One of the few TV programmes my parents and I can bond over is those featuring old Hindi film songs – songs from the mid-60s to the mid-80s, from the time of Lata, Asha, RD, Kishore, the time generally considered the golden era of Hindi film music, when melody reigned supreme and Yo Yo didn’t. These typically air from 9 pm, and we watch them while having dinner, and going, “Aah, those were the days”. (Something millennials are doing nowadays to songs from the 90s.)
Ever since I realised this, since moving back to Chennai, I have been on the look-out for a live concert celebrating this music that I can take my parents to, so that we can grow our bond some more. But these aren’t easy to come by in Hindi-deprived Chennai. And when they do, they don’t seem inspiring enough (read: of high-calibre talent) to attend.
So, when I got to know Amit Kumar – Kishore Kumar’s son who couldn’t quite achieve the same level of success in either Bollywood or Tollywood (the Bengali film industry), but I believe that’s because his voice was too similar to his dad’s, just like Aditya Narayan’s is to his dad, Udit’s – was coming to Chennai with a tribute concert to his dad, my ears were ringing with Kishoreda’s solos, duets, and yodels already.
I went through the paper ads. The concert is called ‘Baba Mere’, which seemed simple and sweet as a tribute name. One ad featured Kishore in the background, and the other featured a line-up of other singers, in small pics, most probably guest artistes who’d come at intervals and sing a solo/duet or two. But both ads featured a girl named Muktika Ganguly in the foreground, along with Amit, of course.
I went to the two mentioned ticketing sites. The rates seemed reasonable enough. Then, went through the “event info”, as my mom had curiously queried me, “You’re sure it’s not Bengali songs?” I didn’t think so, although this was the season of Durga Puja; after all, the Hindi-speaking population in Chennai is way bigger than the Bong population here.
The event info, though, talked about the inspiration behind the concert, and specifically ‘Baba Mere’. That is the name of Amit’s tribute album to his dad, but done for his daughter, Muktika (aha) who had never seen her grand-dad. (So, the ‘Baba Mere’ was also from Muktika to Amit.) They even did a video, which begins with both going to sleep for the night, then Muktika waking up soon after, waking up Amit, asking him about Kishore, and then both beginning to sing the titular song. (With such an insipid storyline, I couldn’t be bothered to find out if they went back to sleep after the song, or if the vision of Kishoreda appeared in their bedroom, or in their dreams. To keep matters within the family, Kishore’s wife, Leena Chandavarkar, had penned the lyrics. ‘Pati Mere’?) Anyway, I know all this, because I went to YouTube to check out the video. (Don’t ask why; maybe I wasn’t able to sleep. Or maybe because I was still desperately searching for the concert info.)
So, I had the background info, but what about the actual event info? What songs would it feature? Bengali songs? Hindi songs by Kishore? Hindi songs by Amit? Ouch, songs by Muktika? No idea. So, I went back to Google and tried ‘Baba Mera concert Chennai’. Apart from the two sites among the top results, there was one that had more info about the inspiration and details of the album – how Amit plans to have only 1000 CDs released, mention of more songs by Muktika (gulp), mention of tours in Chennai and Hyderabad… All this, and still no info of the concert songs itself. I Googled some more, and found some more angst-inducing results: there would be an album release and the event would last four hours… This event? Or the album release? Were both the same? Both would last four hours? Or just one? And, seriously, four hours? (Four hours of listening to Muktika would definitely having me go to sleep, or worse, never.)
I gave up. I wasn’t able to make out head or tail, or father and daughter, of the concert information, and decided to chuck it. If the organisers and ticketing sites (the sites had merely plugged in some PR release the organisers had passed along) couldn’t be bothered to correctly inform what this was about, I, or my parents, couldn’t be bothered to attend too. At least, I understand Bengali. The most Bengali my parents know are mishti and maach.
Seriously, How Not to Promote an Event. Or in this case, How to Promote Your Daughter. If so, Mr Amit Kumar, you should have begun by not naming her Muktika Mouthful Ganguly.