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Heni's love for Hindi melody

In the country under the French Embassy?s Residency programme, Pascal Heni wants to bridge cultural gaps.

india Updated: Dec 25, 2003 13:20 IST
Arati Thapa
Arati Thapa

The Frenchman is an interesting presence on the stage as he emotes, prances and sings his favourite Bollywood songs. But it is another day at work for actor- comedian Pascal Heni. “I understand every word that I sing. Only then can I bring out the emotion that a song requires. The interpretation has to be correct,” says Pascal.

Heni was singing at Olive, the new restaurant near Qutub Minar, last weekend. His opening number for the evening was An Evening in Paris, the popular Shammi Kapoor song. One look at him is sure to make you smile as he jumps, Shammi-style, shaking and nodding his head. Also, it is interesting to watch Heni pull the strings of an imaginary kite as he belts out Chali chali re patang.

So, do the French really appreciate Bollywood numbers? “They may not understand the language but they do identify with my voice since it’s conspicuously French and they are fascinated with the melody,” he says. “Also a strong link can be recognised between songs of Indian mainstream cinema and French songs. The structure and length are similar at times,” he adds.

Melody of the Bollywood kind is what attracted him to Hindi songs and singing. Not just in Hindi, Heni can also sing in Tamil. Heni is fond of old, melodious numbers that are soothing. Although the accompanying orchestra may be a little too loud, the near perfect diction, albeit with a slight French accent, and an earnest effort to portray the right emotions are what you can expect. Thankfully the Bhangra beat is still to get him.

First Published: Dec 25, 2003 12:23 IST