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Sonu Nigam Mesmerizes Atlanta


If you were walking down the Peachtree Street on Saturday August 19th evening, you would have been amazed by the long queue outside the Fabulous Fox theatre with people anxiously waiting. The luckier ones had purchased their tickets way in advance for the sold-out event. The Fabulous Fox was hosting for the first time the hottest and highest paid Indian singing sensation - Sonu Nigam. The beautiful, opulent, grandiose auditorium welcomed more than 3800 music aficionados, all anxiously waiting for the megastar to rock the stage. 

Yes, I am referring to the Sonu Nigam Live Performance at the Fox Theatre on 19th August 2006, in aid of Udaan Ghar, Robin Raina Foundation’s home for the orphan girl children in Malad, Mumbai. From the word go, it was a show with a difference! 

The gates opened at 7.30 pm sharp and true to promise the show started at 8.15pm. The show started with a brief introduction by the MC Mansi Verma. It was followed by a brief introduction by the RRF Founder Robin Raina about the cause behind the show. He reminded people that RRF is not an entertainment house but a charity foundation that uses entertainment as one of the mediums to spread its message of charity. He remarked, “I would think that this concert was successful in case while walking out of the auditorium, each of you is starting to think maybe I should also sponsor an underprivileged child and change the life of that child.”

The premier event sponsor Delta’s spokesperson Farhana Hassan (GM –Delta) conveyed its support for the foundation rather eloquently by saying that it had just two messages to convey on behalf of Delta – “One, sponsor a child and support the Robin Raina Foundation today and Two, Fly Delta for all your airline needs.”
After that the audience was treated to three and a half hours of non-stop music and dance by Sonu Nigam, his versatile band, his dancers, his father Agam Nigam and Saumya Rao. Sonu Nigam enthralled the audience with his numbers from popular movies such as Veer Zaara, Kal Ho Na Ho, Dil Chahta Hai, Parineeta and many more. He was energetic, lively and rather engaging through out his performance. He came out as a rather debonair personality touching the hearts of every person in the audience irrespective of age. His performance stood out simply in terms of the range that he exhibited – singing old Rafi numbers at one time, singing classical numbers at another and then of course the teeny bopper disco numbers at another moment.

Sonu set the tone for the show by having a dig at artists who lip-sync in the so called live performances or at times just sing to karaoke music (called minus one in music parlance). In recent times, quite a few music artists from Bollywood have performed in Atlanta to minus-one music and that is precisely what Sonu felt was equivalent to “cheating the public”.
While singing duets, Sonu was accompanied by the talented Saumya Raoh (of Nach Baliye fame from Bunty aur Babli). To everyone’s surprise none other than his own legendary father Agam Kumar Nigam enthralled the audience with three numbers from old movies. 

At multiple points during his performance he spoke about his respect for the effort put in by the Robin Raina Foundation to change the lives of under-privileged children. He appealed to the audience to support the foundation’s efforts. The humble person that Sonu is, he did not tell the audience that he presently supports the foundation’s efforts by having sponsored a girl child at its Udaan project in Malad, Mumbai.

The audience response was rather overwhelming and many in the audience remarked that this performance was probably one of the best that Atlanta has seen in the last decade or so. Sonu Nigam’s performance stood out as it had a touch of class and difference about it. It was an evening of fun and entertainment, which brought smiles and satisfaction not only to the packed audience of 3800 people of Atlanta but also smiles in the lives of hundreds of underprivileged girl children or Pinky’s as some of you might say.
Who is Pinky and how is she related to the show? Yes, I am talking about the Robin Raina Foundation’s television campaign with a girl named Pinky in it. The campaign has managed to shake television viewers across the United States at the core of their being, with its simple message of providing support to thousands of nameless underprivileged children throughout the world. Each individual present in the auditorium contributed towards this collective cause consciously or unconsciously by participating in this three and a half hours entertainment capsule.

True to is promise the foundation declared a raffles draw for two audience members to fly to any destination in the world. To everyone’s surprise, the Ghazal maestro Talat Aziz stepped on the stage with Robin to pull out the raffles. He remarked that he was attending the concert as a friend to Robin and to convey his support to the cause. The lucky winner of the airline sweepstakes sponsored by Delta Airlines was Prakash Morjaria from Jonesboro, Georgia. 
I met Robin Raina, the founder of RRF after the show, and found him rather content with the foundation’s handling of the concert. He seemed pleased with the efforts that brought smiles not only to the packed audience but emanated hope to many underprivileged children like Pinky, looking for a name for themselves in society. 

“This concert is just another step forward towards getting the message of charity out” he said in his matter of fact style. It’s this conviction and dedication to reach out to the cause of humanity, which is at the heart of the foundation’s efforts to keep moving ahead with a promise of “Bringing hope to children worldwide!”

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