By Natalia Ningthoujam
Guwahati, Feb 1 (IANS) Sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan and Udyan Sagar aka DJ Nucleya brought down the curtain on the three-day Rongali — Destination, Culture, Harmony — a festival of Assam here.
The third day started on a powerful note with Nishant Hagjer passionately playing the drums. After his energetic performance, Amjad Ali Khan took the stage with his two tabla players — Shubh Maharaj and Satyajit Talwalkar.
Before starting off with a recital, the sarod expert, who is married to Subhalakshmi Barua Khan, said: “It’s an honour to be here.” He also hoped that more tourists visit the northeastern state.
Paying respect to the 13th century Sufi poet Amir Khusro, Amjad Ali Khan vocalised and played a tarana.
But what drew loud applause from the audience, which mostly consisted of localites, was when he said: “After my marriage in Assam, I learnt folk music. I will play a Bihu song and folk music from Bengal.”
The attendees, mostly youngsters who had come over to dance to the beats of DJ Nucleya, were left enchanted.
The last classical piece was with his two accomplished sons Amaan and Ayaan, who first touched his feet and then sat down next to him to create magic with their sarod.
Amidst performance, Amjad Ali Khan also stressed on the importance to stay connected to music. “Keep listening to music as it connects the whole world. It’s a precious gift of god.”
The Padam Vibhushan awardee, who was conferred an honorary doctorate last year by Kaziranga University in Assam for his contribution towards Indian culture and music, was also felicitated at the fest along with his family and the table players.
The star family then thanked the audience in Assamese.
This was followed by a presentation on Assam film industry, which began its voyage in 1935. George Baker and Binita Borgohain Mitra — the stars of 1975 Assamese drama film “Chameli Memsaab” took the stage and praised the film industry, which completed 80 years last year.
George, a member of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), said that lately the censor board has been in news for various controversies, but he is glad that “not a single Assamese film had made a controversy. We have to keep going ahead”.
The second edition of the fest then focused on fashion with Assamese designers like Dhiraj Deka and Garima Saikia Garg showcasing their colourful creations.
“I will be showing eri knitted stoles and Assamese silk garments both for men and women,” Deka told IANS prior to his show that saw models in casuals, Mekhela Chadar (traditional costume of Assam) and bandi jackets with pants.
Going back to music, the “Barfi!” singer Papon was happy to perform in his home state again. Apart from some of his Assamese numbers, he made the crowd sway to his Bollywood hit songs like “Tu jo mila” and “Moh moh ke dhaage”, which he sang along with a female singer named Sharmishtha. He ended his performance with a Bihu song.
The city’s Sonaram field was filled with people enjoying his music and doing the Bihu dance.
Papon then gave way to DJ Nucleya, who performed in Assam for the first time on such a large scale. He was set to play in the afternoon, but the city’s music lovers’ eagerness to catch him live made the organisers push his performance to the end. That was certainly a wise call as the youngsters were more than eager to dance to EDM tracks.
“We don’t have EDM festivals as such. Assam is mostly about rock and folk music, so having DJ Nucleya here is a thrilling experience. Having him as the last act instead of Papon or Zubeen Garg was a good change,” said a 22-year-old, who reached the venue in the afternoon itself.
The DJ did not leave the crowd disappointed. With hands up in the air and feet moving to the fast-paced songs, the attendees surely had a good time. Some of them even got on stage to dance to songs like “Laung gawacha” and “Akkad bakkad”.
The visuals on the screen behind him encouraged the crowd to dance even more. There were visuals of Bollywood superstar Salman Khan doing the signature “Hudd hudd dabangg” moves, and also of comedy star Rowan Atkinson, famously known as “Mr. Bean”, shaking a leg.
His show went beyond midnight, still the crowd shouted: “Once more.”
With such a diverse line-up of artistes, the fest concluded on a musical note on Sunday.
(The writer’s visit has been sponsored by the festival’s organisers. Natalia Ningthoujam can be contacted at email@example.com)