By Natalia Ningthoujam
Pop diva Usha Uthup hopes that venues for performances will open up after the lockdown is lifted. However, she feels it will not be the same again and she can never expect to do the concerts with 10,000-50,000-strong audience.
In the US, country singer Keith Urban recently performed at a show in a drive-in theatre for healthcare workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
Asked if a similar show be done in India or if there was an alternate way to do live shows, Usha, a frequent performer, told IANS: “I really don’t know when that is going to happen. Things will open up I’m sure but it will never be the same again. I can never expect to do the concerts that gave me 10,000-50,000-strong audience. Actually I don’t know when it will ever open up again.”
But she is not thinking of being on stage anytime soon.
“The risk of infection is too high and I think we need to be sensible about this instead of rushing into things that would jeopardise the lives of others,” said Usha.
In the meantime, she is happy with virtual concerts. She has been doing digital shows and contributing to COVID-19 relief efforts.
“Virtual concerts are one of the best and safest ways to do this, though I miss the live audience. But keeping in mind the current situation, it (live show) is not ideal,” said the “Hari Om Hari” hitmaker, who was recently part of a fundraising concert to aid COVID-19 relief effort by Magic Bus.
The singer, based in Kolkata, would also love to do something for the people affected by the recent Cyclone Amphan that “devastated Kolkata and indeed the whole of Bengal and Odisha”.
“I have done films for the Tsunami-ravaged people as well, when cyclone Aila struck. So I hope I can mobilise singers and artistes to come together for Amphan, too,” said Usha.
As for lockdown, she tries to treat the average lockdown day as any other day.
“It’s been difficult but I have achieved it. I am one for routine and discipline, so I rise early, say my prayers, the Buddhist chant ‘Nam-myoho-renge-kyo’, then the Maha Mrutyunjaya mantra, and the universal ‘Our father who art in heaven’. By the time I finish all this plus my walk on the stairs and in my building car park, my mornings are done successfully,” she said.
“I do a lot of shows on Zoom, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube et cetera during the day, so that keeps me busy. I have also taken up my old hobbies of knitting, reading and sewing, so I have a lot to do, plus a little housework. It’s fine,” she signed off.
(Natalia Ningthoujam can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)