“Why don’t we have this kind of day every month,” said Rakesh Chaurasia, standing at the door of his green room just before a performance at the Rang Sharda auditorium in Bandra.
Outside, hundreds waited to hear the fusion band Rakesh and Friends merge notes from the flute with the beats of the drum as played by Gino Banks, the strumming of guitars by Sanjoy Das and Sheldon D’Silva, Sangeet Haldipur on the piano and Sridhar Parthasarthy on the mridangam.
At the other end of Mumbai, Sukhwinder Singh had the crowd on their feet at Ballard Estate, with hits like ‘Jalwa’ and ‘Haule haule’. “When HT called me to do the show I was thrilled,” he said. “It’s a fabulous concept and it feels good to be a part of such an initiative.”
Both concerts were presented by 109oF as part of the Hindustan Times No TV weekend fest, with the RAF gig also presented by LIC.
Fans of both artistes had made it from near and far. In the crowd at the Bandra event was 31-year-old engineer Rohan Manohar from Dahisar. “The vibe here is great. Our city really needs more such events,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sakshi Bhatia, 26, an animator from Navi Mumbai had made it all the way to Ballard Estate to hear one of her favourite musicians perform. “It’s so exciting to see the buzz here today,” she said. “I love No TV Day. It’s so true that until you switch off the box, you never find the time to do unique things.”
Actress Richa Chaddha made a guest appearance at this gig too. “When I was a kid, we used to play on the roads and were not surrounded by technology. HT’s No TV day is giving the people of this generation an experience of my past,” she said.
Niyati Gujar, a 31-year-old advertising executive from Santacruz, said she couldn’t wait for the next No TV Day. “I love the concept,” she added. “I attend a performance or workshop every time. This time I have also signed up to for a food workshop and a zumba session tomorrow.”
Homemaker Sunanda Kandu, 41, from Dadar said it felt good to spend a day outdoors and away from screens with her two children, aged 17 and 8. “It’s made our Saturday different and my kids are really having fun,” she added.
The TV had been off all day at the Chaurasia home too. “It felt so nice and silent,” the musician said, “with no TV playing.”