South Africa’s Showtime Promotions did South Africa proud by working systematically for over a year to bring to South African shores this past week, India’s Bollywood Singing Superstar, Arijit Singh.
It was the “biggest Bollywood musical in Africa” as the Durban’s ICC Arena sold out to over 5000 people, who waited impatiently to hear the lead vocalist, a man who wowed audiences when he became famous in “Tum Hi Tum Ho” a song that fetched him several awards and nominations including Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer.
Thorough technical requirements, stage set up, lighting and sound services were determined by an intense checklist. No wonder, given the expertise of this perfectionist musician and accompanying artistes from USA, Germany, Spain, UK and India.
There were no introductory dances and musical items from locals as a prelude to the concert. The magic began almost immediately as Arijit Singh stepped onto the stage. Enthralled starry-eyed audiences worshipped him as he sang almost non-stop, pausing only to introduce his musicians. He lent his assistance to the accomplished Australian on his digeridoo, a wind instrument, commonly known as a wooden trumpet. The great Scottish Highland bagpipes haunting strains brought an instant hush to the stadium. Cameras zoomed in on to the skilful magic of the Spaniard’s guitar. The sitar, drums, and other musicians with their instruments were introduced and magnified on the smaller screams adjoining the stage. Towards the middle of the stadium, the colossal screen magnified the stage and Arijit’s shy smile and unwavering songs brought India and Bollywood home to South Africa.
South Africans were generous in their praise and respect. Cameras flashed lighting in the dark stadium and videos were uploaded to Facebook. Young and old fans posed for their instagrammable moments. His songs, well known and popular in here in South Africa were mouthed to perfection.
I expected a lengthy interval. If possible a softer, more tangible Arijit emerged. He began with Kabhi Kabhi and the crowds roared their appreciation. Braver, the nostalgic audience sang louder.
Amitabh’s Bachan’s “Dostana” was another crowd pleaser. He took pleasure in beginning his song and listening to the audience finish them. When they flagged, he smiled, coaxed them and brought up the crescendo. Like his instruments, he played his audience, taking them to musical remembrances of yesteryear and music of the present day.
Known by the Indian media as a “small town boy who made it big”, Airjit Singh is singer, musician, live performer, composer, producer, recordist, music programme and dubbing artist. He dubbed Shah Rukh Khan in the song “Kashmir Main Tu Kanyakumari” from Chennai Express.
His awards and nominations include :
- four Mirchi Music Awards,
- three Filmfare Awards,
- a Stardust Award,
- an IIFA Award,
- two Zee Cine Awards
- and two Screen Awards.
- nine awards from ten nominations for “Tum Hi Tum Ho
- the prestigious (IIFA) award for “The Best Male Singer” for the song “Tum Hi Tum Ho
At the 23rd Star Screen Awards Arijit Singh was awarded the title of “Best Male Playback” singer for his rendition of the song Zaalima, from ‘Raees‘, another show-stopping song picturised on Shah Rukh Khan.
Not bad for a small town boy as young as three, who worked consistently to achieve his musical goals.
Philanthropist Arijit Singh of the shy personality and smile, is not phased as being known for his romantic songs. He does not care that he has been tagged unintentionally as a “romantic singer”. His soulful music packed an emotional punch and his tireless energy had him conquering the dance stage and alternating between guitars best suited to his lyrics.
The audience clamoured for more. Sadly there was no encore. He left the stage with Amitabh Bhattacharya’s Channa Mereya, which aptly translated means “okay, I’ll leave now. Remember me in your prayers, keep the taste of my mention on your tongue…”
Money well spent and memories made. Arijit Singh was phenomenal. He came. He saw. He conquered. Such a coup for South Africa. Thank you Showtime Promotions and all those involved in this historic event.