Seven pm, Saturday, November 27, Purana Qila, New Delhi: The Manganiyar Seduction cast a magical spell on the city.
Rock concerts and Bollywood nights are not the only events to draw mammoth crowds. The 4000 plus people who turned up for The Manganiyar Seduction presented by Hindustan Times Brunch certainly proved that. The 67-minute-long show, directed by contemporary Indian theatre director Roysten Abel, featured over 40 Rajasthani folk musicians. It was a superhit – phones at the offices of Amarrass Society for Performing Arts, the non-profit organisation that put up the show, rang off the hook; enquiries poured in; and by the day of the event, even the last few donor passes were gone (a few hopefuls still lurked outside the venue minutes before the show).
Inside, the winter air crackled with anticipation and once the show began, it unleashed a palpable wave of energy – the audience clapped, cheered and swayed to the electrifying music. One hour swept by in one minute. “All over the world, we have always got a standing ovation, every single time”, Roysten Abel had said before the show. Delhi didn’t disappoint him. There were repeated shouts for an encore. And the Manganiyars obliged with an enchanting Krishna bhajan.
“It’s an incredible feeling to have finally accomplished what we had set out to do!” says Ankur Malhotra, one of the four founding members of Amar Rass. About 200 audio CDs of The Manganiyar Seduction were sold in less than an hour after the show. “In fact, we even managed to sell three LPs, which was a pleasant surprise, considering we hadn’t really expected to sell any on the spot”, laughs Malhotra. (You can still pick them up from Rhythm Corner, South Extension and Musicland, Saket)."There’s nothing like performing for a home crowd!" exclaimed Abel. "Thank you Delhi!" Abel isn’t the only one who wants to thank the city, though. Show conductor Daevo Khan, who kept everyone on the edge of their seats with his energetic movements and clicking wooden castanets (khartal) says that after performing all around the world, there was no greater joy than performing in his own country. "Dilli toh hamara hai…hum dil se pyaar karte hai India ko! (Delhi is ours and I love India from the bottom of my heart)", he said, speaking over a crackly line all the way from Keraliya, a remote village near Jaisalmer that he calls home. "Main Allah ka shukriya karta hoon ki unhone meri mulaquaat Roysten Abel se kara di…kyun ki Roysten hamare bade bhai jaise hai aur yeh sab unhi ka aashirwaad hai." (I want to thank Allah for meeting Roysten Abel. Roysten is like a big brother and all this is his blessing).
He has but one request: “Hamare gaon ke bare mein kuch likhe toh accha hoga…kuch nahi hai yaha pe, na paani, na bijli, na sadke…” (It would be good if you could write something about my village. There is nothing here…no water, no electricity, no roads…). “Badi meherbaani hogi” (We will be grateful).
CDs are available at these fine music establishments:
Rhythm Corner, South Extension Pt II market (also LP)
Rhythm and Blues, Green Park main market
The Music Shoppe, DLF Qutab Plaza, Phase I
Mercury, Khan Market (also LP)
Musicland, Saket PVR Complex and Janakpuri