How many singers/musicians who are 1 album and 1 movie old can you think of who not only deserve an evening in Dasara, but also can make the audience go crazy with their music?
Now that I am struggling to come out with a second name, I am telling you the first name - Raghu Dixit!
I love Raghu Dixit's music. I have listened to his music before his "Psycho" became such a smash hit. Much before he was spotted by Vishal-Shekhar. Much much before he was on Orkut, Facebook or Twitter. More than 3 years back, Setty had send me the link of a song. I was simply mesmerized by the music. The musician was Raghu Dixit and the song was "Gudugudiya". I had played it a few hundred times in the next few days.
I remembered all these things as I was getting ready to go to the Yuva Dasara concert. I was just hoping the rain Gods would skip being spoilsport, to which they eventually obliged. Even at 5.30 PM, there was a sizable crowd, indicating that by the time the concert starts, there would be no space left. Raghu seemed to be in the final stages of rehearsing. After that, till 9.00 PM, there was one activity after another of college students performing dance, fashion show etc. Any other day, I would have just left the place. But, today was different. I wanted to attend this concert from so many days. Catching it on television would be such a poor substitute.
By 9.00, Raghu and his band arrived on stage in their customary ethnic wear. I could feel the audience warming up even as Raghu was doing his "Mike...testing...1...2...3...". "Mysore...hegideera? Channagideera?", Raghu started without any pretense. The crowd roared. "I am getting the chance to perform in front of my home crowd after so many years". Here was a superbly original singer, amazing composer, but above all an extraordinary performer.
He started off with the "Ee Tanuvu Ninnade", a brilliant rocking composition - a much much better number than the hugely successful "Ninna Poojege Bande". The audience cheered loudly as he finished this song. The police till then were stopping the people from getting off their chairs. Raghu's next act completely spoiled their plans. "You know, how Raghu Dixit's concert should be...people should be standing...nan makla edd ninthkolro..." You had to hear the sound then! Chairs were piled on chairs and people stood on them...and hardly few people were still on the ground. The next song was "Hey Bhagwan", a very beautiful number with great violin in it.
After this song, he asked, "Where are the Yuvaraja College boys?" After getting a "ho" response from some section in the crowd, he said "Gottaglilvenro, I am your senior". Then came "Mysoor Se Aayi", a nice folksy song. After the song, he turned towards the girls and asked "Where are the Maharani College girls?" Everyone burst into laughter. He followed it up with the mystic Sufi Poet Shishunala Sharif's "Gudugudiya Sedi Nodo". He gave a brief explanation of the song, perhaps used to giving it outside Karnataka. What a song from the poet, I am sure Sharif must have been on a high when he wrote that. And Raghu's composition and singing does complete justice to this beauty of a poem!
The next Shishunala Sharif song was sung with audience also singing along with him. By this time, the audience were chanting "Psycho...psycho...psycho". For people who are living in another planet, the extremely popular song "Ninna Poojege Bande..." is from the movie "Psycho". Raghu showed his honesty when he said that he is bored of singing this song. I am sure he would agree that this song, for all its catchy-ness, pales in comparison to his other underrated songs. I sincerely felt that this was the only time where he lacked the intensity and the joy.
When people yelled "once more", Raghu was quick to say "bitti show li ashte", but still sung "Kodagana KoLi Nungitta" which I was listening for the first time from him. Thought it was kind of nice, I'd still prefer the C Ashwath's version more. Finally he said "You guys dont want to go home. But I have to, mom would have cooked hot food...I am hungry". Before he could let the hunger distract, he aptly ended the show with "Ee Tanuvu Ninnade". And thanked the crowd and asked them to visit his website and add him on orkut and Facebook. Surprised he missed twitter!
I am sure thousands in Mysore tonight would have slept late. But, all of them would have a smile on their faces by the time they hit the bed. I can easily say that this would rank among the best concerts I have witnessed.
Thanks Raghu, we will wait for the next Dasara!