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27th June being the most awaited day of any calendar year, Euphony waits to present another show as feverishly as the multitude of music thirsty people of Calcutta wait to quench their unsatiated thirst. As we always believe that the mortal remains of His body might have left this abode two decades back, but his presence in our life is felt in every breath we take. This date is just another day of the year, but, on this day we commemorate this LoRD as someone who was born to entertain and fill our life with happy moments.

Such was the ambience of the auditorium when 1100 odd people streamed inside the hall with the dance music of Abdullah being played at the background. The base guitar was just an ignition to the high voltage expectation brewing in the mind of that impatient crowd. A loud encore greeted the man who mesmerized the city audience exactly a year back. Nithin Shankar, the able disciple of the great Maruti Rao Keer, came as a percussionist on that show and the crowd was left wanting for more after his mesmeric performance. This time the stage was all his as he came with his team of 8 members to demonstrate myriads of percussion instruments used in Panchamda’s songs. It was an admixture of the veterans like Nitinji’s brother Anup Shankar,himself an original Pancham, Prasad Malhankar, Arvind Mayekar and Ramprasad Kahar with the young blood like the exciting Abhijit Kohli and Pranab Aditya Deb. Most importantly on the foreground of the stage was the man with his trumpet, Kishore Sodha and at the back of the stage, manning the whole preceedings with his magical drumsticks, Franco Vaz. On the right of the stage was Prasanta da, the man whose base guitar pick up brought out the collective ooooohs from the audience and on the left was the child prodigy of the city, the youngest member of that evening Rhythm Shaw in his lead guitar.

So the evening started with Abdulla’s Arabic tune. Nithinji and his team members created that vocal chiaroscuro, Kishore ji’s trumpet declared the dawning of LoRD’s soul, Prosanto da’s base sets the ball rolling and then the Arabian sylph seems to swoop on the stage clad with music as one instrument started gelling with the other to provide a total percussion feast. Each an every instrument made its individual presence felt as Nitinji’s thumba stops with the trail of Rahul Roopwate’s tabla, interspersed with Anup ji’s drumbeats and maadal and crescendo triggered with the sensuous sshshhshh in Francoji’s cymbal. In ‘Bheega Badan’, that ubiquitous genie gyrated imperceptibly into the tipsy terrain of the grey haired guys in the audience seemingly self possessed with long lost memories and fantasies.

Widest and wildest range of percussion instruments weaved unique rhythm patterns that reigned for decades in Hindi Film Music and there were demonstrations galore from ‘Saiyya Re Saiyya’ to‘Chunri Samhal Gori’; ’Chadhti Jawani’ to ‘Baangle Ke Peechhe’ and ‘Karvaten Badalte Rahe’ to ‘Kya Nazaare’. The hoodka of Saiyya Re Saiyya could even rock a maimed feet, the duggi of Gori Ke Haath Mein found the audience shaking their heads right to left like hypnotized puppets, the maadal of ‘Hum Dono Do Premee’ lets out our wantonness and the resso of ‘Mere Samne Wali Khidki Mein’and ‘Karvaten Badalte Rahen’ lulled us in nostalgic stupor. The gradual merging of the maadal with other instruments in the eternally rejuvenating ‘Bangle Ke Peechhe’ catapulted the remixed generation into a frenzy of fabulous assemblage of acoustic bliss. The exciting aspect of this part was when the audience could relate with the unique sound with which their ears were accustomed to for ages. Nithin ji took immense pain in diving deeper in the unfathomable depth of Panchamda’s music and presented those rare jewels to us. Thus the tambourine of ‘Khatooba’ churned the image of Zeenat’s nimble feet and the talking drum of ‘Maacher Kaanta’ lit up the illumination of the puja fervor of the golden past. Franco ji’s narration of the evolution of that ‘weirdly’ musical sound of the "Cuica" was quite interesting and, needless to mention, enlightening too: "Panchamda found the instrument in the streets of Rio. He bought one from there and on his return to Mumbai, handed it over to me, asking me to play. It was now my job to bring out music from it. Whenever I tried to play it at home my mother would get furious and scream at me to stop this bizarre sound. Finally, I strated getting the hang of it and this is what it sounded like [playing the Cuica]” and then that never to be duplicated sound of ‘Maccher Kanta’ caused the crowd break out in to an instantaneous jig. Nithin ji made it livelier when he tried to croon a few lines and asked the audience to sing along, to which they readily complied.

