Sunday, December 11, 2011
The Sawai Experience - Day 4
OK, Day 3 of Sawai, was lets just say mind boggling. Its one of the best Ive ever seen. A crowd of 18000 in Ramanbaag, Streets connecting to the ground jam packed, wow! And this was when Shankar Mahadevan was singing. Imagine what will happen if Bhimsen Joshi, just for a day descended from heaven and sat to sing on the stage? With these thoughts I left for the 4th day of Sawai. Like usual, I left at around 2.15, to reach the place place 2.30. However, being a saturday, it was already crowded. I had to sit a little further behind than what Id have liked, but ya, with every disadvantage, there is an associated advantage. The netrasukh I got yesterday was awesome. Coming back to point, lets focus on the days proceedings.
The first performance was by Yojana Shivanand. She started singing Madhuvanti, vilambit ektal, tu to nahi ho mere, sautan ke ho. Ive had an overdose of Madhuvanti this time, and even though usually I like this raag, the kind of depressing words of the khyal, tum to nahi ho mere, caused a headache, and I fell asleep for half an hour or so. When I finally got up, Yojana ji was singing a khyal in drut ektal , janam virath gayo(?). This was followed by a tarana, which for some reason I did not enjoy that much. I guess its the overdose of Madhuvanti that led to this effect, I hope no one sings it tomorrow again, or Ill be a goner. She later sang a kanadi bhajan, karuniso ranga set to raag Jogiya, which created a very drastic change in effect, and had me completely awake by the end of it.
Yojana jis performance was followed by that of Shrinivas Joshi. Usually, for many this is break time. However, this year was different. Shrinivasji started singing with a khyal in Puriya Dhanashree, "Sumiro tero naam" set to vilambit ektaal. The raag vistar was fantastic. I really liked it. It was followed by the famous "Payaliya jhankaar mori" in Madhyalay teentaal, and was followed by a tarana - one of the few taranas that were sung by Pt.Bhimsen Joshi.Shrinivas ji then went on to sing the Thumri, Piya Milan ki aas, which I thought was very well executed. He then followed it with the bhajan, kanhoba tujhi ghongadi changali re. Overall, it was a very inspiring performance, and the hardwork and the thought and planning put behind it were clearly evident.
Shrinivas jis performance was follwed by a singer I consider to be a goddess. Malini Rajurkar. Well, she is my favourite singer, and she is the sole reason why I started listening to classical music. She is always an inspiration - no show off, no nakhras, extremely down to earth, non-fussy, straight forward, no-nonsense, no lawa-jama when she sings. Its only herself, her electronic tanpura, Bharat Kamat and Arvind Thatte when she sings. And thats what I like about her. She started with raag Narayani - Ive heard it only once, and that too in her voice, when I was compiling a list of all bandishs/cheej I had recordings of. The raag is similar to Durga, with a nishad added, and exhibits shades of both Durga and Jhinjhoti. Right from start, Malinitai was superb. She sang a composition by Ratanjankar, Bamana re vicharo. The taans were a treat! And what to tell of the accompaniment of Dr Arvind Thatte on harmonium! superb. Thats all that can be said! She follewd up by another composition of Ratanjankar, Sahelia gao ri aaj, set to madhyalay teentaal.Malinitai then continued her performance with a Tappa in Raag Bihag. No one on this planet can sing a tappa like Malinitai. Its extremely difficult, and no one has the audacity to attempt them except for her. She is the ultimate goddess when it comes to tappa gayan. On top of it it was Raag Bihag - which was like sone pe suhaga.She then sang a sargam in drut teental, which although bihag, did not feature rishabh and dhaivat.It was a sublime performance, that the trio of Malintai, Bharat Kamat and Arvind thatte usually never fail to deliver. Dr. Thatte was simply amazing.
Malinitais singing was followed by two dance routines - one Bharatnatyam, one Kathak. I have very little or no knowledge of Bharatnatyam, so was busy clicking pictures and exploring the 60fps and 120fps modes of my camera, or listening to the Abhangs of Pt. Bhimsen Joshi in meteoric voice, that were used as a background score. The Bharat Natyam was follwed by the Kathak, which I find much more elegant and graceful. The group performed on a medley of Raags of Pt. Bhimsen Joshi, mixed with Sarod, Sitar, vocal, flute recitals. The background was simply beautiful, and the Yaman and Sur Malhar, provided hair raising moments. The naad produced by the ghungrus of the dancers was a joy to listen to. I loved the elegance of the dance, and definitely, listening to Pt.Jis voice echoing from the stage gave a feeling that his portrait on the top was actually singing.
By the time the dance was over, it was already 9.30, which left very less time for Ustad Amjad Ali Khan. Being himself, he said that even if he gets 10 minutes to play in memory of Bhimsen Joshi ji, he would consider himself fortunate. Numerous Sarodists have played at sawai gandharwa in the last few years, but no one comes to Ustad Amjad Ali Khan. I mean, he is one of a kind gem we have in classical music. He started off his performance with raag Ganesh Kalyan, which I thought sounded similar to Shyam Kalyan, and had a Komal ni variation. I dont know the structure of this raag, so I will have to read about it a little. Ustad Amjad Ali Khan then went on to play Zilla Kafi, which was very beautifully rendered. He then went on to play a popular bengali composition by Rabindranath Tagore, which drew a loud applause from the audience at specific moments. By the time he had finished, it was 10.15, but the crowd would not budge, and on a request of one more, he stayed put, and played a beautiful Mishra Bhairavi. There were elements of Raagmala in it, with me and thuse recognizing and deliberating about the presence of Raags such as Todi, Bairagi, Kirwani to name a few. The Bhairavi at the end was simply electrifying. It lifted the whole mood, and I personally wished that Khan saab could play all night.
Alas, we have ridiculous rules in place which allows non-standard people such has Bollywood singers to have concerts late in the night, and rules out what is culturally ours, to have concerts when they are more bahardaar. Ridiculous government, stupid rules. I wish that all the Punekars make an appeal to the Mayor to allow all nighters only twice in a year, for the sake of our culture. This includes the Sawai Gandharwa, and the Dhol-Tasha pathaks during Ganpati. Anyhow, Im looking forward to the 5th day. I cant believe that Sawai is already getting over. 5 days have gone at such a quick rate, that its almost indescribable. Anyway, tomorrow the Sakshat goddess, Dr. Prabha Atre is going to sing, so looking forward more than ever.
P.S- There was a very very beautiful girl sitting in front of me, and I seem to have become a fan of her beauty. She looked even more awesome when she put her specs on. (Assal Koknastha hoti!) If I meet her today, Ill let my feelings be known! :P. Kaustubh Joglekar also had similar thoughts when he saw another girl, and Im sure he will do the same thing as me! As far as Thuse is concerned, he is going to enjoy today. :P will keep everyone posted!