Normally it would have been difficult to take your eyes off her. However, tonight
was an exception.
Having a Hindustani classical concert after a cocktail party (and a free one at that) is not perhaps the greatest of ideas. Cocktail circuits usually do not coincide with classical music lovers, and tonight was definitely not an exception. The crowd that enters the concert hall from the party is gauche (it's hard to be suave when you've had a few) - the people come in late, and then exchange loud pleasantries with friends and acquaintances in the hall like it were an extension of the party scene. And it is hard to concentrate on the singer with so much exuberance and human spirit around you.
In all this, it just stands for the sheer presence of the lady on stage that you are still mesmerized. The radiant glow in her face can buoy any spirit and take it to a whole new world, and I was no exception. Cheerful and composed, Shubha Mudgal was simply superb in concert at the Taj Krishna.
The concert was a collection of semi-classical and classical songs based on the central theme of "Varsha" or "Pawas" (rain). Some were her own compositions, and the others were those of her gurus - Pandit Ramashrayadhar, Pandit Vinay Chandra and Smt. Naina Devi, to name a few.
Seemingly content, Shubha shut herself from the rest of the world and began her alaap in raag Goudmalhar. She effortlessly sang the Vilambrith (the starting 2-3 lines of a song), and her rendition of the raag flowed with natural grace. After which we were audience to a small jugalbandi of the two accompaniments, the harmonium and the tabla. She meticulously monitored them and sang on and off.
Her subsequent songs were mostly based on folklore. And as she gradually enticed the spectators through her melodious voice, it was tranquility all around. Her "Kajri" was a folk song usually sung during monsoons. Its name has been derived from the phrase "kajal", or soot, whose color signifies the black clouds of rain.
I thoroughly enjoyed the "Jhula" composition - Dheere Jhulao Sukumari Si Aao - a song comprising slow rhythmic beats. She dexterously played with the tunes and experimented in varying "Shruthi" (pitch). There was an amazing involvement from the audience as they swayed their heads in appreciation, waved their hands and clapped with the beat.
She wound up the concert by singing her Baarish Ki Cheez, the milder version of "Ab Ke Sawan Ghar Aaja…", upon request. We hope the entrancing music pleased the god of rain. We need a lot of favors from there, don't we?