Meghna Raje had only ever sung on stage once before, but on Wednesday evening she gathered the courage to sign up for the karaoke sing-along at Bandra Reclamation. “I’m proud to be a bathroom singer,” said the Air India employee as she girded her vocal chords for a sophomore rendition of Teri Bindiye Re from Abhimaan.
The ‘Come All Sing All’ event held at Reclamation Promenade as part of the Celebrate Bandra Festival, in partnership with Hindustan Times, was all about bringing out the singer in the aam aadmi.
“This is a community festival, people should participate, not just watch performances,” said organiser Dr Sandhya Kathavate, who conceptualised the event after a deluge of requests last year asking for a relaxed sing-along.
Equipped with a song list of 1,000 Hindi films songs, a karaoke machine providing the background music and a screen on which to read the accompanying lyrics, the performers eagerly unleashed their inner Lata Mangeshkars and Kumar Sanus.
Pappu Can’t Dance Saala wasn’t on the song list in the karaoke apparatus, to one participant’s chagrin, but for the middle-aged crowd it was the golden oldies that drew the claps and foot taps. Performers belted out numbers like Yeh Reshmi Zulfein, Jab Koi Baat Bigad Jaaye and Chura Liya.
For first-time performer Narendra Kumar it was a “wonderful experience” going up on stage. “I had never done this before, this technology really let me realize my ambition of singing in front of an audience,” said the Pune resident. With the “magic mike” calibrated to the pitch of each individual performer the organisers hoped to make seemingly impossible to sing songs accessible to the lay bathroom singer.
Despite technical glitches, lyrics being misread — or not read at all — and keys and notes going off kilter, no one seemed to mind much.
It was, after all, as the comperes kept assuring participants and onlookers alike, “not a competition but a singing session among friends”.