Originally written by Radhika Iyer and published in lokvani.com
A packed house of more than 800 Bollywood music lovers gathered together at the beautiful Park Theatre in Cranston, Rhode Island on Saturday April 6, 2013, eager to travel down memory lane with New England's hottest new desi band, Din Check. The special musical evening was titled "5 Decades of Bollywood: A live musical journey" and featured hit songs from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s.
And what a journey it was! The mood was set as soon as the audience entered the hall, with songs from each of the featured decades playing and video presentations of images and clips from some of the most memorable scenes and songs of those decades as well. The show began with a bang as the band presented current Bollywood hits that were fast-paced and energetic. The entire stage was buzzing with activity with percussionists, guitars, keyboardists, bass guitar and violin all playing along with the dynamic singers.
The show then began in earnest with the host, Metro Boston's own Gauri Chandna, introducing the audience to each of the decades with her team of knowledgable emcees, including Siraj Khan, Harish Dang, Ranjani Saigal, Anil Saigal and Paresh Motiwala. Each decade was thoughtfully presented with a mix of melodious and lively numbers, and lead male singer Jolly Bhatia kept the flow going with his witty banter and interactions with the audience. The musicians were immaculate in their presentation, and their incredible effort was not lost on the audience, who consistently clapped and sang along, tapped their feet, danced in their seats and cheered loudly for every song. The singers not only sang their hearts out but also danced and acted out each of the songs. This band truly epitomizes the spirit of fun and masti!
"The show was fantastic!" said attendee Heather Mariani. "We had such a great time and enjoyed learning more about Bollywood."
The show was not only a musical treat for audience members but a visual treat as well. Several of the songs were accompanied by lovely dancers, including Shivani Shrivastava who dazzled the audience with her playful and stylistic "Radha" from Student of the Year, Nikita Rao who danced to "Piya Tu Ab To Aaja" from Caravan and along with her Dancing Divas team did a pumped up folk style dance to "Rangeelo Mharo Dholna" from Pyar Ke Geet, and Neena Singh, Madhuri Chillale, Anudha Gupta and Ritika Vatsa who did a beautiful rendition of "Kehna Hi Kya" from Bombay.
The performers and emcees all represented the decades by emulating the costumes and hairstyles of those times - most notably the host Gauri Chandna had a specially crafted look for each decade with costumes by Smita Dedhiya of Smita's Boutique and hair/makeup by Vidhi Dalia of Flawless Creations. Ranjani Saigal also had a lovely South Indian style look to emulate 80s queens Sridevi and Rekha, and the male emcees were not to be outdone with Siraj Khan donning a 60s Dev Anand cap, Harish Dang wearing a 70s suit and tie, Anil Saigal in a grand pagri from Choonri Collections to represent the 80s dulha and Paresh Motiwala fully decked out in a 90s tapori costume.
In addition to all the fabulous costumes, seamless transitions between decades were made possible by very professional and entertaining video work by Mustufa Taj. Food was provided by Saffron Grill of Framingham for those who wanted something heartier than theatre concessions, and a cash bar was available throughout the event.
The greatest highlight of the evening was the beautiful, soul-stirring music of Din Check's violinist Kira Taj. Each of her instrumental pieces received thunderous applause and cries of "Once more!!!". She also masterfully accompanied songs of all genres throughout the performance, from ballads like "Lag Jaa Gale" from Woh Kaun Thi to upbeat numbers like "Chaiyya Chaiyya" from Dil Se.
The dances were also particularly outstanding. "I loved Kehna Hi Kya," says Aarrthy Arunachalam from Harpers Ferry, WV, who attended the show while visiting relatives in New England. "The dancers and their costumes were beautiful, and I especially enjoyed how the singers blended both the Hindi and Tamil versions of the song."
Audience members were delighted by the presentation in its entirety. There was an underlying theme of fun to the event -- and the band did a fantastic job of showcasing the fun they have together as a group and making the audience join in the fun as well. The final segment of the show had audience members dancing in the aisles to "Beedi" from Omkara and "Sadi Gali" from Tanu Weds Manu. Din Check is definitely a great and unique addition the New England desi music scene and we look forward to their future shows!
(Photo credit to Daman Sidhu, http://faceboook.com/damansphotography )