When Heartbeats Replaced Drum Beats – Revels’15
Critics stand on their perch, sharpen their pencils, and label the man who risks it all in the arena. We look at a celebrity like Farhan Akhtar on our TV screens and coolly judge him as an actor, a director, a writer, a humanitarian, a businessman, or a rock star. In our constant labeling and judging, art loses meaning. But there are these rare moments when we remember what most forget about art – that art is meant to make life “not about the number of breaths we take but the moments that take our breath away.” (‘Hitch’) The ProShow at the curtain call of Revels 2015 was one such moment. Critics dropped their pencils, people dropped their judgements, and everyone remembered that Farhan Akhtar is one thing before being all of those things. He is, before everything, an artist.
Four thousand waited for three hours in a queue that stretched for a kilometer. Organizers shuffled around trying to get everything into place. The anticipation was tangible. Finally, the gates opened and the MIT Quadrangle was alive with an excited crowd. Then, at around 8pm, the moment finally came. The man of the hour stepped on the platform and claimed the stage. It was Farhan Live.
The music was top-notch and the energy intense. The crowd was alive as one, listening as he performed one hit song after another. The atmosphere was electric with songs from ‘Rock On!!’, ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’,’Lakshya’, and ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’. Farhan Akhtar understood everyone who paid the price of being different in an orthodox society when he sang ‘Main Aisa Kyun Hoon?’ The crowd needed to only hear the words, “Kya aap mere saath gayenge?” to join in singing ‘Pichle Saat Dino Mein’, a song that funnily captures the life of a rock star.
However, Farhan Akhtar is no ordinary celebrity. He came forward with his organization MARD (Men Against Rape and Discrimination) to speak for every woman who lives under the shadow of a misogynistic society. He performed independent compositions and recited poetry to that effect, drawing thunderous applause from the crowd. Besides that, he personally introduced every member of his band separately. The awe-inspiring fusion of guitar, congo, keyboard, drums, and both male and female vocals made his music what it was.
The highlight of the show wasn’t the music alone. It was the effect his music had on him, and what that did to the crowd. You could see him feel every lyric as if it coursed through his veins and belonged there. He even left the stage and came back for an encore to an even more excited audience, if that were even possible.
The moment of the night came when he knelt on the stage and started banging the mic on his chest, mimicking a beating heart and making four thousand hearts follow suit. Farhan Akhtar’s show had all the excitement, the madness, and the exhilaration of falling in love; and the nostalgia you feel once it’s all over.