It is not common to hear the songs of legendary singers like RD Burman, Latha Mangeshkar and OP Nayyar in Chennai. But, at singer Jaya Rajagopalan’s Friday retro night in the city, these music legends along with some more timeless voices, come alive. Her weekly retro music show titled ‘Jaya Ho’, started way back in 2011, has been on for the past 400 weeks — making it the longest running show of that genre in the city. Her performances have been a celebration of yesteryear’s Hindi music among the young and the old. Even after nearly a decade, the singer says she looks forward to each show to get the city dancing.
“Initially, when the show started in 2011, I was unsure if people would come to hear me sing Hindi songs, as doing a Hindi music show in Chennai is not easy. First few years were very tough, and we had to put a lot of effort in reaching out to people. But, once the show became known to people, we started seeing the audiences coming in each week to hear the music and asking for certain songs to be repeated each time. It has been an overwhelming journey so far,” recollects Jaya, who has also been a playback singer in over 40 films, including Naan Avanillai and Maathi Yosi.
The Kolkata-born singer, who has been residing in Chennai for more than 35 years, was trained in the basics of Carnatic music. Her singing at the retro nights, which takes place at the Black and White resto-bar at The Residency, go on for 3 ½ hours non-stop. Even renowned singers like Vani Jayaram and SP Sailaja, have been part of her landmark 250th week earlier. “The karaoke singing has no pause. I sing at least 35-40 songs, some of which are hits by Asha Bhosle, RD Burman, which the audience ask me to sing each time. I also do dual voices of both Asha Bhosle and RD Burman, which the audience love and always ask for,” she rejoices. Several families as well as people in their 80s frequent her show, Jaya notes.
“People also love the dancing numbers, which I sing after slow-paced and romantic songs. I think for one person to hold the interest of people from different generations is not easy and I feel humbled to be able to do that. I look forward to the 500th week of engaging more audiences,” she remarks.