Singer Sonu Nigam enthrals fans in South Africa
Popular Indian playback singer Sonu Nigam ended a successful three-city tour of South Africa, enthralling fans after steering clear of a legal wrangle that threatened the very future of the tour.
By Fakir Hassen, IANS
The grand finale Sunday evening brought to a successful end the tour that was shrouded in uncertainty because of a high court case brought against Nigam by rival promoters claiming his exclusive five-year contract for shows here. The case was rejected by the court Friday.
The first show in Durban a week ago went ahead only after 100,000 rands ($15,619) was placed in a trust account.
Audiences at all three shows were enthralled as Nigam, using his unique brand of stage personality, humour and huge range of songs, catered to fans of all ages and gender.
After Sohmya Rao opened the show with a few popular songs, Nigam held the fort for long stretches at a time, joining his colourful troupe of dancers, occasionally with steps as deft as theirs.
Going solo with great stamina, Nigam was later joined by Rao for some duets before ending the show with a lively number.
Nigam also pulled in his younger sister Nikita for a duet. The singer said her own album would be out next year.
Nikita also sang some solo numbers later in the show. She made her singing debut during her brother's South African tour two years ago as a nervous teenager but exuded confidence and professionalism this time.
Nigam's father Agam Kumar Nigam had also sang two songs during the last visit and got a little more exposure this time round with an excellent tribute to the legendary Mohammed Rafi.
With no shortage of hits in his repertoire, the multiple award-winning Sonu had no difficulty winning over the audience. His songs have been consistently topping the charts in South Africa, making him one of the most popular Indian singers in the country.
Even though Nigam has performed almost annually in South Africa for the past four years, he admitted that he tailored each show specifically for local audiences, incorporating new songs, but never omitting his perennial favourites.
Kal Ho Na Ho" and "Hum Tum" proved to be among the most popular songs, but the greatest applause was reserved for the title song from "Main Hoon Naa".
"For the first time in Cape Town, where the audience is supposed to be mellow and reserved, I saw such a vibrant audience and I though there won't be a better audience anywhere else, but I think you here in Johannesburg have done better than them," Nigam said.
Nigam described the title song of "Kal Ho Na Ho" as his all time favourite because the lyrics had assumed special significance after he and his family survived a bomb blast in Pakistan before his show two months ago.
Although most of the songs in the show were fast-paced, as is probably expected of a live show of this nature, Nigam did not ignore his trademark sentimental numbers.
There was also a comedy skit, bordering on sarcasm, in which Nigam sent a clear message that sad songs are not really his preference.
The singer seems to get inadvertently drawn into controversies during his tours to South African.
Last year, tickets had to be refunded after Nigam failed to do a full show, against the expectation of his fans, and restricted himself to promoting tracks his "Love in Nepal", which turned out to be a box office disaster.
Then there was the legal wrangle last week, resulting in a summons being served on the singer for the first time in his career.
At Sunday's show, he rebuked people seated in the rows before the stage for allegedly disrupting the show, not realising that he was chiding one of the chief guests, Indian Consul-General Suresh Goel, who was involved in some seating confusion.