Shreya Ghoshal Concert Packs a Crowd in Washington

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October 10, 2012

By Geeta Goindi

Leesburg, VA – Bollywood’s leading female playback singer Shreya Ghoshal rocked the house Friday night in a jam-packed concert.

October 10, 2012

By Geeta Goindi

Leesburg, VA – Bollywood’s leading female playback singer Shreya Ghoshal rocked the house Friday night in a jam-packed concert.

Bollywood’s leading female playback singer Shreya Ghoshal performing at her concert in the Washington area, Friday, October 5th, 2012

At 28, she is the most awarded singer in India, in recent times, and it was easy to see why.  She regaled music lovers with a generous selection of her chart-topping numbers in a sweet, velvety voice that spelt melody!

The much-awaited show, which drew over 1,600 people to the National Conference Center, was presented by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) and AAPI Charitable Foundation in association with the Kerala Cultural Society of Metropolitan Washington (KCSMW) and the Indian Medical Association (IMA) of DC.  The concert comprised the entertainment component of a multi-city educational and musical tour spearheaded by AAPI, the largest ethnic medical organization in the US with 130 local chapters.

In a special message, Indian Ambassador Mrs. Nirupama Rao conveyed: “I am pleased to learn that the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) is organizing a multi-city educational and musical program from September 21 to October 7, 2012, in different parts of the United States.  It is an interesting initiative of AAPI to strengthen interface among local AAPI chapters and foster community spirit”.

Bouquets for Shreya Ghoshal

On stage, at the conference center, Shreya effortlessly rendered a good number of her chart-busters in a voice that was music to the ears!  “I am going to sing straight from the heart”, she declared at the outset and proceeded to do just that!

Shreya began with “Teri Meri” from the film Bodyguard, followed by “Wada raha” (Khakee), “Agar tum mil jao” (Zeher), “Mein wari jawan” (Tera Naal Love Ho Gaya), “Jaadu hai nasha hai” (Jism), the title song “Rab ne bana di jodi”, “Teri ore” (Singh Is King), “Chori kiya re jiya” (Dabangg), “Piya bole” (Parineeta), “Yeh Ishq hai” (Jab We Met), “Mashallah” (Ek Tha Tiger), “Chikni Chameli” (Agneepath), “Ooh La La” (The Dirty Picture) and “Zoobi doobi” (3 Idiots).

Regarding her version of “Tujh mein Rab dikhta hai” (Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi), she admitted, “every time I perform this song, I get goosebumps”.

Listeners hung on to every word she sang.  Much to their delight, she paid a tribute to the legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar by rendering the soulful “Lag ja gale” (Woh Kaun Thi).  Still traveling back in time, ‘sur’ and ‘taal’ in perfect sync, Shreya rendered the modern version of the classic, “Bade achhe lagte hain”.  Besides Hindi, she crooned numbers in other Indian languages including Malayalam and Bengali.  And she excelled in singing “Mere dholna” (Bhool Bhulaiya) which has a strong classical base.

Looking around the packed ballroom, Shreya marveled at “such a beautiful mix of all kinds of people” and thanked the audience for “all the appreciation” that is bestowed on her.

Songstress Shreya Ghoshal (left) with Mrs. Nilima Mehra, the emcee, hostess and producer of Global Television Network (GTV)

“Because of music, so many people love me”, she says.  “It is not that I know everybody personally.  They just know me for my singing and my songs and my voice.  This is really special.  God has been extremely kind to me to make me a singer.  That feeling becomes even bigger when I see the unison and harmony among audiences when it comes to applause, and when they sing along together.  It is just a beautiful feeling”.

Shreya was joined on stage, in some duets, by up and coming singers Prithvi Gandharva and Jeffrey Iqbal.  For Jeffrey, an American born with South Asian parents, singing “has been my lifelong dream”, he says.  “When I’m looking amidst the crowd, feeling their energy, I capture this moment, and I close my eyes and sing from my heart, from my soul … My soul longs to unite with people through music, unite cultures, unite generations, unite nations and unite with my heritage”.

For Shreya and her team of talented singers, musicians and dancers, Washington was the ninth stop in a month-long tour that spans twelve US cities plus four shows in Canada, West Indies and Guyana.  From Washington, the group will head to Dallas, then San Jose and Connecticut.

It was Shreya’s second performance in our area.  In 2010, she performed in another jam-packed concert at the Constitution Hall, and prior to that in Baltimore.

For someone who has participated in so many shows, one would expect her to be confidence personified!  Not so.  She admits to initial stage fright and butterflies in the stomach.  It all changes “the moment I see the audience”, she says.  “I get confident.  I always feel very blessed that I am born a musician”.

The singing sensation attributes her success to her parents.  She was accompanied on the tour by her father, Mr. Biswajeet Ghoshal.  “Whatever I am today is because of him and my mom”, she affirms.  “When I entered the industry, I was really young.  I did my first film when I was 16.  I started `Sa Re Ga Ma Pa’ at the age of 10 and was on the show till 14.  I was really young.  I had no idea what I was doing.  I was just singing.  I loved what I was doing”.  At such an impressionable age, it was her father who made all the right decisions for her. “Even today, I am so dependent on him for everything”, she discloses. “He has been the biggest inspiration”.

At a meet and greet following the concert, singer Shreya Ghoshal is seen with Zubda Chaudhry

Ask her what advice she would give to budding singers and she replies, “I am too young to give advice.  I would just say whatever art you take up, whatever profession – be it singing, dancing – you need to learn and grow.  Be very strong in what you do.  So, whenever the opportunity comes, you give your best shot!”

When it comes to Bollywood, she says an emphatic “No” to acting.  “When I know that I am not good at something, I’ll not go into it”, she explains.  “I don’t like to be mediocre in what I take up. I know I can’t act.  I’ve never done it, not even in school.  I’ve never done a drama or skit.  I’ve just sung.  I’ve just done singing competitions.  In my life, I need to do a lot more in music.  I’ve still done nothing”.  Her goal, she says, is to become a better singer.  “Acting is not my cup of tea”.

Speaking to INDIA THIS WEEK, Rishi Kejriwal, the choreographer who led a team of seven dancers.  “We will be performing on eight songs, including the opening act”, he informed us, adding “we will be lending glamor, energy and a certain oomph to the show”.

Rishi was delighted with the response for the current tour.  “It has been amazing”, he said.  “We have been performing in big auditoriums, big arenas.  The crowds have been enjoying the show”.

But, he expressed some consternation about the Washington venue.  “This is the first time, we are performing in a Ballroom”, he told us.  “I was informed that auditoriums were not available for today.  So, that is why they selected this conference center.  This doesn’t look like a concert at all.  There are a lot of people who wanted to come but could not because of the capacity”.

We asked Rishi, what is it like to work with Shreya?  He replied: “As a person, Shreya is very sweet.  She is very easy going, very flexible.  She will ask for suggestions and take them into consideration.  She is very chilled out”!