Singer-composer Arjun Kanungo, after his recent performance in Delhi, spoke about the safety and medical emergency facilities at performance venues, in the light of the recent incident at the Kolkata auditorium where singer KK fell ill and succumbed to a heart attack. “I did hear the auditorium was extremely hot. I have performed at that auditorium before and I had the same experience… I couldn’t breathe. It is insane how hot it is. It was so hot, the ACs were not working. These older auditoriums are not maintained well. It’s a multi-varied problem. The auditorium should have been better. I don’t know if they [the management] were aware. If they were aware that he’s not feeling well, and he said something, then they should have stopped the show. It doesn’t matter, it’s (just) one show,” says Kanungo.

‘Asha ji told me about pain in her chest’

Emphasising on the need for organisers to be aware of the medical facilities available around each show’s venue, the crooner, who has shared the stage with many music maestros, narrates an incident with the legendary Asha Bhosle. He recalls, “We were in Auckland [for a tour]. I used to stand right next to Asha ji because I was singing with her. Once she came up to me in the middle of the show and said, ‘My chest is paining’. She was 77 at that time. I freaked out. I was a19-year-old kid, and was like ‘How do I deal with this’. I ran down (the stage), and called the manager. And they stopped the show for five minutes. Being the professional she is, she finished the song. The doctor was there, they checked her and then sent her back. They (the organisers) were prepared for it… When we do a shoot, every call sheet comes with the (details of) closest hospital and police station. Organisers need to figure out where the closest hospital is. If the organiser knows the artiste is not feeling well, they need to act.”

‘I love Delhi’

The talk veers to his recent gig in the Capital, where the crowd went insane, and the 31-year-old singer talks about the event that has given him enough memories to take back as part of his first-ever ticketed tour. “I am just getting to see the fans. Going out with so many people is something,” he says, adding, “People had come (to the event) with placards. There were so many moments that night. Everybody was singing along. We were supposed to start at 12.30 (in the midnight), but started at 1am, and performed till 3.30am. I got back to my room only by 4am. In Mumbai, that’s unheard of as our clubs close at 1am. It was really interesting to see [Delhi’s party scene]. I was told that the clubs are open here till 9am, which is crazy! But actually the whole crowd was with us till 4 o’ clock.”

In fact, Kanungo has had a longstanding relationship with the Capital. Sharing memories from his time spent here, he says, “I love Delhi. I had a girlfriend who lived here, so I would come here quite often at one point. She was staying close to Connaught Place, so we used to hang out there a lot. Every time I come here, I love the food. You get really good non vegetarian food here!”

Sharing how he has always come to the Capital for college shows, weddings, and concerts etc with other artistes, the Baaki Baatein Peene Baad singer, says, “We haven’t done a college show in Delhi in a while. But it’s too hot right now. When I landed (this time), I was wearing a jacket in the plane. As soon as I came out (of the plane), my face became red! I thought what is happening?… I’m waiting for the rains. Once the rains are over, we can look forward to doing college shows again (smiles).”

Identity vs album

Popular for his singles, Kanungo feels they are like a scene from a film. “One is identity and one is album,” he says, explaining, “An artiste makes an album to make their identity clearer. As a musician, your entire journey is about finding out who you are. That’s what the audience signs up for. They also find out, who is the artist? What is his potential? And what is his image? All this becomes clearer with time. That story is what every album accelerates. It’s the difference between a scene and an entire movie. You watch a scene, you might enjoy it, but when you watch the whole film, you kind of get an idea about who the characters are.”

Author tweets @Nainaarora8

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