As the Bollywood industry reaches its 100th year in existence, Roop Kumar Rathod and Sunali Rathod invited journalists to the Courthouse Hotel in London to celebrate the true legends of Indian cinema, the playback singers. The occasion was Saregama Events launching their ��Celebrating the Legends�۪ concert to the British public and it was met by an audience who have a true appreciation for music.
The event was hosted by Amarpal Singh Gaind, Saregama�۪s head of operations for Europe, who was delighted to welcome the Rathod couple to the UK. Mr Gaind said: ���Celebrating the Legends is our grandest project to date and we don�۪t mind being loud and proud about it. We will be honouring some of the sub continent�۪s finest singers and their landmark songs. Roop and Sunali are classically trained musicians and yet commercially successful, therefore are the most appropriate choice to pay tribute to these great artists.�
Gaind was keen to point out that this is not only the 100th anniversary for the Bollywood film industry. Mohd.Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Talat Mahmood and Noor Jehan all started their careers with the record label EMI and not only are they classical singers but they also sing ghazals, sufi and folk music as well as the popular Bollywood hits.
Roop Kumar and Sunali were chosen for these concerts because of their dedication and commitment to the project from the start. The singers will pay tribute and perform hits by Mohd.Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Talat Mahmood and Noor Jehan in a series of concerts around the UK. Mr Gaind said: ���Roop Kumar and Sunali�۪s commitment to the project has been remarkable. They have been rehearsing every day and all the musicians for the concerts have been handpicked and are experts in their fields.�
The classical singers were honoured to accept the project and described the chance to perform these tributes to such renowned singers as an honour. Sunali said: ���It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to come and perform to the classical singers we idolised during our childhoods. It is all thanks to Saregama and to the audience in London. Back in 2010, we performed at the Royal Festival Hall to a full house and it was exhilarating.�
She went on to say,� London is a hub for music. I have met Brazilian and Spanish singers here and that was all by sitting in Ronnie Wood�۪s caf̩ which is one of my favourite places. We honeymooned here so London is very special to me.�
One of the issues the couple talked about was the east and west fusion in Indian music and how it has impacted on singers. Roop Kumar said: ���Fusion is the latest craze due to the Internet. These days, rather than having a three hour concert, it is good to have other singers. It is good for the youth to have western singers. If I sing for 3 hours, they will get bored but if there is fusion then they will be entertained and understand classical music a lot better.�
Bollywood has had a huge influence on music and Roop Kumar Rathod has had the honour to do playback singing for the likes of Shah Rukh Khan in ��Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi�۪ and ��Veer Zaara�۪. ��When asked about who his favourite star was to sing for, Roop Kumar replied: ���Ideally I would like to sing for myself. However, think of it this way. The star is the wind and we�۪re the khushboo. The star takes us to the audience but we�۪re the real khushboo. It doesn�۪t matter who stars in the film, it is the song that matters. Look at my song ��Maula Mere�۪. The actor was new and known as Manisha Koirala�۪s brother and was seen first and last in that film but the song still lives on till this day.�
Sunali was asked whether she would ever consider singing for Bollywood who replied that she doesn�۪t think it is for her. ���At the age of 10, I was asked by my guru, Ustaad Hridayanath Mangeshkar why I wanted to sing. Having listened to them on the radio, I replied that I wanted to sing for films like Mohd. Rafi and Asha Bhosle. Despite being Lata Mageshkar�۪s brother, he said to forget Bollywood films and just learn to sing. The next day, he had the tanpura out and said I had to learn how to sing classical music first. I don�۪t think I ever said I wanted to sing in Bollywood films again,�
The couple then entertained the audience with some classics including Roop Kumar�۪s rendition of the evergreen ��Maula Mere�۪. One thing�۪s for sure, the couples’ voices will keep the audience hooked this September and you will truly feel as though you have been taken away into a land of classical music.
Check out pictures from the event below.