If you missed the Bollywood Music Project, here’s something that will ensure you won’t miss it again. 

As if there wasn’t enough excitement revolving around the first ever Bollywood Music Project, but we can say, with complete conviction, that the brouhaha was well-catered to. Radius Developers presents Hungama Bollywood Music Project (BMP) had a dream beginning. Cited as Asia’s largest bollywood music festival, BMP was nothing short of pure, unadulterated extravagance. Families, couples, bachelors, collegiates, yuppies, teetotallers; people turned up in big numbers. Coupons made it easier for everybody (including those manning the stalls) to get a hold of food and beverages. Wi-Fi was free for all, though it did give in to the occasional glitches once in a while. The weather played games, but everybody was more than prepared for the worst. But we don’t want to sum it all up in one paragraph. We want to relive the experience, day by day. So here it is.

Day 1

A sunny beginning to the fest.

The skies were blue, the clouds were white, sunglasses were out and drinks were running dry. It did feel like Mumbai under the October sun, sans the dry heat. However, with the fest pretty much starting on time, the peak afternoon sun did not hamper celebrations. People made it to the venue with complete enthusiasm and were met with a line-up that did not disappoint them. The open venue was actually a refreshing.

The installations and stages stole the show.

Once we smoothly walked by the tight security outside, we were treated to a 100 ft installation that maps the journey of music, from vinyls to cassettes to CDs to iPods. It looked like youngsters had found the perfect selfie point. After walking a few steps further, we came face to face with Stage 1 – A massive platform with a decorated inverted piano in its backdrop. We could only imagine the magnitude of performances scheduled to be held here. Stage 2 was equally grand, if not bigger and flaunted an inverted gramophone. But when it came to delivering power-packed performances, both stages stood on par. The sound systems did complete justice to the powerful vocals of the performances and the instruments backing them.

F&B options were aplenty.

We had all the privileges to be picky about our food preferences, because we had those many options being catered to us. Pizza, burger, pita and hummus, Chinese, pav filled with a variety of fillings, pasta, you name it, they had it. But pizza seemed to be the popular choice with the crowd; the smell of mozzarella lingering in the air. Alcohol was well stocked. People were well-behaved. Could you ask for anything more?

We can’t talk enough about the performances.

Though Day 2 line-up carried bigger names than Day 1, we feel bad for those who skipped Day 1. The performers killed it!

On stage 1, the event kickstarted with Gurnazar and Deepak Rathore Project’s soulful singles. Darshan Doshi Collective ft. Parthiv Gohil combined rock music with sitar, an unlikely combination that fuelled the crowd with their unique sounds. This was followed by the lady extraordinaires – Hard Kaur, Shibani Kashyap, Sonu Kakar and Vaishali Samant, who belted out their biggest hits. Raghav Sachar and Mahalakshmi Iyer came together for an epic collaboration that saw Raghav display his talent with musical instruments and entertain the audience with a song where he put on a feminine voice. As the sun set, Papon took the stage and sent people into a tizzy. There is a reason why he’s so popular with the masses. His songs from Barfi and Dum Maro Dum got the biggest cheer. The last performer to take on stage 1 was none other than Sonakshi Sinha. She gave her first live performance and did really well. But when Vishal Dadlani joined her on stage, together they were a force to reckon with. Once her set was done, Vishal and Shekhar threw the unforgettable performance they are renowned for.

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Stage 2 saw Harish Moyal’s electrifying performance followed by a line of performances by today’s biggest Digital Rockstars – Arjun Kanungo, Darshan Raval, Raaga Trippin’ and Siddharth Slathia. Arjun Kanungo even treated the crowd to a first-time live performance of his track ‘Sanam Mere Sanam’ which released that very evening. They were followed by the new kids on the block, each of who proved that were on their way to becoming the next big thing – Aakanksha Sharma, Ami Mishra, Amit Mishra, Asees Kaur, Bhoomi Trivedi, Brijesh Shandilya, Prakriti Kakar, Shashwat Singh, Sukriti Kakar, Yasser Desai and Yashita Sharma. Elektro Sufi took the stage next and they displayed an orchestrated performance with a line of violinist playing. It was grand and how! Hans Raj Hans and his son Navraj proved why blood relations make the best collaborators and set the atmosphere for some Punjabi-ness. Stage 2 saw its final performance of the night with Rekha Bhardwaj and we clearly cannot put to words the pure magic she weaves with her voice.

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Day 2

Rain Rain, thank you for the lovely weather.

