Sunitha Sarathy the singer, is an old friend of mine. We go way back. KG days in school. As we grew older, in our teens, we would sing together and won many competitions mostly because she sang wonderfully whilst not overpowering the rest and our band had instrumentalists, which was quite rare for girls' schools to have. Her solos even then, clinched the prize for us am sure. Later, she pursued singing and has a truly gifted voice -- sings very very well. Am not convinced that she has got all the accolades her singing deserves, but that's another matter.
When I heard that she was singing in a tribute to MJ concert, I was quite kicked. As it is, i consider myself a major MJ 'appreciator' and now this. So, I paid a thousand bucks to attend this concert, with the proceeds going towards a cause. I knew there were others as well: Shankar Mahadevan, Benny Dayal, Blaaze, and so many others, but the main attractions for me were Sunitha, Shankar and Blaaze.
As we walked in to take our places on Wesley Grounds, my friend remarked: "You know, MJ has not yet been buried so if these guys don't sing well, he will get up and come and slap their faces!". Hmmm. Something to think about.;)
At the concert, I found out just how tough it was to have even dared to do a tribute to a performer like MJ. Clearly we are grossly challenged in the dancing department, but it was a shock that we were challenged in the singing department too. Honestly, not because she is my old friend or anything, but Sunitha Sarathy saved the day! She can sing and her passion for MJ was evident in her body language too. Other saviours were Blaaze, Timmy and Naresh Iyer. Anu was not bad either.
The rest of the female singers other than Anu were like some hotel/nightclub singers. RJ Suchi as Radio jockey and playback singer Suchitra is better known as, sang Beat It and it was ...nothing to get excited about. She should have just sung it in her bathroom and been done with it. Oh and the actress Andrea who sang did not do wonders, but no blunders either. There was just not enough MJ in her singing, that's all.
Other singers were 'pitchy' too. Benny Dayal was soooo insipid in his rendering of MJ songs, it was an outrage. Why sing when your heart is not in it? Especially when it is NOT a free show? Nee maduraikkey poidu pa.
The others like Kavitha, Suvi, Roshni, etc. whilst not particularly pitchy, gave very hotel-like and nightclubby performances. Ok for an evening out with nothing to do but drinks and eats. Not Ok for a tribute concert, dearies.
Naresh Iyer was good. Did justice to the songs he sang and is a sincere singer. Sincere to the music. We need that. Haricharan also seemed sincere but sadly, a bit pitchy. Was most enthu and anyday, i can forgive an enthu singer who makes a few mistakes when compared with a know-it-all who ...just does not cut it.
Shankar Mahadevan: The great attraction and wonderful singer. Came on stage, raised expectations to the sky and sang 'aaaaaaaaaa' for a MJ number (did not recognise it but assume MJ number) Indian ishtyle, which was nice but not nice enough. Tribute to MJ, remember? And then, he introduced his son to the audience and got HIM to sing the song. Ummm, hallo? Pulikku pirandhadhu poonai aagumaa and so on is so NOT impressive when you try to shove the poonai down our throats. You, Shankar, made a mark on your merit. Allow your son to appreciate that. Don't hoist him onto your golden platform, cos we do not appreciate it. Let him sing his way up and not ride uppu mootai on your back. Capiche?On top of that, there was a nephew of his also around. Puh-lease.
Blaaze I quite enjoyed. He is cool and the chorus of his own composition as a tribute that went "one: I like Michael, two: you like michael, three: WE like michael" was slightly childish but at least something refreshing. Plus the rap style and 'yo'yo' business was quite perfect.
Then there was a powerful performer called Timmy who was very good. Not GREAT for MJ style, but otherwise great. Thank you, sire for being there. One of the saviours of the tribute.
A young girl sang a childhood number of Michael's and she too fitted the bill. Forget her name.
Blink and you'll miss him was Karthik. Frankly, the nightclubby singers quite put me to sleep that I had to rouse myself for the better numbers with difficulty. Why then did I stay for the entire show? Oh, because it was tribute to MJ and not about these various singers with only 4 out of a dozen worth a 'watch and listen' that night.
At the end, predictably, we had 'Heal the World' and 'We are the World'. Both were fine because we, the audience, sang along.;)
The music was produced by Pravin Mani and whilst it was a good effort, it was not good enough. The dancers should have practiced better and if a singer was not cutting it, he or she should have been cut out. Please, people! When are you going to give credit ONLY where it is due? Why does everything have to be diluted by pleasing this bozo and that? There was one dancer who stood out with a cool moonwalk to his credit. Very smooth. MJ would have been proud. Another good thing was they had a screen as the backdrop that had many an MJ still. That was cool and a great respite from much of the singing!
At the end, I have to say that MJ is inimitable and thankfully, we have the many videos and music recordings to listen to that will finally be the real tribute this golden performer deserves.
Immortal music and performances.
Now, you other so-called MJ fans-cum-pseudo singers out there, just BEAT IT!