It’s been over three decades, yet from the annals of her dusty memory, Annette Pinto can recall most vividly, her time as a singer working with the godfather of Hindi film music, RD Burman.
“Panchamda was well-mannered, a real prince,” said Pinto, who sang a duet with Kishore Kumar on RD Burman’s popular hit Chhodo Sanam from the film Kudrat back in 1981.
The same song, one that the 62-year-old hasn’t heard in an age will be the highlight of a sufi, folk, rock, jazz fusion concert to take place today at the Bandstand Promenade. Classical singer and folk fusion artist Sona Mahapatra and her band will also perform covers of other musical marvels from the golden era of Hindi film music at the Celebrate Bandra Festival, held in partnership with Hindustan Times.
“I wanted it to be a very unusual two-hour set so we conceived of commemorating the musical geniuses who reside in Bandra by re-interpreting their songs.
People can expect songs from Gulzar’s repertoire, Kumar Gandharva songs, lounge versions of thumris and disco versions of actress Helen’s most popular song and dance routines,” said Mahapatra (32).
Pinto gave up singing seven years ago, but back in her day liased with musical giants such as Laxmikant-Pyarelal (“LP”), Kalyanji-Anandji, Burman and Kumar.
“Kishore was a very moody man, many people were afraid of him, but not me. He was great fun in the studio. As back-up vocalists, we were paid only Rs 125 a day,” Pinto recalled.
Born in Goa, Pinto moved to Bandra in Mumbai after marriage.
Singing for films was never her intention but when “LP” called her to sing back-up vocals (for songs whose names she barely recalls now), that gave her singing a major thrust in the Indian music industry. “Panchamda had fantastic rhythm. I did numerous solos with him,” said Pinto, a regular fixture of western choruses in Hindi music when in her 20s.
Though Pinto intends not to sing at the concert, Mahapatra is certain the nostalgia will move the former artiste to perform. “The stage is compelling. I gave up a roaring career as a marketing and systems professional to pursue singing.
The concert is my attempt to give back to Bandra, where I lived for eight years when I first moved to the city,” Mahapatra said.