CHENNAI: The unique combination of English swag, malligai poo, a big bindhi and pattu saree – that’s Usha Uthup for you with her bold and hauntingly beautiful voice. Last weekend, Music Academy echoed with hers and Saindhavi’s voices with the magical tunes of Anil Srinivasan, and the ever active Chinni Jayanth, as they performed at Rock N Roll Chennai, a fundraiser for Chennai flood relief presented by Ace Events and Papa John’s.
It’s been 45 years since Usha began her career and she still enjoys performing James Bond numbers. Dressed in a gold and black saree, she sang, holding her pallu by the side, which has become a fashion statement. Wouldn’t you agree? Skyfall, Stand by Me, Partha Nygabam Illayo, Nee Partha Parvai, Darling and Why this Kolaveri Di were some of the songs she sang.
Among the many celebrities in the audience was Vyjayanthimala, whom Usha called to the stage. Usha playfully taunted Vyjayanthimala about daring to be so beautiful and used the phrase ‘Beauty and the Beat’.
While she took a break, Saindhavi and Chinni took to the stage at different intervals. Everyone knows Chinni is a good mimic so his presence demanded it. He told City Express that he plans to take up voice therapy classes and look at mimicry as an alternate career. In rapid flashes, legends were brought alive as Chinni mimicked the voices of Rajinikanth, Kamal Hasan and others. But he got the biggest applause for mimicking Sachin Tendulkar.
As Usha returned, the show progressed into a melodious dialogue between the artists and a sing-along interaction with the audience. Usha succeeded in making her first-reluctant members of the audience get the notes right for songs like Dum Maro Dum and Why This Kolaveri Di. Towards the end of the night, throats may have been parched but the voices of Usha, Chinni and Saidhavi continued to resonate along with Anil’s music.
Apart from giving audiences a unique musical experience, the Rock N Roll concert, part of the Voice of Hope series, aims to support deserving causes through the funds raised. Papa John’s recently associated itself with the donation drive to support the school project at Urapakkam by the Rotary Club of Madras.