The rain played a perfect host for a brief session of ghazal, called Rang Aur Noor, sung by Smita Bellur at the Bangalore International Centre recently. She was accompanied by Nisar Ahmed on the tabla and Siddharth on the harmonium.
The packed hall had people from all age groups who were intently listening to some of the most popular ghazals written and sung by maestros like Mehdi Hassan and Begum Akhtar.
After a brief description of how this style of singing originated and how it came to the country, Smita started with the first one E Mohabbat Tere Anjam Pe Rona Aaya, the
Begum Akhtar’s version written by Shakeel Badayuni.
“While the opening couplet or the sher of the ghazal is known as Matla, the last couplet has the pen name of the poet. The central theme of the ghazal can be unrequited love or it can have spiritual connotations as well,” explains Smita.
Melodious and crisp, the singer did not stick to just singing the original composition and innovated with the ragas. The short tukdas played by Nisar Ahmed set the tone of the evening and Smita even encouraged the audience to express their admiration for the ghazal or the sher.
This was followed by one of the most popular ghazals of the recent times, Ranjishi sahi dil hi dukhane ke liye aa. The wah wahs could be heard from all quarters as she sung one sher after the other. The highlight of the show was perhaps her unique style and the way she incorporated it in the ghazals she sang.
Varshini, who was there at the show, was listening to this popular style for the first time. “I had heard about ghazals and people enjoying them but this is the first time I am hearing it live. Now I know why people enjoy it. Each couplet is unique and fresh and yet connects to the central theme of the ghazal. The singer has a great voice and her style adds to the great show,” she notes.
Ranjishi Sahi was among the popular ones which she sang and many could be heard humming the ghazal. Girish, who was there at the show was enjoying himself.
“Ghulam Ali and Mehdi Hassan are timeless ghazal singers. I love ghazals and when I heard that there was a show, I made sure that I attended it. It is good to see that many ghazal lovers are here,” he says.