This year, I am attending my second Sawai Gandharwa. However, things didnt start as i had expected them to start. Unfortunately, I had lecture at 3.30- the same time at which sawai started. So, I had to scrap my plans to attend the first performance. It was to be given by Pramod Gaikwad, with the Shehnai. However, for some reason, our 3.30 lecture got called off. Unfortunately, this was conveyed to us at 4. So by the time I finished off with what I was doing and started for Sawai, it was already 4.30. I was under the impression that the first program would have finished. However, by the time I parked my bike, and paid an exuberant fee of 10 rs, and entered the Bharatiya Baithak, through no checking what so ever(considering i had a bag and a helmet) the Shehnai was still going strong. My first objective was to find a suitable place to sit. this is got quite comfortably. I got a place to sit in the centre, and back on the stage! So anyway, the raag, i thought was going on, was Pilu. The shehnai went on for another 25 minutes.
After the Shehnai, Pt. Nagnath Wodiyar was going to perform. He came on stage at about 5:30. However, his initial attempts to sing were marred by technical glitches. The organisers tried to blame the generators, although the problem was clearly with the speaker system, as there was a delay between two. After this "Problem" was fixed, Pt. Wodiyar, who is a student of Dr. Gangubai Hangal performed Raag Multani. I had no previous knowledge of this raag, and the only reason why I could figure it out was because He mentioned so before starting! anyway, The program went well, although i dont remember it much now.
After Pt. Wodiyar, Devaki Pandit was going to perform. Last year, due to ill health, she had to call off her schedule, and had promised that next time, "vyajasakat ganaar", to which she duly obliged. She initially performed Raag Bhimpalas, which was extremely soothing. This was for about 45 minutes. For the next half an hour, she sang Raag Amrit Varshani. I have again, never heard this raag before, although it initially sounded very similar to Bhinna Shadja. However on verifying after coming back, i realised its totally different! anyway, this was also very well recieved by the audience. Devaki Pandit finished her performance by singing a bhajan in Raag Des. At that time, it was about 8. Suddenly, a jam packed Bharatiya baithak dispersed for dinner, although I remained in my place, just for the sake of preserving it!
At about 8.15, Pt. Tarun Bhattacharya started to perform the Santoor. His introduction was shocking, as it said that he plays the Sitar!! the organisers should be given a stick for that! Anyway, he started to play raag Raageshree. To tell the truth, the only time before this that i had heard santoor was by Pt. Shivkumar Sharma at last years Sawai. So I have little knowledge about this instrument. However as the evening unfolded, my enthusiasm for the santoor exponentially grew, thanks to, a marvellous rendition by Pt. Tarun Bhattacharya. His technique was very different, and instead of the two "sticks", he had one of it, and was strumming with his other hand. the effect was inspiring. Also, his rapport with the tabla player, Abhijeet Banerjee was amazing. The two weaved their magic to an ever bludgeoning audience, and kept it captivated throughout. The pair must have received applause at various playing stages at least 20 times during the 90 minutes. After they were done, the audience clearly hadn't had enough, and urged them to play something for another 15 minutes. This time, they played a Bengali song about a girl who is about to leave her house. The melody was simply amazing. Anyway, the pair finished off in style at about 9.55- The legal limit for the program to end!(We still had Pt. Jasraj to perform!)
At about 10, Pt Jasraj arrived on stage to a standing ovation. Every time I hear this legend, he becomes more and more endearing and venerated. He was follwed by a rather large group of 4 students, 1 harmonium tabla and mridingam. He started off, with his traditional "Om shree Anant Hari...", and then sang "Mangalam Bhagawan Vishnu". At this time, when we were still in vilambit, the sound system again started doing something, and we could hear multiple beats and notes due to asynchronisatin of the two systems. Panditji was quick to spot this, and in the most unusual method, stated the problem to the technicians by singing "Mala sagla don vela aaiku yetay" in Darbari Kanada, as a continuation of his "Mangalam Bhagawan Vishnu"! He received a big big ovation for that, and some people were even shouting once more! Anyway, he got into full flow after that, although he still needed to remind the technicians about the sound system time and again. He started off with, what my friend told me was Raag Jog, which i guess was correct. After that, he performed Raag Bahar, which was just amazing. He then went on to sing Raag Adana. he sang "Mata Kalika", which has been my ring tone for quite some time. Secretly, I was hoping and praying that he would sing this, as I have only half of the clip. But anyway, my dream was fulfilled. I guess he must have read my mind!! e sang Adana for about 30 minutes, by which time it was already 11, and the crowd had started dispersing. However, those who left, really missed a gem of a preformance, as later he sang Raag Basant, which was just brilliant! By the time he finished, it was already 11:30, and the police had come to tell to stop the programme. However, the crowd were having none of it, and wanted "Om namo bhagawate Vasudevaya". Panditji even tried to sneak in a few lines by commenting that "Aap lok police ke sath baat karo, 15 minute ke liye, me do line gaa deta hoon!!" which again was received with big laughs and applause from the audience. But then, he had to follow the rule, and has promised that he would sing so the next time he comes.
This ended a very very good day for me at the Sawai. I am already looking forward to todays program. It has performances by Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasiya and Malini Rajurkar, and there is a slot for Shrinivas Joshi as well, which we are hoping will be filled by Pt Bhimsen Joshi himself! More on todays program tomorrow!
You can refer to all the raag that were performed today below:
1)Raag Multani - Pt. Nagnath Wodiyar
2)Raag Bhimpalas- Devaki Pandit
3)Raag Amrit Varshani- Devaki Pandit
4)Raag Rageshree- Pt. Tarun Bhattacharya
5)Raag Jog- Pt. Jasraj
6)Raag Bahar- Pt. Jasraj
7)Raag Adana- Pt Jasraj
8)Raag Basant- Pt Jasraj.