One of the biggest highlights for me at the IIFA Weekend was the interactive Music Workshop fans had the privilege of attending on Saturday morning. With music legends like Javed Akhtar, Vishal Bharadwaj, Shankar Mahadevan, Loy Mendosa, Ehsaan Noorani and Salim Merchant heading the workshop, I was certain we would be in for quite an extravaganza and I was not disappointed.
To add to the glamour quotient, there were several stars in the audience as well, including actress Shabana Azmi, director Subhash Ghai, actor Javed Jaffrey, director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and singer Rekha Bharadwaj.
First off, the audience was allowed to ask various questions to the panel in front of them. There was a great discussion on how the creation of great music is something that happens out of the blue. For example, Shankar Mahadevan was brushing his teeth when he got the idea for the song Dil Chahta Hai. It is these rare and random moments when inspiration strikes and unfortunately there really is no formula.
The real treat came when the panelists finally got to singing. Two girls asked Salim Merchant to serenade them with Shukran Allah from Kurbaan and he made his way towards the piano and sang a few lines, causing the audience to erupt in cheers. If that wasn’t enough, we had the lovely husband- wife due Vishal Bharadwaj and Rekha Bharadwaj serenading one another. Vishal sang an extremely melodious few lines of O Saathi Re from Omkara while Rekha crooned Darling from Saat Khoon Maaf. It was mesmerizing.
The excitement continued to build as Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy took on the Javed Akhtar-penned lyrics of Breathless and gave an amazing performance exclusively to the crowd. The song that shot Shankar Mahadevan to fame had the audience in awe. The sheer talent of the men up on stage was incredible and their spontaneity, passion and energy had to be seen to be believed.
The afternoon ended with a finale no one could have imagined. Javed Akhtar penned a few lyrics off the top of his head, handed off to Shankar Mahadevan, Vishal Bharadwaj and Salim Merchant and let them run wild with it. Loy Mendosa and Ehsaan Noorani were on the keyboard and guitar, respectively. Within moments after speaking to each other a bit, the six musicians had created an entirely new song! Just like that. Shankar began by crooning the words “tum bin hum gabrate to hai…” and Javed Akhtar was so excited by the improvisations that he penned even more lyrics and soon enough a new song was born. They even had us sing along with them. So, if you ever hear the song Tum Bin in the future, you know exactly where it happened. It’s all at IIFA first, here in Toronto.
The interactive Music Workshop was a once in a lifetime experience. I hope they continue to have such interactive sessions as a part of the IIFA weekend in the future as well.
Pictures from the event: