Courtesy Mother Nature, it rained heavily in Chennai. Thanks to the singing
sensation from Bangaladesh, it rained music at Kamarajar Arangam. On this
rain-drenched evening, Runa Laila mesmerized the audience into captivity
with her telling numbers from across assorted categories of music. In the
end, Runa Laila and her band of musicians got a standing ovation – that
lasted a long while - from a highly involved cosmopolitan audience.
After several summers, Runa Laila returned to the city of Chennai to give a
concert on the final day of The Hindu Friday Review Fest on November 25,
2005. It was a fitting finale to the maiden attempt of the English morning
paper. The Bangaladeshi singer had indeed brought the message of love for
everyone from her country as she had announced before the break.
The singer straight away set the stage for an enlivening evening by
instantly striking a rapport with the large audience. It was evident all
through the twin session. When she sang the enticing film number “De De Pyar
De”, the audience went into a daze. The song was taken out of her album and
introduced in a film starred by Amitabh Bacchan. As she sang the song, she
descended from the stage and merged into the excited audience. Amidst
intermittent jostle, many in the audience tried to reach their hands out to
her. As the excitement reached a crescendo, a tremendous applause rented the
When she sang a Punjabi song in honour of the Governor of Tamil Nadu,
Mr.Surjeet Singh Barnala, she even egged him to join her in claps. She began
the concert with a Bengali folk song. It wasn’t a surprise, though. It was a
good beginning to a grand finale. As she proceeded to sing a Ghazal, the
audience demanded some popular numbers. She was both surprised and thrilled.
Surprised because she expected the concert to be serious. Thrilled because
the audience demanded some popular songs. Nevertheless, she went on
to sing a few ghazals like “Ranjish hi Sahi” composed by Faiz Khan and “Baat
Karni Mujhe Muskil” by Bahadur Shah Zafar. It was a controlled exercise in
ghazal-singing. Unlike the Traditional musicians, Runa Laila rendered them
standing and holding the mike. It must have been a tough exercise to do this
She also sang “'Mera babu chail chabila mein to naachoon gee”. She also sang
a number each from The Loves of Runa Laila and Super Runa. These albums were
recorded in a London studio. The audience, in an ecstatic mood, was very
thrilled and betrayed its excitement with a thunderous applause.
When the show recommenced after a break, she sang a bhajan on Lord Krishna.
Music knows no religion. And, Runa Laila revealed it when she rendered the
bhajan in bakthi-soaked way. It was wonderfully melodious. She said she
loved the song so much.
She also took up the songs “Tum aye ho na shab-e-intazar guzri hai ...” &
Gulon main rang bhare bad-e-naubahar chale ... “her hit numbers. As her
wont, she took up a Sindhi song at the request of a rasika and presented it
elegantly with her inimitable charm.
She drew the curtain down on the day’s show and Hindu Friday Review Fest
with the popular “Dama Dam Mast Kalander”. Runa Laila brought it to a
dramatic close as she reached the upper octave and stayed there for a long
while before terminating.
The capacity audience paid its salute to the sensational singer by giving
her a standing ovation.
Jahangir Hayat Khan on the keyboard, Mohammed Sadeque Ali on Octopad and
Milan Bhattacharjee on Tabla accompanied her. Fouad Naseer on Guitar were
working with her for a long time and had come with Laila to India.
playing the instruments was absolutely splendid.