Meet Jui. Sonu Nigam’s biggest fan. Period.


Meet Jui Mavlankar. Sonu Nigam’s biggest fan, without a doubt.

Jui is the better half of a dear friend and extremely gifted digital expert, Rahul Mavlankar. Who is insanely proud of Jui’s excellent writing skills. And justifiably so. Which is why, when Rahul pointed me to this excellent piece Jui had written about her great love for Sonu Nigam’s brilliant musical talents and beautiful heart – something that resonates equally with me on a very personal level – I told Rahul I wanted to share this with my friends too. And Rahul ever so graciously agreed on Jui’s behalf.

So here, without any further preamble but for what Rahul himself wrote while introducing Jui’s piece elsewhere, is, well, what Rahul wrote:

One more spectacular evening with Sonu Nigam .. Jui & I couldn’t stop gushing over the magic this man creates : singing in many voices, dancing, mimicry, impromptu fun with audiences, composing a song live .. So much more ..Jui went on to craft this awesome piece which Sonu himself loved Read on .. And also watch how he starts off this baap of all qawwalis .. – Rahul Mavlankar.

Lovely musical couple – Rahul and Jui Mavlankar

I tell you, these two, along with me, are Sonu Nigam’s biggest fans! None of today’s young raspy voiced youngsters comes anywhere near the pristine brilliance of the Ganga-se-dhuli aawaaz – and heart – of Sonu Nigam.

Read this to see how beautifully, lovingly, a devoted fan can express herself:

Sonu Nigam – Close to My Heart

By Jui Mavlankar

26 letters of the alphabet fall short. No possible permutation of the letters will suffice or do justice to describe the magic of the man. After witnessing his concert yet again, I fail to understand why I am still amazed each time. I mean, shouldn’t it be a given by now that he is sure to stupefy me?

‘Klose to my heart’. Could there have been a more befitting name for his concert? Sonu renders numbers which are close to his heart and instantly connects our hearts to his. There is definitely something inexplicably divine about his presence on stage. The celestial aura which surrounds his presence on stage is unmistakable. After having the privilege of attending numerous concerts of Sonu, I have come to the conclusion that it is not just Sonu the person who regales us; there has to be a godly intervention. He definitely has a special connection with the Almighty.

His affability, magnanimity and nobility are evident in many ways, including the way in which he consistently credits his musicians for the thundering audience applause. It is not without reason that his musicians have been with him for long years.

Trust him to create the most endearing moments on stage like setting up the mood and music for a song and mischievously starting off another song. His mannerisms are so likeable…like the occasional rolling up of sleeves, tugging at his pants, the jhatkas and thumkas, the impromptu breaking into a jig, his disarming smile…the list goes on. He never misses out on making his audience feel special with his constant interaction, his appreciation of the audience’s ear for music and his sharing of anecdotes. Just like a satisfying full-course meal which appeals to every tastebud, Sonu’s concert is like a platter full of music of diverse genres, sure to strike a chord with each and every person in the audience. He ensures that the audience gets more than what they signed up for.

There are many aspects which make him unique. Of all the talented singers we hear today, he is the only one who can seamlessly connect us to the glorious musical past. He can make us laugh, cry, cheer, ponder, celebrate – all at once. He’s sophisticated and he’s childlike. He’s sincere and he’s impish. He’s serene and he’s restless. It is impossible to not be overwhelmed and bewildered. The best part is that in spite of being a volcano of talent, he is completely unassuming. He exudes genuine warmth that wins over hearts forever.

His talent may be God’s gift, but Sonu’s earnest surrender to the art form is his best gift to God.


So that was Jui’s excellent piece. Did you love it, or did you love it? Let me know.

I had written some time back about an upcoming Klose To My Heart concert of Sonu Nigam, and I’m reproducing it here, just because Jui’s piece has brought back that  memory 🙂 It was titled, simply:

Don’t miss Sonu Nigam’s Klose To My Heart concert

And here’s what I’d written:

Okay, there will be no clever featurish intro here. I’m a diehard Sonu Nigam fan, there’s this mega concert,Sonu Nigam’s Klose To My Heart,  happening for the first time in South India in Bengaluru on the 12thof November, 2016, at the Supernova Arena and Convention Centre, NITTE Meenakshi College Road. Go grab the tickets already.

