“Bollywood is in our blood”

 Ritu Jha-

Fifty-one-year-old Bikram Jeet Singh came to the United States like many Indian Americans looking for an opportunity but soon felt was missing what he loved most– Bollywood movies, music, and artists.

It was hard to get original Bollywood movies in the US. You had to wait for cassettes and later DVDs to watch newly released movies or hear songs, except a few concerts he said he attended, until he decided to start producing his own concerts in 1998 and had he hasn’t stopped since.

On November 16th he is hosting another music concert, “Throwback ‘90s” under the banner, Bollywood Events which he calls his dream show.

“I have hosted many concerts but it was my dream to host all three legendary artists together on stage,” Singh told indica referring to the legendary playback singers Alka Yagnik, Kumar Sanu, and Udit Narayan, who would be performing at San Jose State University on Saturday.

The three artists are known for dominating the ‘90s era in the Bollywood music industry and Singh believes no one can forget the melodious songs they sang which dominated the music industry of the ‘90s in India.

Comparing to some of the songs today, he says you cannot listen to music with your family today due to the vulgarity of the lyrics.

When asked what led him to Desi concerts (Bollywood concerts), he said he came to the US in 1991 from Patiala, in Punjab, India and feels grateful towards the burgeoning Indian-American community of the San Francisco Bay Area– the new influx of young computer engineers in the US on H-1B visas who loves music.

“Bollywood is in our blood,” said Singh on the series of shows he has been hosting. He is known for hosting mega star shows from the iconic Amitabh Bachchan, to Shah Rukh Khan, Dharmendra, and even famous comedy show artist Kapil Sharma to name a few, “The young Indian techies are crazy about music.”

When asked about the ease of being in show business, Singh said with a pause, “It’s a gamble.”

“We have gone through the phases like the dot com bust and when the real estate [market] crashed, so the picture is not always rosy. Also, [there’s] a huge risk attached to it, one has to be conscious from the time the show starts to [the time] it finishes and the audience’s reactions and above all, security.”

“I always had a passion for Bollywood,” said Singh who feels proud of successfully hosting these big artists, “It’s not easy and a huge amount of money is required.”

When asked if he felt like he was taking a challenge Singh said, “First of all, it was my dream and it was very hard to put three legends on one stage and… I am lucky when this package was built and the show was locked, I said wow [we would]finally would see them on stage.”

“I’m expecting a full house on Saturday and there is interest from the Indian community not just from the bay area but people are coming from Canada, San Diego, and Arizona,” he said. He was surprised to learn people have flown from Canada to watch the trio singers.

“They are much younger than me and I was surprised to see their enthusiasm,” Singh said referring to visitors from Winnipeg, Canada. He said he has seen a rush when Bollywood star, Shah Rukh came but young kids are crazy about the ‘90s songs…its surprising,” he said with a laugh.

“But these singers have done such a good job and given so much to Bollywood and the country, four generations could listen to their music,” said Singh.

Sahil Sharma and Tejpaul Baidwan, who both came from Canada to see the show.

Sharma said he was born in 1994 and all he listened to growing up was Bollywood music which was primarily sung by Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik, and Kumar Sanu.

Sharma said he is a big fan of Udit Narayan. “For the past few years, I would look online from time to time and see when Udit Narayan would come to show  in North America. I knew Winnipeg would be out of the question as it is a smaller city in Canada,” said Sharma “It got to the point where me and my friend Kuljeet even called Udit Narayan’s agent in 2018 to inquire about his prices to bring him to Canada for a show, however, this was not possible for us at the time financially. I kept on checking here and finally, I saw an announcement of the ‘90s throwback tour.”

“I immediately messaged my friends and began planning to attend a show. I decided on coming to San Jose instead of staying in Canada and going to Toronto due to the weather. Now here I am, excited to see the show this Saturday,” Sharma said.

Baidwan, 23, his friend told indica, it’s his first visit to California.

“I had just finished a grueling midterm exam season and could not miss the opportunity to see three legends that I grew up listening to. It was a no brainer, so many songs I sat and listened to with my parents for the better part of my life were all going to be performed under one roof,” Baidwan said. “We could have attended a show in Toronto, but due to a number of reasons, we could not go. But I wasn’t missing this opportunity, so when Sahil told me that there was a show in California, it didn’t seem far at all knowing what we would be witnessing when we got there.”

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