An Enchanting Musical Evening with Dr. Radhika Chopra
By Zafar Iqbal, PhD
Music admirers enjoyed a mesmerizing performance by famous Indian Ghazal singer Dr. Radhika Chopra at a Sham-e-Mausiqi hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Tufail Ahmad and their daughter Samina Ahmad at their residence in Potomac, Maryland. Although this was the third concert of Dr. Chopra in Metro Washington area within a year, the spacious hall was full and many late comers had to listen from distance. A large number of dignitaries, including Begum and Dr. Islam Siddiqui, Agricultural Trade Ambassador, US Administration, Dr. Mohammad Yaqoob, Iqbal Zubair, Aftab Raza, Dr. Moazzam Siddiqui, Dr. A. Abdullah, Ms. Manjula Kumar, Dr. and Mrs. AquilurRahman, and officials representing various Pakistani and Indian American Community organizations in Metropolitan Washington area such as the Aligarh University Alumni Association (AAA), University of Karachi Alumni Association (UKAA), Hyderabad Association, the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), and the Smithsonian were in attendance.
Dr. Chopra started the program with a ghazal: Door Tak Chhaye Thay Badal Aur Kahin Saya Na tha Iss tarha barsaat ka mousam, kabhi aaya na tha at the suggestion of her daughter; it had been raining the entire afternoon. She had specially chosen some new compositions for this performance. The ones that stand out were composition by Ameer Khusrau, two ghazals of Faiz, and a classical ghazal of Qadeer Lackhnawi, originally sung by Begum Akhtar. At the audience’s request she sang some old favorites, such as Aey kaatib-e taqdiir, YuuN na rah rah kar hameN, and Chhaa rahii kaalii ghaTaa —another classic Dadra by Begum Akhtar. She had a reason to include Begum Akhtar in her repertoire, as she is a student of Shanti Hiranand, the chief disciple of the late Ghazal and Thumri queen. It is not very often that one comes across a voice with soul and emotion with meticulous selection and flawless rendition of the poetic words.
Humayun Khan, an established classical vocalist, as well as an accomplished harmonium player, accompanied her on the instrument; and Tabla accompaniment was provided by Harun Inam, popularly known as Munna (a student of the Tabla maestro Ustad Tari Khan). Radhika’s husband, Mr. Rakesh Chopra and their daughters, Devika and Ridhima, shared their experience of living with the celebrity.
Mr. and Mrs. Tufail Ahmad, their daughter Samina Ahmad and Samina's daughter Marya attended to every minute detail to make the evening a grand success, from valet parking to serving a sumptuous dinner and making adequate seating arrangements.
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