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Murder Most Foul - 3

by Bala

Chapter 3

He came back to mother earth when she asked him in a gentle voice "Do I have a chance to sing in your troupe?"

Now he became a little tense. He very badly wanted her to stay near him and sing along with him but without listening to her singing how could he find out?

He said "Wait. Let me think". He said after a little pause "I have to talk to the troupe leader on this".

Many people were moving in the back stage as he thought how to handle the subject. If he introduced her to the troupe leader how he would react he thought. Would he immediately reject her saying that at the moment they have enough no of singers etc?

While he was going over the problem in his mind the troupe leader came out of the side room where he was busy talking to the organizers of the program, about their next programs and their payments etc and saw Sudhir standing with a strikingly beautiful girl.

Overcome by curiosity he came near Sudhir and asked him "Who is this girl, somebody known to you?" and smiled a little sheepishly at her.

Sudhir understood that he was impressed by this girl and quickly asked him whether there is a chance for her to sing in their troupe. He was about to add "..along with me" but he stopped short of it just in time.

Ramesh the music troupe leader, frowned at him and asked her "Do you know how to sing?"

Sudha said that she had been learning classical music for the past 7 years or so and that she had already given something like 10 or 12 full length carnatic music concerts for up to 2 or 3 hours duration each.

Both Sudhir and Ramesh were surprised to hear her say that. Ramesh said "That is fantastic. So you are a very trained singer, but have you sung on stage singing film songs?"

She replied that only in her school programs not otherwise.

Ramesh said "OK, in that case we will have to take a test of how you sing film songs because singing classical music and film songs are entirely different things".

Unable to control himself Sudhir asked Ramesh "Can we train her to sing hindi film songs since we do not have regular lady singers to sing hindi film songs?".

What he said was true. They used to get girls to sing south Indian film songs regularly but not girls to sing hindi film songs. Those who used to sing in their troupe never had good hindi pronunciations and the public was never satisfied with such female singers.

Since he was from Ahmedabad he had good knowledge of hindi and his pronunciation was very good and the audience appreciated him for that also along with his super singing abilities.

Ramesh thought for a few minutes and asked her on the spur of the moment "OK, can you sing a hindi film song now?"

Without any hesitation she said "Yes" and started to sing "Chupke, chupke, chaldi purvaiyya" the song sung by Lata Mangeshkar in the film "Chupke, Chupke" in her magnificent, full throated voice.

Ramesh and Sudhir were terribly impressed by her singing. Sudhir said "Isn't she good? Her hindi pronunciation is quite good".

Ramesh asked her "Do you know hindi?" to which she replied "Yes, I know hindi since I have studied hindi in some private hindi classes for some years and regularly listen to hindi songs, see hindi films etc. So I am quite comfortable with hindi film songs".

Ramesh asked her "OK, you sang this song. It was very nice. Since you have taken training in classical music, can you sing some hindi film song which is based on a classical raaga?"

She smiled and asked "Why not? I will sing a song from the Dev Anand film "Guide" based on the raaga Jinjhoti" and proceeded to sing a Lata Mangeshkar song again: "mosey chal, keeye jaa, hai rey hai, hai, hai, deko, oh, oh, oh, sainya beimaan, sainya, beimaan.." effortlessly singing the sargams or the swara notes "nee, nee, ri, ri, ga, ga, ma, ma, paa, paa, da, ni, saa, saa, saa" in the antara of the song.

As she was singing more people from the troupe came on to the back stage part near them and started listening to her. After she completed her singing, there was a spontaneous clapping all around her with everyone saying "Fantastic".

When somebody else asked her to sing another classical raaga based hindi song, she sang "mega chaaye aadhi raat byranu ban gayi nindiya, badha de main kya karoon, mega chaaye aadhi raat" while announcing that this song was in the raag Pat Deep from the film Sharmilee.

Everyone other than the couple of girls who used to sing hindi film songs in their stage shows, was completely bowled over by her super singing. Those two girls obviously did not relish the competition she was bound to give them in the future.

Ramesh said "You are absolutely fantastic. I will have no hesitation whatsoever in selecting you.

But since you are a minor I will have to obtain your parents' permission for your singing on stage with us. We also go out of Bangalore to some nearby places like Mysore, Belgaum etc for our programs, that's why.

Can you talk to your parents and bring your father to meet us next week?"

He thought for some time and gave the date and time and asked her to come with her father at that time.

Sudhir was tense on listening to this. He fervently prayed to god that she would pass this hurdle without trouble, but she looked somewhat worried and replied to Ramesh somewhat hesitantly "I will talk to my parents and bring my father next week as per your request" in a tone which did not show conviction.

She talked to her parents in the next couple of days and narrated the conversation with Ramesh and Sudhir and about her desire to sing with them on their stage shows. She also told them about Ramesh's condition for getting their approval before taking her as a singer in their troupe etc.

While her father was not keen on her singing on stage at this age, her mother thought for some time weighing the pros and cons of taking the decision to allow her to sing with the troupe.

Since she was interested in making her big film star as soon as possible, she used to contact some of filmy people in an effort to get her some roles. That was the reason for Sudha to have seen so many men and women visiting their house every now and then. They were quietly judging her without her knowledge.

Perhaps those people had told her mother to be patient and wait for the proper time to introduce her into films, with the result that no progress was being made on that front as far as her mother was concerned.

She used to arrange for Sudha's bharat natyam recitals at selected sabhas frequently to introduce her to the filmy world also, but still there was no progress in her plans for her.

So now she thought 'why not try this new route and see how it develops?' and so she told her father that it was good for her to start singing film songs also on stage along with her carnatic music recitals since she would get all round experience in singing and exposure of her multiple talents to the public.

So she told her father to talk to Ramesh and after getting the necessary information on outstation stage shows, their security aspects for Sudha etc give permission to her once they were satisfied.

That was the beginning for her upward journey on her starry ladder. She started singing on stage with the musical troupe singing solos and duets with Sudhir. The audience was very much impressed with her singing but the highlight was that they always asked for Sudha and Sudhir to sing more duets than solos!

To be continued......

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