When I (Alyque Padamsee
) began work on Jesus Christ Superstar in 1974, I was l ooking for a singer to play the part of Judas. I saw Nandu singing at a disco club. The moment I heard him sing, I knew he was the perfect fit.
We offered him the role and he accepted it. The rehearsals took around six months. Nandu not only practised his part, but also trained the other singers.Read: Veteran rock vocalist Nandu Bhende passes away at 58
As his style was more rock, I sat with him to work on his diction. He was a good learner and his ability to pick up things was remarkable.
I remember how every rehearsal would result in a party. My mom would serve us kebabs and Nandu would sing his heart out.
I always requested him to sing Nights in white satin. Even after many years, whenever I’d meet him at his shows, I would request this song. And he would reply in jest that he’d run out of satin suits. Those were the days of the real rock n roll.
When I wanted to revive the play this year, I spoke to him. I told him that he couldn’t play Judas because the new cast was much younger, but it would be amazing if he could be an advisor.
He said yes. Nandu was a wonderful person, very helpful and always smiling. If I could convey a message to him now, I would tell him Rock on!.