Sonu Nigam Seduces Audiences with his Romantic Melodies

Sankara Eye Foundation’s Concert A Huge Success

Story & Pictures by Sindhu Ravuri
IPM Reporter

There is only word to describe Sonu Nigam’s live in concert in San Jose: Seductive. The audiences, male and female alike, were wooed, mesmerized and coerced into a dream world of romantic melodies, with Sonu’s looks and jigs as added bonus. He mercilessly rendered one soul-wrenching song after another, unapologetic to the nostalgic sighs, with a chameleon-like voice spun cheerfully into bliss. He single-voicedly and tirelessly sang about 40 songs making it a complete paisa vasool event to his fans. If you’ve been to Shreya Ghosal and Udit Narayan and other such events, you will know that the stars hardly sing ten to 12 songs in total leaving the bulk of the performances to comedy acts and junior singers but Sonu Nigam sang one song after another with extreme control and stamina. He did not select just his own hit songs as again most singers do but went back to the 60s and 70s, choosing classics like “An Evening in Paris,” “Yeh dil na hota bechara,” “Yeh Mera Dil,” “Tu Bas Dede Mere Saath,” and so on.

The Sonu Nigam-Klose To My Heart concert held in the San Jose State College Event Center proved to be a successful fundraiser for Sankara Eye Foundation. Nigam’s concert, with an orchestra consisting of more than 35 instrumentalists and led by Yogesh Pradhan, raised more than $200,000 with donations from generous donors and proceeds from the event. The center was packed with 4000 people who thoroughly enjoyed the almost 4-hour show which started promptly on time.

“Sankara Eye Foundation is proud to have hosted the event by the world-renowned singer Sonu Nigam as a fundraiser for the upcoming hospital in Uttar Pradesh,” said K. Murali Krishnamurthy, founder and executive chairman of Sankara Eye Foundation, USA to India Parent Magazine. “SEF needs to raise $1.6 million in order to start construction of the UP hospital by December 2012, and this event helped a lot in achieving that goal.”

Sonu Nigam talked highly about Sankara as an organization dedicated to the noble cause and felt that he was part of the Sankara movement through his music. He also appreciated the impeccable efforts of the foundation for pulling such a large event smoothly. “The foundation is very polite and humble,” he said to the audience repeatedly. “Best sponsor I could have wished for.”

 After a couple of opening songs by his sister Teesha Nigam, Sonu blasted on to the stage in a white jodhpuri-like suit with a maroon brocade work. The 38-year-old with his long curly hair and intense handsome face, added to his romantic renderation of melodious songs and soulful ghazals, made audience swoon. His ability to attract both teenagers and adults with his voice was as blatant as a fire truck with all sirens blaring and lights flashing. Women (and I mean, just women) ran to the area in front of the stage to get a closer look of the star when he started singing Madan Mohan’s classic “Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho,” which he performed in both male and female voices. Originally sung by Mohammud Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar and picturized on Navin Nischol, Sonu Nigam calls it as easily the most romantic song of all time. When women flocked to the front Sonu even asks security to leave them alone until he finishes another foot-tapping song due to the appreciation he feels for his fans.

 “God, I love him,” said 42-year-old Pavithra Rangarajan from Pleasanton. “I just forget the world while listening to him. And to top it all he is so good looking. It’s like icing [on a cake].” A similar opinion is expressed by a 14-year-old teenager from Cupertino High School who did not want her name mentioned. “He’s gorgeous. And all those romantic songs just drove me crazy.” Both intolerant and indulgent at the same time, Sonu asks some audience members who were wise-cracking at his right to simply shut up while at the same time humbly asking permission from the others if he can take time to talk during a song. It’s obvious that he is moody and yet inseparable from this great talent of music, just music. Any song he picked to sing by any singer sounded like an original. He wouldn’t spare even Lata Mangeshkar, singing her classic “Aa Jaaneja” from Inteqam and all the while did Helen’s hip thrusts, driving audience crazy. The second half saw him in a white thin pullover and blaring red pants with a shiny belt. His father opened the second half with Kya hua Tera Vaada. “He is my first idol and inspiration,” said a proud Sonu.

 After telling the audience that he has a gift for them, he calls his 6-year-old son Neevan Nigam on stage to render a couple of songs including the popular Kolaveri Di. Despite the hour approaching midnight, Neevan seemed wide awake and did not stop smiling. Looking like a young replica of his father with similar hair style and complexion, he crooned impressively to Abhi Mujh Mein Kahin. He ran back stage after cheerfully singing a couple more songs with Sonu carrying him protectively in his arms. At one juncture Sonu even asks a photographer who is trying to take a picture of the child alone to back off, never letting his son out of his arms. “Please go away, please go away,” he kept repeating to the photographer who was insisting on solo picture.

 Later, sitting on a high stool, he soulfully sang several more ghazals. Talking fondly of Jagjit Singh and Mehdi Hassan, who passed away this year, he shares some great moments spent with the legends with the Bay Area audience.

When he sang Agneepath’s “Abhi Mujhe Mein Kahin” he revealed that this is a song which he doesn’t sing to all crowds or in all concerts. “This is special to my fans in Bay Area, who have been simply great,” he confided to the cheering crowd.

Sonu took the concert to an infernal crescendo when he started beating the drums and immersed himself in the beats. Finally after 40 soulful songs one after the other, he leaves the stage with difficulty giving the impression that he didn’t want to abandon his fans or the singing.

“It was amazing,” said Ram of Cupertino. “Time just flew. He sang so many good songs, without really any problem or exhaustion. No other singer I know of can do that. And I’ve been to many concerts. He simply loves what he is doing and it shows.”

 Sankara Eye Foundation is grateful for the generous donations and support of its donors and sponsors on its journey to eradicate curable blindness in India. SEF’s mission is to realize its goal of “Vision 20/10 by 2020,” performing free eye surgeries to the rural blind. In 2011 alone, Sankara Eye Foundation performed 140,000 eye surgeries free of cost. Sankara has now established nine hospitals across India. All of these hospitals are already up and running, performing thousands of eye surgeries and eye camps per year. SEF has just completed the ninth hospital in Ludhiana, Punjab and is gearing up for the tenth hospital in Uttar Pradesh. SEF has obtained land in the state of Uttar Pradesh to build a hospital in Kanpur. Uttar Pradesh Mandal, North America (UPMA) has been an invaluable partner in helping with all aspects of the project, including the acquirement of land. A paramedic staff has already started training in an 18-month course in order to be ready for the hospital s inauguration. SEF needs to raise $1.6 million in order to start construction of the UP hospital by December 2012. Please help SEF build the Kanpur hospital and bring the gift of vision to Uttar Pradesh. Become a founding donor and have your name or your loved ones inscribed forever on the wall of the hospital premises.

For more information 1-866-SANKARA or visit