit song from Rab ne Bana de Joddi. With Prithvi sang several of her well known duets like Tera mast mast do naiyna, meri dil ki le gayi chaan and Piya re Piya. Shreya was particularly good on Mashala which featured the dancers belly dancing, and followed it up with Hey Dola re, dola.
Shreya started the second set, looking very hot in a pair of gold tight fitted jeans and black jacket, with the song Zubi Dubi. And turned to “Item songs” like Hoth Rasile from the movie Welcome. She danced with her group in Dil Phisal Gaya and went on to sing the hit number Ooh la la from the movie Dirty Picture and ending with the very popular song Chikni Chameli which brought the house down.
After this, Shreya accepted requests from the audience which wanted songs in every regional language. She said that she would then have to sing in 15 languages to make everyone happy. She sang a small segment of a Tamil song and then paid tribute to the legendary Singer Lata Mangeshkar who had turned 84 the previous day by singing the song Lag Jaa Gale. She sang another Salil Chowdhury composition sung by Lata in both Bengali and Hindi (Ogo aar kichhu to nai/Tasveer tere dil ke). She admitted that Malayalam for her was the toughest language she has ever sung in and looked up the lyrics on her iPad. She then sang a few lines of a Gujarati garba song and went back to one of her most favorite songs ever Yeh Zindagi usiki hai from the film Anarkali.
In response to Punjabi requests, she pointed out the fact that every Hindi movie these days has at least one Punjabi song, and she had already sung a few. Since it was a rainy day outside, in response to the audience’s request, she sang Barso re megha barso from the movie Guru. She thanked the sponsors Balaji entertainment, AAPI and ended her performance by enthralling the audience with Aami je tomar from the movie Bhulbhulaiya.