Signing in with a Dhoom Macha Le (Dhoom 2). Checking out with a Sheila Ki Jawani (Tees Maar Khan). And there’s everything else in between!
The highs and the lows, the rugged and the tender, the poise and the panache … they all come rushing at you in a high-octane voice that is an exhortation to every micro-millimetre of your adrenalin gland. Add to that a bass guitar that simply knocks the blues out of you, a percussion that thumps at your heart, a keyboard that reciprocates myriads of emotions and a non-stop rendition of chartbusting Bollywood numbers. It’s Sunidhi Chauhan live in concert. Need we say more?
The holiday crowd at Dubai World Trade Centre’s Shaikh Rashid Hall on Friday evening lapped up every ounce of a power-packed show from the star performer, adding many a spark to Eid in Dubai.
It was just unbelievable. For almost every single second of those little over two hours that she held that cordless microphone in her hand, Sunidhi had her fingers on the pulse of the audience and how! For someone who had marked her entry on stage with the explosive Dhoom Macha Le, the bar was set too high right from the get go, and the Bollywood singing diva matched vibes with remarkable elan. Throwing the notion of a slow and steady start out of the window, Chauhan was off to one cracker of an opening score and then just went on and on, belting out some eminently foot-stomping fare as Sajna Ji Vaari Vaari (Honeymoon Travels), Desi Girl (Dostana), Halka Halka (Fanney Khan) and Yeh Raat Ruk Jaye (Murder 2).
In a career spanning 23 years and still counting, Chuhan has been through a lot — both, as a person and also as a professional. From the trials and tribulations of her personal life during those initial, tumultuous days in the Mumbai entertainment industry to her current status of a mother of an eight-month-old boy; from being labelled as an “item song” specialist to scoring some of the most adorable romantic numbers such as Bhage Re Mann Kahin (Chameli), Dekho Na (Fanaa), Ishq Sufiyana (The Dirty Picture), Bin Terey (I Hate Love Storys) and Darkhaast (Shivaay) to name just a few, Chauhan’s Bollywood sojourn has been a roller-coaster ride and one cannot but admit that she has taken it all in her stride — and come out all guns blazing.
Just like the way she took the dithering with the tuning of her voice and the instruments in the rather challenging Kyun Na Hum Tum (Barfi) on Friday in her stride — to get back in complete command of her art and craft for the rest of the evening, holding court and regaling the audience with what time and again turned out to be an impromptu karaoke session. Those pitch-perfect high notes were delivered with remarkable ease and fluency right through.
Two of the high points of Friday’s concert were the medley sequences that Sunidhi presented: One comprising some evergreen Bollywood numbers of yore such as Pehla Nasha (Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander) and Jab Koi Baat (Jurm). Pehla Nasha in Chauhan’s voice was particularly mesmerising. The other memorable segment was the medley of some of her own songs that helped Sunidhi secure a firm foothold in the cut-throat world of Bollywood playback singing: The title track from Mast and Mehboob Mere (Fiza) deserve special mention.
But nothing could probably beat the verve, tenor and vitality of Bidi (Omkara) and Sheila Ki Jawani. And Sunidhi practically got the entire auditorium on its feet with those two chartbusters that she had rightly saved for the last.
A purist may still have a few reservations about Chauhan’s trademark gruffy tone. But that is precisely what has endeared her to millions of fans around the world, giving her voice its brand equity. The Dubai concert bears testimony to that.