By Sajeev K Peter
Gopi Sundar Live Ensemble, hosted by the Keralite Engineers Association, Kuwait, was a memorable evening for music enthusiasts in Kuwait, as the band deftly blended genres in a riveting musical show. Delivering a handful of soulful melodies and all-time favorite musical numbers with the accompaniment of an electrifying orchestra, the band enthralled the audience with its compelling stage presence and pulsating beats.
The event titled ‘Rajatotsav’, staged at the packed auditorium of the American International School in Hawally on the occasion of KEA’s 25th anniversary celebration, was led by South Indian music composer and singer Gopi Sundar and consisted of talented singers from the South Indian music industry — Amrita Suresh, Jasim Jamal and Keerthana, in addition to Indian pop sensation Preety Bhalla.
An evening of stunning virtuosity and genre-defying music, the ensemble opened with Gopi Sundar’s signature numbers. As the most commanding singer of the band, Amritha presented some of her best songs in her soft and graceful voice. The ensemble showcased a diverse range of musical numbers comprising of romantic melodies, folk songs and pop rap.
The presence of renowned South Indian film actor Jayaram as the event’s guest of honor was an added attraction of the evening, as the national award-winning actor took the audience on an exciting musical journey through his 35-year-long acting career. Evoking nostalgia, the singers rendered songs from Jayaram’s iconic films, composed by legendary South Indian music composers of yesteryear.
In the second segment, famous Indian singer Preety Bhalla took the crowd by storm with a rare blend of Punjabi, Spanish, Hindi, Arabic and Malayalam songs. Approaching the stage from the back of the auditorium as the spotlight fell on her silhouetted figure in brown-grey attire, Preety kicked off a high-voltage musical performance. Unleashing her voice with thrilling power, the Bollywood pop star delivered a one-of-a-kind experience for everyone, from families and kids to diehard rock music enthusiasts.
In her rich, distinctive and husky voice, Preety performed non-stop for nearly an hour, taking the audience along with her on an exhilarating musical journey. She hardly took a breather between songs and sang hit numbers of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Ilaiyaraaja, RD Burman and Laxmikant Pyarelal, among others. Singing in an impressive array of languages, she rocked as the audience joined her on stage to dance to her tune.
Popular songs like ‘Bella Ciao’ from Money Heist, Mohammed Rafi hits like ‘Ghulabi Aanken’ and the popular Arabic song ‘Habeebi’ were well-received by the audience. For Malayali music lovers, she rendered ‘Appangalembadum’ from Ustad Hotel and ‘Meharuba’, a song composed by Gopi Sundar for Joshiy’s film Lailaa O’ Lailaa. No sooner the curtain came down on ‘Rajatotsav’, the audience erupted in cheers. The event will be remembered as a unique cultural show for its aesthetic appeal, live performances and effective use of technology.
Earlier, KEA President Zakaria Jacob, in his opening remarks, gave an overview of the association and its 25 years of service. Vice President Suresh C Pillai, General Secretary Jessy Zakaria and Treasurer Biji Paul were among the office-bearers who attended the inaugural ceremony. A host of guests, a diverse group of people from the engineering community in Kuwait, were also in attendance.