The first half was culminating in a crescendo with successive chartbusters like ‘Lekar Hum Diwana Dil’, ‘Meri Jaan Maine Kaha’, ’Mehbooba MehBooba’ and ‘Aap Ke Kamre Mein’. A few anecdotes of the evening needs to be shared here. First, how the atmosphere of a village fair was recreated by Nithin ji and his team in the song ‘Gori Ke Haath Mein’: the use of balloons, kids’ toys and many other rarely heard percussion instruments were demonstrated. How perfect his efforts were to recreate exact acoustic sound of several decades back. And, Kishore Sodha, the man whose popularity among the Calcuttans rate one of the highest never failed to captivate us with his incredible trumpet blowing. He played out of his skin in all the leads that he played. Three songs deserve special mention among all others. For the first time we heard ‘Gulabi Chehara’ where RDB’s voice found its musical parallel in KIshore da’s trumpet and Asha ji’s sonority was complemented by Aditya’s keyboard. Kishore ji had to give in to audience’s thunderous demands of ‘Mehbooba Mehbooba’ though it was left for the second half and as soon as it was finished, the ageless wonder of George’s trumpet was replicated to a T by Kishore ji’s ‘Bachna ae Haseeno’ (it was an impromptu, as it wasn’t there in the list).

The first half was brought to an end with an emotional assemblage of musicians on stage, our guest Usha Uthup and Mili Bhattacharya, wife of Panchamda’s alter ego Late Sri Badal Bhattacharya. The senior musician on rhythm guitar Bimal Banerjee, the man who shared some of his precious days with the Master himself, was given a tribute. With Kishoreji’s magical trumpet blowing the Happy Birthday tune and the birthday cake being cut, Francoji, Mili di and Nithin da remembered how HE would celebrate this day. The presence of their LoRD was palpably felt when in these days of hard core commercialism, these musicians played from their heart and each and every words that they spoke about Him testified to their homage and gratitude for the Man who has been their and our sustenance all through their lives. Limpid eyes were spotted among the audience as the curtain came down after an absorbing couple of hours.

The second half started with the voice of Pancham, the one and only Jolly Mukherjee and he struck an instant chord with the audience’s nostalgia with his ‘Jete Jete Pothe Holo Deri’ and ‘Ki Hobe Ar Purono Diner Kotha Aaj Tule’. But reminiscences are bound to flow; memories are too powerful to be kept with a leash and adrenaline rushed through with songs after songs of sheer delight. Thus came ‘Nadir Pare Uthchhe dhoya’, ‘Shono Mon Boli Tomay’, ‘Dite Pari E Jibon’, ‘Dil Lena Khel Hain Dildar Ka’, ‘Samundar Mein Nahake’, ‘Jaana o Meri Jaana’, ‘Mehbooba’, ‘Dhanno Ki Aankhon Mein’, ‘Tum Kya Jano’, ‘Aa Dekhe Zaara’ et al. The enraptured crowd were swept off the feet by Nitinda’s unbelievable Tabla in 'Nadir Pare, Franco ji’s drum on Jolly da’s own song ‘Tu Jaane Na Yeh Duniya’from Janam Se Pehle, young Rhythm Shaw’s fabulous guitar lead in Dhanno and Kishore Sodha’s mesmerizing duet with Jolly da in ‘Tumi Koto Je Dure’ and ’Too Ne Kiya Kya Jadu’. ‘Nadir Pare Uthche Dhoan’ was the pinnacle of the second half when Jolly da poured out his heart to create the proper ambience(Nithin ji used a typical dugdugi like instrument with which he pulled a string to bring the exact sound of prelude) and it was intensified to a idyllic heights by the table theka that kept on reverberating in the hypnotized auditorium. Jolly da triumphed over the hearts of the millions with all that we crave to hear in ‘Duniya Mein Logon Ko’ and ‘Yamma Yamma.’.

The evening seemed never to finish as surprise bouquet of songs came from none other the lady gracing the first row of the audience, Mrs Usha Uthup. Usha di typified that undying spirit of joie de vivre that Pancham da’s songs infused among us all. Amid the audience’s utmost cheer she took the stage and together with Jolly da sang ‘Tumi Koto Je Dure’, the song of ultimate yearning for the man who still holds the beacon for the lovers of true music. The kind of courtesy Usha di extended just for the sheer love for Panchamda and Euphony was unthinkable. She never ever thought twice to take stage as late as 10.35in the night and what an excellent tonal quality that she has at this age is simply incredible. It was amazing how the audience who were moving out in a few seconds came back rushing in to the auditorium and took their seats and kept on egging Ushadi to belt numbers one after other. Usha di’s cameo was truly icing on the cake.

Euphony’s show on Panchamda remains incomplete without the indispensable presence of the moving encyclopaedia, Mr Ankush Chinchankar. But the man who dared to step in that illustrious shoe is our very dear friend, Arvind. The way he carried the show, strung the separate threads together and connected the audience with the musicians on stage deserves special accolades from all of us present there.

Last but not the least never before it happened in the history of Euphony or any other R.D.Burman shows that the auditorium got house full before one day and we had to keep our mobile switched off for the requests of a pass which we would fail to provide. Thanks to the print media for giving us such extensive coverage and for acknowledging Euphony as the one and only premier R.D. Burman foundation of the city. The show ended quite late but there was unwearied enthusiasm among all who left the auditorium expecting another electrifying show on 30th June.