The great Lata Mangeshkar has famously said that Kishore Kumar was such a complete entertainer that she liked to call him the Danny Kaye of India. I would add there is only one singer-performer who deserves to take the mantle of that title ahead — Sonu Nigam, of course.Never mind if that sounds like an  all-out plug. I’m just a big silly fan of Sonu Nigam. The singer who, years ago, stormed into our hearts  and lives with his amazing presentation of Gajendra Singh’s Sa Re Ga Ma Pa on Zee. This is a singer who has perhaps the biggest hits in the post-Rafi-and-Kishore era; in fact, so many, now, that he’s happily become extremely choosy about recording new songs, and is now apparently happiest performing at live stage shows.

That, incidentally, is what makes for a complete musical experience for lovers of great singing and the best songs from Hindi movies – a live show led, driven and beautifully delivered by Sonu Nigam.

The great Lata Mangeshkar has famously said that Kishore Kumar was such a complete entertainer that she liked to call him the Danny Kaye of India. I would add there is only one singer-performer who deserves to take the mantle of that title ahead — Sonu Nigam, of course. And the man is performing at this huge Bollywood Musical, studded with 30 top-grade musicians in Bangalore, called Klose To My Heart.

The ‘My’ in that title, of course, is what makes the event extremely special, because this is all about how Sonu connects with his live audience, singing his favourite songs, recounting beautiful memories, keep everyone entertained and wanting more.

Sonu’s Klose To My Heart concerts have entertained people worldwide, and now, he’s bringing the series to India for the first time. Ironic, that, isn’t it? But better late than never, because the excellent singer will be accompanied by a full-fledged orchestra, replete with a full complement of string, percussion, brass and woodwind instruments.

Musicians caressing the strings of richly burnished gleaming wooden violins with real bows, coaxing beautiful musical note from shining trumpets and wind instruments, pumping out smooth and heavy-bodied acoustic and electronic bass riffs that thump into your solar, slap-tapping palms and fingers and finger nails on congas, bongos, djembes, thudding bass pedals into bass drums and sticks across that beautiful percussive spectrum that is the drum set, dexterous fingers flying across pianos, guitar frets, piano accordions and more roll on in beautiful synchronicity with that heart warming, goosbumping voice and those bright, shining, happy and laughing eyes reveling in the fans’ delight.

That’s Sonu Nigam in any live event for me. The man is finicky, nitpicky about the quality of his musicians, the sound, the placements, the balance, the complete audio and audio-visual experience. All driven by brilliant musicians carrying his beautiful, powerful, soft, inimitable voice memorably forward.

remember, several years ago, I had called Sonu up for an audio byte on my mobile phone to wish music director A R Rehman on his birthday.  Sonu’s title track from Saathiya had burnt a deep fan-furrow in my heart, and when I asked Sonu on the phone to tell me of the Rehman songs that he had sung was his top favourite, I expected him to mention the Saathiya title track. But Sonu said it was another song he had sung for Rehman, Mera Rang De Basanti Chola, Mahe Rang De, and he burst spontaneously into singing that song on the phone.

Here’s the audio file of that phone conversation. You can hear me only in the beginning of the recording, the rest, of course, is the brilliant Sonu – sweet, sincere, all heart!

And here’s Sonu in a promo from an earlier concert. Check out how brilliantly he sings Kishore, Rafi and  Manna De songs, among others. Even does a brilliant Lata Mangeshkar in a piece from the greatest arranged Hindi film song of all time, Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho. Anybody imitating Lata Mangeshkar, especially in the not too gracious vein of comedienne Sugandha and the loud Krishna is, in my view, sacriligeous, but Sonu has attempted it well, purely as a singer, trying to do a female voice a la Kishore Kumar in his live shows. Now I’m not saying this will be part of his performance in the Bengaluru concert, but who knows, we might get lucky.

Right. Enough, already. So go check out the event details and hopefully experience a lovely evening with excellent music with the amazingly charming and interactive Sonu Nigam. This is an event you want to attend and enjoy with your family and friends. For all you know, you might get really lucky and his charming, beautiful and enormously talented son, young Nivaan, might also be there and actually perform for you.

No other singer comes anywhere close to Sonu Nigam today. He is by far the best.

But you don’t need me to tell you that.

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