Sonu Nigam on performing at the Vaishnodevi ceremony: My first reaction was to say no


When the nationwide lockdown was announced in March, Sonu Nigam was relieved to find himself in the UAE where COVID-19 cases were many and few. The singer had then decided not to return to India, citing the spike in business. However, in October, Nigam was one of the first to participate in a live sangeet session during the Vaishnodevi festivities in Jammu.

“My first reaction was to say no,” admits the singer. Nigam, who only flew to India a few weeks ago, says he changed his mind after becoming familiar with the security measures taken during the festivities, which kicked off on October 15. “Only a small group of people are admitted, no more than 5,000 devotees per day. [The footfall is dramatically lower] because the trains don’t run. It was humbling to see empty paths to the sanctuary, especially during Navratri. No one was allowed to move without a mask, ”says Nigam, pleased that the protocols were strictly followed by everyone.

Sonu Nigam performs the rituals with Madhurima
Sonu Nigam performs the rituals with Madhurima

His live performance at the event last week invited countless selfie-seeking fans. Although he didn’t have the heart to turn them down, Nigam says he kept a safe distance and only took off his mask when he was out in the open with them. “Not much [artistes] agreed [take part in the event], but I wanted to do it. [Over the past few weeks] I have visited hospitals where the risk of contracting a virus is higher, ”Nigam reasons, referring to the hospital rounds he has made to visit his father who recently had surgery.

Sonu Nigam on the way to the shrine
Sonu Nigam on the way to the shrine

Aware that he could pose a risk to his ailing father, the singer claims he did not return to Mumbai until after conducting a rapid antigen test performed on each devotee. ‘You have to move on. How long do you want to keep people from working? People perform, and they probably will [be encouraged] on here. “

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