Sunday, February 22, 2009

My Exploits on Stage

Singing was my hobby so I grew up singing in every cultural programme of my school and later college in Shimla. Mohammad Rafi was my idol and ideal. My voice also suited singing his songs. My immediate guru was my class mate Hari Sandhu, a very good singer himself, who used to give me tips on how to maintain 'sur and taal' while singing. He is now working with All India Radio and is a Hindi News Redaer on FM Gold.

Though i never learnt Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, of hindustani music formally, but i could handle any song, light or semi-classical to the full satisfaction of my listeners. Singing became my obsession and as a result I bagged the coveted best singer award in Inter College Music Competition held at Rampur Bushahar (H.P.) in 1972 --73. I also got a chance to sing on All India Radio, Shimla. But the most satisfying moment of my singing spree was when we, the Ex-Services Officers, had organised an RD Burman nite at Birla Mathushri Hall in Bombay in 1992. I expressed my desire to sing with Burman da. He was kind enough to permit me to go on stage with his troupe. And my prize was the repeated calls from the audience for another song and a smile from Pancham da himself. The song was तुम बिन जाऊं कहाँ -- Mohd Rafi version.
(come on my audience, any one reading this??)
Though singing was my passion, yet acting was forced down my throat by my school teachers. As a sikh boy i had very long hair and i was always forced to act as mother, wife, bhabi, daughter etc in the cultural programmes of our all boys school at Shimla. Though i never pursued acting but in the bargain i have the distinction of having rubbed shoulders on stage with Anupam Kher and Vijay Kashyap ( TV serial 'Tenali Rama' fame) who were my school and college mates respectively.

The prize winning role that I have to my credit was that of Mumtaj, the mughal Empress in whose memory her husband, Emperor Shajahan built Taj Mahal at Agra (India). It was the depiction of the scene where her soul appears before Shajahan who was put in prison by his son Aurangzeb. I w
as wearing a pure white silk gown with my long tresses flowing, which had been carefully shampooed for the occasion. I was put on top of a wooden platform which was lowered gradually with lot of incense sticks burning underneath to create the effect of a soul descending from heavens, looking down at the Emperor who was lying on his death bed. I have been able to lay hands on the photograph where i am receiving a prize from the chief guest at the end of the function. Have a look.

Yup, that's me :-))



This post also forms part of series on my life journey. To read all the posts in this series, please click here.




24 comments:

Reflections said...

LOL......that must have been a fun childhood & boyhood:-D

Balvinder Singh said...

Oh yes, childhood and school days at Shimla were really full of exitement. Sledging and ice skating in winters, trekking in summers. Those days Shimla was such a nice small town. Every body knew every body and if you were not seen on the Mall in the evenings for a few days, people will start enquiring about your health. I will write about it all sometime. Thanks for the visit. I have sent my address on your mail.

Mampi said...

Aww,
this was really cute.

Balvinder Singh said...

Thanks Manpreet, I had so many more pictures of my school days but most have been filched by relatives and friends.

Reflections said...

And the nominations are....

Gazal said...

it's great to see that you have preserved these pictures.

wow.... a fauji blogging.

Mampi said...

Strangely, my blogroll shows you updated an hour back,
however, the post that is loading is this old one.
am so disappointed.

Balvinder Singh said...

Manpreet in fact i typed the header of my hindi blog and uploaded the same by mistake on this blog and later did some cut and paste. Sorry for the disappointment.

Gazal, thanks for the visit. Yes i have been able to save some of the pictures. I will be posting more as and when i lay hands on them.

Yeah, this is the other side of a fauji.

Mampi said...

yes i suspected this

Mampi said...

I have blogrolled my Punjabi blog -KAGHAZ DE KUJH PURZAI - too.
In case you are familiar with Gurmukhi, spare sometime for it.

Balvinder Singh said...

मनप्रीत, तुहाडा दूजा ब्लॉग देखिया, मैं तुहाडे गीतां रुपी झील दी गहराई देख के थोड़ा चकरा गिया सां, कुझ सम्भलन तों बाद फेर झाती मारांगा.

my space said...

Lol! What fun it must have been..incense sticks..too good...came thru mampi`s blog..

Balvinder Singh said...

Thanks Arti, yes it was real fun. The idea of creating lot of smoke around me from incense sticks came from one of the fellow students during rehearsals and the effect was fantastic.

tulips said...

u seem to an all rounder! I too would sing quite well until i joined singing class & my teacher ran off!

hari sandhu said...

hii balvinder,how ru?good to see u aftr such a long time thru ur pics on net.u have nt given any email id.so,
u can contact me on my email id- sandhuhari@yahoo.com

Balvinder Singh said...

Hi Hari,

Look at the genius of the web world that we have been able to connect after a long time, may be after thirty years' gap. I am now working with Reserve Bank of India and posted at Calcutta. I left Indian Army in 1987 and joined RBI in 1990. Are you still with AIR. I heard you on FM once. I keep writing out my old memories on my blog. What a lovely time that we all had in the school. I still remember maths teacher Ram Lal's thrashing. And do you remember that song "Lai dey nee bandook bhabiyey, nikka deor teraa arzaan guzaarey" in which i had acted as bhabi. How did you come accross my blog ? My mail id is balvindersingh@rbi.org.in . Keep in touch.



Regards



Balli

Pinku said...

hey!!!

awesome post...and hats off to you for having the guts to put up a pic where you are dressed as a girl.

The Pancham da episode is especially endearing. You sure have some lovely memories to bank upon.

shail said...

OMG you did have lovely tresses and made a perfect Mumtaz!! :-))))

shail said...

...and yeah you are a Rafi fan. Glad to know that you sing too!! Wonderful.

Indyeah said...

Balvinder Sir!this is so cute!!
and the picture absolutely astonishes!!:D
what an absolutely amazing Mumtaz you made!and thats really sporting of you to share it with us!:)

however what made my jaw drop was this!''I expressed my desire to sing with Burman da. He was kind enough to permit me to go on stage with his troupe. And my prize was the repeated calls from the audience for another song and a smile from Pancham da himself. The song was तुम बिन जाऊं कहाँ ''Oh my god!!reallly???
You were so lucky!!so lucky!!
what a moment to have in one's life!!

I am amazed!
and if Pancham da smiled then rest assured you sang and do sing well indeed!:)
absolutely loved reading this!thank you for leading me here!!:)

Balvinder Singh said...

Pinku thanks, sorry i forgot to come here after your comment. Yes some guts to post my pic dressed up as a girl. To share with you i was actually feeling a little hesitent to put up this pic here, but then seeing our male film stars dressed up as girls in every second movie took away my fears.

Thanks Shail, yes i sing now also but in the confines of my house only. One day in the club which i visit regularly, i got a chance to sing on Karaoke, and i did not do a bad job as the audience were applauding me.

Thanks Abhilasha. Yes singing with Pancham Da on stage was a great experience. Some nostalgia to take one through the life.

thethoughtfultrain said...

This is super cool!! Lovely story telling.

Balvinder Singh said...

the thoughtful train -- thanks for the visit and for the compliments.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I begin on internet with a directory