Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Himesh Reshammiya Show

For those who haven’t been watching Sa Re Ga Ma Paa 2007 Challenge: my sympathies. This is one circus worth watching. And although Bappi Lahiri is quite a spectacle himself – the star of the show is clearly Himesh Reshammiya. And that is because he sometimes plays hero, villain and the bridegroom’s best man all at once.

Last week’s episode saw a Reshammiya thadaka. And it went something like this.

Asha Bhonsle called Himesh’s “Rock” gharana to the floor by raising the mike bottoms up in front of her lips and wailing “Jhalak dikhla ja” (the song from Aksar that has become emblematic of the House of Reshammiya). This was accompanied by much laughter from his fellow gurus and the audience. Himesh did his best to take it in his stride but he ended up looking like he needed a hug.

The “Rock” gharana was represented by a guy called Mussarat Abbas from Pakistan. Mussarat has a middling voice but can carry a tune superbly – his hands gliding and waving with each vocal callisthenic like a Bharat Natyam dancer’s. He chose to sing a ghazal from his guru’s own Namastey London called “Main Jahan Rahoon” by fellow compatriot Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. This he did with élan.

Himesh was so overcome that he burst into the same song – much itraoing ensued. Asha Bhonsle – whose problems with Himesh are clearly visible on this show – looked like she had been forced to swallow a bug. Thunderous applause from everyone was proffered – Himesh had just received the hug he so badly needed.

Now Vishal (from the – ahem – “Hit It” gharana) – who looks like a bonier Fred Durst – slammed the performance saying that Mussarat was operating in a narrow comfort zone and needed to branch out. Himesh graciously said he was responsible for keeping him there. Vishal replied in Hindi “Himeshji, give him to us for a week”. This was somewhat of an open challenge – a way of saying “dude, we can do better”. Temperamentally unstable that he is, Himesh lost it and started near-screaming.

His argument made little sense. His explanation was that he wanted to use SRGMP to launch Mussarat’s career as a playback singer. He wanted Mussarat to displace the likes of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan because the latter required a long lead time to book and charged an arm and a leg. “Think of how sad his parents will be if he is unable to make it and get do waqt ki roti” Unfortunately, all I could think of when watching this was: where’s my fun coming from? So where’s the entertainment in keeping a guy singing only ghazals?

Promises were made of making Mussarat into a star. Vishal argued, Himesh argued back. Ashaji offered to break in, she was made to put down her mike. The jhagda intensified – Head looked nervous, Musharrat looked simultaneously amused and embarrassed and issued a bunch of jerky salaams.

Finally Ashaji said she wanted Mussarat to sing another song to show his range. “I am the judge” she announced “No one will say anything!” Mussarat sang R.D. Burman’s playful “Gulabi Aankhen” sung by none other than Mohammad Rafi. As soon as he was done Himesh made a comment about how Mussarat would never become a playback singer if he kept singing (ridiculous) songs like these. Ouch!

Later Mussarat went up for vote against a fellow Pakistani Junaid Shaikh (who has all of Mussarat’s control and a better voice) and another singer with the rather unfortunate name of Desh Gaurav (gee thanks, Mum and Dad!) Here I was certain Mussarat wouldn’t make it. I mean, come on! A guy from Himesh’s gharana, Ashaji’s hand on the button, a name that rhymes with Musharraf and a face that resembles the master of rapine greed – Ranjit.

But he survived – Desh Gaurav got torpedoed. And we’ve now got a live one our hands for the coming weeks! I can clearly see where my fun will be coming from.


Anonymous said...

I came here via charchaa, pretty interesting blog you have here! keep writing!

Anonymous said...

He sings vey well...good luck-ashu