Now based in Pune, Atul Ahuja has grown up in Kolkata, Amritsar and New Delhi before moving to Toronto, Canada, and returning. His biggest passions are cricket and singing.
On Thursday night, Ahuja performed at the Hard Rock Cafe in Worli. The crowd was not the usual packed attendance, and he too was delayed because of a traffic jam. But the moment he started at 10 pm instead of half an hour earlier, it was all magic.
Besides Nandu Bhende and Gary Lawyer, Ahuja is one of those who sings that repertoire so well. Rock n’ roll is fine but the way he suddenly gets into soul and rhythm n’ blues is amazing.
Check out his set list. On the rock side, he began with Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke On The Water’, following by ‘Jumping Jackflash’ by the Rolling Stones, ‘Light My Fire’ by Doors and ”Born To Be Wild’ by Steppenwolf.
What musicians. Christopher Fonceca on guitar, Ryan Fernandes on bass, Jason Felipe on keyboards and Denzil Fernandes on drums.
Suddenly, he moved into another tangent by doing the recently-deceased Aretha Franklin’s ‘Natural Woman’. Classics flowed like an ocean. Marvin Gaye’s ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’, followed by ‘At Last’ by Etta James and ‘Chain Chain Chain’ by Franklin.
A Beatles medley followed. Starting with ‘Let It Be’, after which ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Clubs Band’, ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’ and ‘A Day In The Life’. His finale was ‘Mustang Sally’, written by Mack Rice and covered across the world.
It was a great gig. But if there were any glitches, two things. One wished there was a larger audience. And many people were busy chattering away with their beer, burgers and burps. But that’s typical in Mumbai music joints.
About Atul Ahuja aha!
It was a great gig by Atul Ahuja, but one wished there was a larger, less chattering audience, writes Narendra Kusnur
Posted on Sep 08, 2018
By Narendra Kusnur
Location: Hard Rock Cafe Mumbai, Pandurang Budhkar Marg, Kamagar Nagar Number 1, Worli, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Narendra Kusnur is one of India’s best known music journalists. Born with a musical spoon (okay, doesn’t fit, but you get the drift), Naren, NK, Kusnur, Narender, Kaansen, Jahanpanna… however else many call him, is a late bloomer in music criticism. He was (is!) an aficionado first, and then strayed into writing on music. But in the last two decades, he has made up for most of what he didn’t do earlier. If ever there is an Ustad given for music writing, NK, would be among the first to receive one. Narendra Kusnur writes weekly on Xyngr. Don’t ask us when.