Sundeep Bhutoria

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Monday, August 20, 2012

In Conversation with Usha Uthup

In Conversation with Usha Uthup
Udaivilas (Udaipur): I had always known that any tete-a-tete with Usha Uthup is pleasing and interesting. But I had no idea that being in conversation with her amid the regal ambiance of Chandra Mahal Hall of Hotel Udaivilas in Udaipur and a ladies-only audience could be so enthralling.
I shall always remember yesterday the August 19 2012 as the day I took the plunge – to be in conversation with Usha Uthup. 
With Vinnie Kakkar
At the outset, on didi's advice, we decided to keep a one-hour format. But as the conversation gained momentum, it was well over nearly two-and-half hours with beaming FICCI FLO members who were often found to be up on their feet dancing to the voice of Usha Uthup as she sang out some of her and India's all time favourites like Hare Rama Hare Krishna, Ramba Ho, Bindiya Chamkegi, Fever, Darling and Kolaveri di.
The over two hours of non-stop wit, humour, lively anecdotes and songs floored the FICCI FLO ladies who found it impossible to just sit and listen to the Queen of Indian Pop and turned the free space into a dance floor. I almost lost sense of the fact that I was in “Conversation with Usha Uthup”. Right from the word go when I introduced Usha di as “Kolkata's first didi and other than our Chief Minister who is also didi to all the masses...” it all just flowed.
As Usha di began to share her eventful life's anecdotes starting from her salad days at Nine Gems in Madras to Bombay to Calcutta's Park Street bar Trinca's to Delhi's Oberoi Grand, it was evident that many turning points of her life also happen to be the trendsetters in India.
In the beginning only men went to night clubs. Slowly the women, when they saw me (in sari and traditional Indian attire) the kind of woman I was, they became my best friends. They knew with a face and body like mine I was not danger to their husbands,” Usha di said amid peals of laughter.
She reminisced that she made “night-club singing in India, which carried a sort of stigma it, respectable”.
It was during her singing stint at the Oberoi Hotel in Delhi that she got a break into Bollywood with Dev Anand’s Hare Rama Hara Krishna when the Navketan unit, with Dev Anand and R D Burman, was there listening to her on the New Year’s eve. Since then she never looked back.
With Neeta Boochra
She made a candid confession that she had been earmarked to sing the smashing hit song Dum Maro Dum as a duet with Lata Mangeshkar. She was taken back when the song ultimately went to Asha Bhonsale. However, millions of Indians still believe that Usha di had sung that song. “Dane dane par likha hai khane wala ka naam; Gane gane par likha hai gane wale ka naam,” she quipped.
The venue next to the Pichola Lake was a perfect setting. As time fleeted and we came back to ourselves it was over two-and-half hours. It was like discovering Usha di once again
I must thank FICCI FLO Jaipur President, Vinnie Kakkar, for organising this event.
ess bee

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