Noted Indian playback singer Alka Yagnik thrilled South African audiences in a new diva avatar at a two-show tour at Durban and Johannesburg.
Alka, who a few years ago was criticised for her drab dress sense, hardly moving on stage, and appearing unprepared for a show by local critics, seems to have taken a heed and changed it all.
A more confident Alka not only moved about the stage gracefully in stunning and elegant outfits but also cracked jokes and went all the way to sit on the edge of the stage at times to interact with the audience.
Belting out some of the scores of her hits she has sung over the years, the 44-year-old velvet-voiced singer reminded the audience in a tongue-in-cheek manner that she was essentially a playback singer and would have preferred to sing from behind the stage.
Alka, who has enjoyed a 30-year-old career in Bollywood and still going strong, also asked members of the audience to join her on stage for some numbers, including her now traditional finale song that first shot her to fame, Ek Do Teen from Tezaab starring Madhuri Dixit and Anil Kapoor.
The audience really came alive when Yatharth Ruthnum (13) and Sreyasi Bhattacharjee (14), stars of Indian reality musical Sa Re Ga Ma L'il Champs, rendered a range of items with voices showing a maturity that belied their age.
Reality TV show Fame Gurukul's former contestant Rex D'Souza also accompanied Alka and performed the K for Kishore Kumar series.
The two-day extrvaganza was held at the International Convention Centre in Durban on May 22 and the following day May 23, at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg.