Repertoire, creativity, singing prowess and showmanship were all at the fore as a group of singers presented an evening of hymns in Auckland last fortnight.
Hyderabad Urdu Cultural Association organised the event, appropriately called Shaam-E-Ghazal at the Fickling Convention Centre on September 25.
It was an aural treat as some of the finest singers of the community performed at the venue, supported by younger singers and instrumentalists.
Sandhya Rao, Shobha Pathak and Arun Khotkar were in their elements. Their respective rendition of Aaj Socha To Ansoo Bahaye (from Hindi film Haste Zakhm), Wo Jo Hum Me Tum Me and Chupke Chupke Raat Din (Gulam Ali Khan compositions) were worth an encore.
Professor Shukdev Madhur, whose mastery over violin has enthralled thousands of New Zealanders at many events (see separate story in this section) demonstrated his prowess in poetry with his composition called Kabhi Kaha Na Kisise rendered by Arvinder Vasudeva.
Among the other singers were Viraj Maki (Hosh Walon Ko Khabar Kya from Hindi film Sarfarosh), Saima Siddiqui (Kahan To Tum), Kanika Diesh (Aap Ko Bhool Jaaye Hum (A Chitra Singh composition) and Mohammed Aarif Dehalvi (Mein Nigahe Tere Chehre Se from Hindi film Aap Ki Parchhaiyan).
Instrumentalists at the Ghazal evening were Hemant Thaker (Keyboard), Vivek Anturkar (Tabla) and Mr Maki and Mr Ketkar (Harmonium).
Earlier, President Professor Mirza Taimoori said the Association was established last year as a non-political, non-religious and not-for-profit organisation to promote the Urdu Language among the residents of Auckland.
“Urdu was born in New Delhi but promoted in Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh) and the City’s Osmania University has adopted the language as a medium of instruction,” he said and appealed to the audience to promote Urdu at homes.
He said free Urdu classes were currently conducted in Mt Roskill and that two more would be opened shortly in West and South Auckland.
Members of Parliament Dr Ashraf Choudhary (Labour) and Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi (National) were among the other speakers at the event.
Some members of the audience complained that there were too many speeches rendered too long and that some of the Ghazal session had to be curtailed.
1. Dr Choudhary and Mr Bakshi (seated third and fourth from right) with Mujahid Ali, Syed Mujeeb and Professor Taimoori. Standing (from left) Naveed Ahmed, Shaik Shamsheer Hussain, Sadiq Samdani and Idrees Ali Ansari
2. Some of the artistes performing (from left) Vivek Anturkar, Arun Khotkar, Arvinder Vasudeva, Viraj Maki and Hemant Thaker