It was a melodious story of music, love and devotion that wrapped up the Odisha Literary Festival-2012 on Saturday night. Witnesses to this gripping musical narrative were Bhubaneswar denizens who thronged the venue in large numbers.
Drawn by the unprecedented popularity of the ‘Queen of Sufi’, Rekha Bharadwaj - they were seen anxiously waiting at the venue for her concert for over an hour before the gates were opened.
The audience were clearly exhilarated as she began on a sombre note, dedicating to Bhubaneswar ‘kalam’, Allah Hi Allah, composed by husband Vishal Bharadwaj. Starting off with ‘Tere Ishq Mein’ and then going on to ‘Ishqa Ishqa Ala Hoo’, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s ‘Tere Bin Nayi Lagta...’ and Gulzar’s ‘Raat Ki Jubaan,’ Rekha expressed her love for Sufi music.
A few more soulful renditions later, the versatile singer broke into popular ‘filmy’ numbers, her robust voice reverberating the commodious venue. Rekha’s tempo varied from high pitch to gentle lilting, from a heady whirl to soft melody. The talented accompanists’ of her band, Aziza, showed off their skills in an interlude.
A recipient of the 58th National Film Award for the Best Female Playback Singer, Rekha enthralled the audience with her melodious voice, singing famous hits such as ‘Genda Phool’ from Delhi-6, ‘Namak’ from Omkara, ‘Ranjha Ranjha’ from Raavan, among many others. Those seen sitting calm in their chairs until then, jumped to their feet as Rekha pumped up the tempo with the much-popular ‘Darling’ from Saat Khoon Maaf.
“It was an absolute pleasure to be part of this festival tonight. Rekha did an amazing job,” said Pandit Raghunath Panigrahi, showering encomiums on the singer and her band. Her husky and incredibly sensual voice transported the audience to an ethereal world, lingering on way after the evening drew to a close. What an uplifting evening!