July 17, 2006
I attended Hemachandra’s concert last night in Chicago land. After this I couldn’t help writing this and sharing my experience with you.
My Husband and I were the first ones to reach the auditorium (after the organizers). Later I was told that I was the first one to call for the tickets.
There was a very small crowd owing to many reasons. There was very little publicity for the show (We ourselves found out only from the India Forum on Internet). The organizers later admitted that they did not have enough head start to give enough publicity. There were two other live musical shows in the city which were scheduled and publicized for quite a few months.
The show was supposed to start at 7 PM but it did not start until 8:30 PM. The amazing thing was none of the audience grew impatient and there was only one thing in every body’s mind – Hemu deserves much bigger audience than this. So nobody complained and they kept waiting, hoping that the auditorium would be filled eventually.
Also the most wonderful thing was while they were waiting for the show to start, they kept sharing Hemu’s stories with each other and almost everybody was expressing how much he/she loves Hemu.
There was this mother who was feeling guilty because her 8 year old who is a great admirer of Hemu couldn’t come as the kid was away attending summer camp. There was another young lady who was in a similar situation as her parents who simply adore Hemu, couldn’t make it. A couple drove from Detroit just for the show and another was from Bloomington. Everybody present there was a staunch admirer of Hemu.
When the organizers came in to announce that the show will begin shortly, I expressed my concern of small audience to my husband and we felt that all the people should sit closer instead of being scattered around the auditorium. My husband who is laid back when coming to things like this, couldn’t help himself and expressed this idea to the organizer. Just then the show started with MC introducing and announcing Hemu and HemaBindu.
Then came onto the stage, an extremely handsome Hemu with his charismatic smile. He looks much younger in person (Things indeed look bigger on TV, in this case older). After the initial greetings, his first words were “Why you are all sitting so far away, come closer to the stage”. People rushed to the front seats and the show began with a song from KHNH “Har ghadi”. For the next two hours or so everybody was in a different world.
This review is not about how talented Hemu is or how well he can render Hindi movie songs in his own style. People who are way qualified than me acclaimed him. In fact we all witnessed how his each rendition was scrutinized and commented by judges. I am also not reviewing his personality. People who met him and interviewed him told everybody who cares to listen that he is very modest and has down to earth personality.
I am just going to tell you how this 18 year old captivated the audience. He was neither disheartened by the small crowd nor he compromised on the quality. He connected wonderfully with the audience and smiled at each one of them, identified telugu people and spoke to them in telugu and encouraged every one to dance. About his dancing, well, he is natural, that’s all I can say. He made us feel that he belonged to us. I kept wondering all the time how come an 18 year old who just started his singing career has this kind of effect on us.
The sound system in the hall is really bad. There was just one wireless microphone. (His sister had to use the wired microphone and had to make an effort not to stumble on the cord while dancing). There was absolutely no decoration or fancy lighting. All the things that could go wrong in a music show went wrong. The microphone battery was weak and it kept fading out or losing contact during songs. (They had to check it during the show). The tracks were messed up and the volumes were irregular. Here in US we are a spoilt crowd as we are used to the state of art equipment. But none of the above bothered the crowd. They just kept looking at him listening to his every word and song.
His sister Hemabindu has a pleasant face with a wonderful smile. She supported him very well.
Being a staunch classical carnatic music lover, I very rarely attend film music concerts and this is a unique experience to me and I consider myself very lucky to be present there. Several people watching the show with me agreed with me on this as I was one of the chosen ones by Hemu to dance with him on the stage.
Also check out
• Mani Sharma musical night in VA
• Karunya's musical night in Indianapolis