Roop Kumar Rathod celebrates 100 years of Indian cinema

By Hindustan Times

Two years after their successful UK tour, singers Roop Kumar Rathod and wife Sunali will head there once again this September for a ‘once in a lifetime’ concert. In the 100th year of Hindi cinema, this tour will celebrate four legendary Indian singers, Noor Jehan, Talat Mahmood, Mohd Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar. Presented by Saregama Events, the first concert is on September 5 in Birmingham, followed by Leicester (Sept 7) and London (Sept 8).

“The one in London is at the HMV Hammersmith Apollo, where the Beatles had performed earlier,” says Roop.Talking about reliving the memories of these four singers, he says the NRIs are very fond of classics by Lataji and Rafi saab, and have great nostalgia about them.

“Also both have sung some beautiful ghazals, a genre we specialise in, along with Talat saab and Noor Jehanji, who’re not as popular on the concert circuit,” reasons Roop. “This was our chance to salute these four maestros, with all-time favourites like, ‘Lag jaa gale...’ (Woh Kaun Thi, 1964), ‘Madhuban mein Radhika...’ (Kohinoor, 1960) and ‘Jalte hain jiske liye...’ (Sujata, 1959). “As a child, I’d learnt Noor Jehanji’s songs from my guru, along with Lata didi’s. Every contemporary singer aspires to perform these songs, live on a public platform. So for me, this is will be a dream concert,” says wife Sunali, adding that it’s a big responsibility, which she hopes to live up to.

Along with rarely heard classics like ‘O duniya ke rakhwale...’ (Baiju Bawra, 1952), ‘Ajeeb dastaan hai yeh...’ (Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai, 1960), ‘Itna na mujhse tu pyaar badha... ’(Chhaya, 1961) and ‘Chaandni raatein...’ (Dupatta, 1955), Roop will also sing some of his own Bollywood hits, including ‘Tujh mein rab dikhta hai...’ (Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, 2008), ‘Tere liye’ (Veer Zara, 2004), ‘Maula mere maula...’ (Anwar, 2010) and the award winning ‘Sandese Aate Hain’ (Border, 1997). “We will sing around eight duets and eight solos, and will be accompanied by some of our best musicians, including violinist Suresh Lalwani, guitarist Sushant Sharma, saxaphone and key flute player Raj Sodha, Akhlak Hussain on the harmonium, Raj Raniga on the keyboard and two percussionists, Asrar Ahmed and Hitesh Prasad.”

Roop adds that if this evening of timeless music works, they’ll be happy to tour the US too, and return to the UK next year, with four more legendary singers —Suraiyya, Mukesh, Asha Bhosle and Kishore Kumar.

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