We have to admit, we were a little weary about the concert going on as planned after waking up to a gloomy weather. It was funny how so much could change in a day’s time. But trust me when I say this, a concert cannot ask for anything better. The weather was lovely and people turned up in big numbers, armed with umbrellas and windcheaters. The cool breeze just made the experience a lot more enriching. It hardly rained throughout the show however, but when it did pour during Arijit’s set, the show went on just as planned. Infact, many even opted to get drenched and we think that’s a sign that they were enjoying themselves thoroughly. We salute their spirit.

The organisers deserve a standing ovation.              

The entire event rolled out so smoothly, it was hard to believe that it was taking place for the first time ever! Right from making themselves available to address any hiccups in operations, to ensuring the audience was well-protected against the rain; these guys did not slack, even for a moment. They even distributed ponchos to the crowds during sets, sometimes roping in the artists to pass them on to enthusiastic participants. Parking and traffic was organised to such a level, that onlookers wouldn’t even believe there was a concert in place. In short, BMP ensured people got exactly what they paid for.

The performances were taken up a notch.

The big guns came out on the 2nd day with a nearly star-studded line-up. Though the festival’s finale act, Arijit Singh, was the obvious crowd puller, the acts that led to his grand finale were nothing short of spectacular.

The party on stage 1 started with songs to tug at your heartstrings with Goldie Sohel, followed by a spunky collaboration with Aditi Singh Sharma, Arjun Kanungo and the sufi-rock band Maadhyam. Next was an act that took audience interaction to a whole new level; India’s rap star, Divine, made sure his audience was a part of his act by getting them to rap along with him. This was surely one of our favourite acts of the festival. Mohammed Irfan and Divya Kumar, big names in the Bollywood playback industry, followed him. The crowds went berserk when they pulled out their biggest hits. Divya Kumar even managed to get the crowd to dance garba to his Kai Po Che hit, ‘Shubhaarambh’. One would think they are a tough act to follow, but the next set of people to take the stage were once again playback kings and a queen, Sunny M.R., Shalmali Kholgade and Nakash Aziz. Not only were they great, but they also surprised the audiences with a surprise inclusion to their accompanying instrumentalists; none other than Arijit Singh. A pleasant surprise for the screaming fans who were already losing their voices. Up next were in-demand music directors Sachin-Jigar, who have so composed many hits that we’ve lost count. You can only imagine the madness that ensued. The next two names need no introduction whatsoever. They have taken the country by storm and continue to do so, one hit after another. We’re talking about Badshah and Arijit Singh. Badshah took the stage first and did a great job in helping the audience forget about their woes of standing drenched under the rain. As he rightly said, his fans are responsible for turning him from just Aditya to Badshah, and we could see why. Finally, after two days of anticipation, Arijit made his way under the spotlight. Once again he proved that no matter what genre of music fits your preference, his voice would, undoubtedly, make you drop everything and allow yourself to get drawn towards him.

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Stage 2 was all about variety performances. Every artist that took the stage was vastly different from the one that preceded him or her. Azizon Ki Toli was the first to grace the stage and set the mood just right with their performance. It surely was a refreshing start to a rainy day. Following them was a performance that was thoroughly enjoyed by both, the young and the not so young – A soulful tribute to S.D. Burman by Shashi Suman, Amitabh Narayan, Bhaven Dhanak, Charu Semwal, Jimmy Felix, Meenal Jain, Pawni Pandey, Ravindra Upadhyay, Shivangi Bhayana and Yasser Desai. After all, it was his birthday and the man has contributed tremendously to this industry. Taking the stage after them was my personal favourite performance, Joe and Shefali Alvares. The father-daughter duo sent shivers down my spine with their powerful jazz vocals and made for a really cute collaboration too. I lost my voice a little there too, with all the hoots. Up next, Bollywood sweetheart Zubeen Garg was accompanied by Zublee Baruah for a collaboration that took us deep into the valleys of N.E. India. He started his performance with a 600 year old song! Hariharan and his son Akshay took the stage next and introduced audiences to a never-before-seen side of the legendary singer. They took his most popular tracks and gave them a techno twist. Talk about keeping up with the times! They were followed by music duo Sajid-Wajid, who reminded us why they continue to compose some of Bollywood’s most popular tracks!

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Special mention here to the winners of the BMP Talent Hunt, who showcased their skills and got a big cheer from audiences. Here’s to a brighter future for their young sparks!

BMP is scheduled to travel to other cities around the country and the world. We don’t see why, considering the tremendous success of their debut run. These happy faces are proof enough.

Festival Sherpa says thank you for the good times Bollywood Music Project.