Bollywood playback singer Sonu Nigam hardly needs an introduction, because his 20+ year career speaks for itself. And a little over a week ago, I headed to the Atlanta Civic Center to take in Sonu’s “Klose To My Soul” show — the follow-up to his 2012 “Klose To My Heart” world tour. Unfortunate spelling decisions aside, this concert was absolutely phenomenal.
The show opened with YouTube entertainer turned Bollywood playback singer Jonita Gandhi after which Sonu took the audience on a musical journey with him through the entire evening. Although, the musical adventures got off to a rocky start courtesy of Sonu’s irritation with audience latecomers. Clearly he doesn’t approve of DST (Desi standard time).
Accompanied by a live symphony orchestra, Sonu entertained the packed concert hall with many of his own hits along with recreations of classics by his singing idol, Mohammed Rafi. Sonu punctuated his singing performances with a few short comedy sketches that poked fun at the Bollywood music industry and brown people across the world, along with some heartfelt tributes to his loved ones.
I wish I could recap the entire 3+ hour concert for you guys, but I hope the highlights below will be enough to encourage you all to catch Sonu live on one of his future world tours. Just remember not to be late, otherwise you might get yelled at. Seriously.
“Ab Mujh Mein Kahin” from Agneepath
Hrithik’s character Vijay Chauhan is crying in this 2012 song because he’s being reunited with his baby sister. And the depth of the emotions conveyed by Sonu’s voice makes me want to cry too. You too, right? Right.
“Dard-e-Dil” from Karz
Before he sang this 1980 song, Sonu made it a point to bring the audience’s attention to the orchestral music that would be accompanying his vocals as an homage to the old-school Bollywood recording industry.
“Kal Ho Naa Ho” from Kal Ho Naa Ho
One of my favorite Sonu solos from one of my favorite SRK movies — what’s not to love?
“Chup Chup Ke” from Bunty Aur Babli
As a fantastic substitute for Mahalakshmi Iyer’s vocals in this romantic duet with Sonu from 2005, Jonita Gandhi easily proved that she’s here to stay in the Bollywood singing world.
“Tere Mere Sapne” from Guide
This is my favorite song from this 1965 film, so obviously I was thrilled that Sonu chose to perform this classic tune.
“Chori Chori” from Lucky: No Time for Love
If you can look past the bizarre movie title and music video, then you’ll love Sonu’s dynamic performance of this catchy song. So, basically, try to ignore the video.
“Aaja Soniye” from Mujhse Shaadi Karogi
A man dressed in an orange shirt tried to dance with Sonu during the rendition of this 2004 song…..unfortunately, this led to some public humiliation courtesy of Sonu yelling at him for coming onto the stage. #Awkward
“Kya Hua Tera Wada” from Hum Kisise Kum Naheen
Sonu sang this 1977 song as a touching tribute to his mom, who he lost to cancer in February of 2013.
“Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna” from Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna
And with this gem, Sonu bid his Atlanta audience alvida. I’m sure I’ll be in attendance at his next world tour, and I’m taking bets on what the tour will be titled. Let’s see whose guess is klosest to the actual title.
Farah Naz Khan is an internal medicine resident at Emory University. After graduating from college in Boston, she returned to her Alabama hometown to attend medical school, and was reunited with the mix of Southern hospitality and South Asian culture that had shaped her childhood. Follow her on Twitter @farah287 or read some of her thoughts at farah287.blogspot.com.