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When ragas rocked

Vikram Hazra enthralled audiences at the Raag `n' Rock concert



SWINGING STRINGS Vikram Hazra PHOTO: R. SHIVAJI RAO

Spiritual music can't get more entertaining than this. Between bhajans, some of them interwoven with guitar riffs that could be part of a high-voltage rock concert, Vikram Hazra uttered light-hearted lines that stayed on in the mind.

He said, "Sing along. But if you sing badly, keep your eyes closed so you can't see how it is affecting the person sitting next to you". Needless to say, Hazra had no reason to close his eyes when he was singing.

Hazra's "Raag n' Rock" concert at Kamarajar Arangam was a fundraiser for the Silver Jubilee celebrations of Art Of Living (which will be marked by a mass meditation programme at the Jakkur Airfield, Bangalore).

While introducing one song, he said, years ago two girls asked him to compose music for a bhajan based on a film song. Cheekily enough, they reassured Hazra, "We know you'll do a good job of it". The song was a twist on "Chinna Chinna Aasai" from "Roja". The song "Radhe Radhe Radheshyam" caused a riot of celebration. The seats went vacant and the aisles were full of people. When they had finished dancing, boys and girls made human trains that chugged through the aisles.

Hazra also spoke his mind. He said most were law-abiding and it is only a minority that acts in a manner that hinders others' peace.

"But how does this small group manage to cause so much havoc in the world? Because all the good people sit and think and think and think, get tired and go to sleep. Tell me which is more tiring — sitting idle and endlessly thinking about having to cook for your guests or going ahead and doing it? A terrorist does not postpone things. He does not give up the idea of blasting something because his son has exams that week."

Hazra also invited the audience to meditate with him. Towards the end, he sang an English song that is his and his father's all-time favourite.

At the end of it all, it was difficult to decide which was better — his skills on the guitar and the flute or his mesmerising voice. Together, they offered an experience that excelled anything Chennai has had in a long time.

P.F.

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