Preserving Heritage:

'Uttaradhikar' at Khandwa

By Dr. Rajiv Trivedi




In the fast changing scenario directed by economic liberalisation and shrinking world due to infotech, Indian audience and their tastes are also taking a sharp swerve towards the visual in music. It is therefore a welcome move on part of such institutions as Sir Ratan Tata Trust, Mumbai that have started funding activities which would attract the attention of our youths towards their own culture and heritage. The Trust has collaborated with Ustad Alauddin Khan Sangeet Akademy, Bhopal to hold music and dance festivals in small towns of Madhya Pradesh. On 13th and 14th October such a festival was held with the help of a local cultural organisation Yavanika at Khandwa. The Academy had so planned the function that it was balanced with one senior and two younger artistes on each day.

This being the first function of its kind, the citizens along with members of district administration and local municipality were eager to make it a success. The performances of the artistes proved incredibly successful in warming the hearts of city's music lovers. While from the point of view of Academy, it was another feather in its cap, for the public of a tiny town, otherwise deprived of cultural programmes of big budgets, it was an invaluable gift. The memorial to his dreams that late playback singer Kishore Kumar had erected in his birthplace –Gaurikunj auditorium -- found for the first time, true essence of its existence. Citizens flocked to this structure resounding with pure notes, mesmerised and eager to partake of the nectar of ethereal euphony -- the strains of 'Anhad Naad'.

This two-day convention of choice music and dance came as a blessing to aficionados and music scholars who would travel hundreds of kilometres to catch a programme of classical music. It was their patience paying out with a galaxy of artistes seen or heard on TV, radio, about to present a live performance for the connoisseurs of Khandwa alone. They shall ever be indebted to Ustad Alauddin Khan Sangeet Academy, Bhopal for its thoughtful and painstaking effort. The very date that had been chosen for this event might have little value for many, but for citizens of Khandwa 13th October wells up a painful memory. For about one and a half-decade back the most prestigious son of Khandwa's soil, the renowned singer Kishore Kumar was brought back home for his last rites to his hometown. "Uttaradhikar" for Khandwa spelt therefore the legacy of melody-king and the function was taken as a musical tribute to Kishore. Renowned Mohan Veena maestro Pt. Vishwamohan Bhatt enkindled the traditional lamp & inaugurated the function by garlanding a smiling portrait of Kishore Kumar.

The first presentation of the opening day started with violin recital of young Mahesh Malik, a musical prodigy who is now a staff artiste with Akashvani Gwalior. Mahesh chose Puriya Dhanashri, that sweet melodious evening Raga with pliant Komal notes, which is always a winner with mixed audience. With good upaj work, control of laya and ornate improvisation he presented vilambit and drut bandishes in teen taal. Ruchira Kale, next to perform, was the first vocalist of the evening. Steeped in the tradition of Khayal Gayaki of Gwalior Gharana, Ruchira, a singer from Pune displaying good grooming and promise, presented Raga Jog Kauns. After a pure rendition of Vilambit in Ek Taal and Drut in Teen Taal, she captivated the audience with lively Thumri & Tappa. Accompaniment of Deepak Garud on Tabla and Vivek Bansod's on Harmonium provided adequate support to the young singer. The applause for this young singer was as intense as the welcoming one given to star attraction of this convention, Pt.Vishwamohan Bhatt and his son, Salil Bhatt. It was almost ethereal to be listening to this great musician in their own town. For the patient audience, to relish the euphony of was a matter of perfect eagerness. The echo of the strokes of the maestro father on his invention, Mohan Veena with no less a promising disciple than his son to accompany him for a Jugalbandi, touched and marked the hearts of the audience for ever. The duo had chosen Raga Gavati which they decorated their skill and imagination. To listen to exquisitely exercised gamaks, exceptional experiments on guitar homogenised as Mohan-veena, was undoubtedly a celestial experience. The perfect and creative tabla accompaniment of Sandeep Das, disciple of illustrous tabla wizard Pt. Kishan Maharaj, enamoured the audience to such an extent that the auditorium resounded with the sounds of their applause at every Toda and Tukda. Pt. Bhatt expressed his gratitude to the audience in his easy and polite way. Floating in the melodious pond of music, the second and the concluding concert of the convention glazed with pace, tenderness and grace.

The second evening of the festival started with Dhrupad Gayan of the budding singer, Shri Vishal Jain. Another of the several apprentices that have been trained by the renowned guru Ustad Fariduddin Dagar at the Dhrupad Kendra, Bhopal, this young art-aspirant, concentrating on 'Shuddha-Malhar' impressed the audience with his studious and effortless rendition. Apart from purity of notes, his repertoire also has the skill of elaborating the raga in accordance with its nature. He is a promising artist of an arduous and grave vocal style. He was well supported by Ravishankar Dwivedi on Pakhavaj. It was an eveing of vocalists, but the second artiste provided the audience with an altogether different flavour. Competent disciple-son of famous Saarangi maestro Ustad Nazar Hussain Khan, Zameer first presented raga Puriya Kalyan, utilising the inherent melodious nature of the Raga. Keeping a perfect command on the notes, he enriched his performance with a display of gamakdar taan- s and murki- s. The compositions "Tu Hi Kareem aiso" and "Barsan Ko Aae Maa Badra Kare" in raga Megh, were successful in enticing the audience with subtle hint of Indian rains for the imaginative ones. Mohammad Salim Allahwale's tabla and Shri Kadir Khan's saarangi enriched Zameer's performance. Next in line was a Sitar recital for which Asad Khan was invited. Inheriting the legacy of music under the tutelage of his father Shiraz Khan, Asad presented Rageshwari on sitar. After the usual elaboration of the Raga with alap, jod and jhala in a conventional manner Asad presented a dhun. Though the artiste was young his dexterous handling of this ancient instrument with toal aplombe and competence was given an enthusiastic applaud. The dance performance by the renowned Kathak dancer Shaswati Sen was the zenith of festival. Shaswati has inherited the delicacy and elegance of Lucknow Gharana, and spruced it with training, devotion and dedication under the exacting guidance of the great Kathak wizard Pt.Birju Maharaj. Shaswati divided her performance into two parts. The traditional 'Ang' of Kathak was present in one part and the Bhav 'Ang' in the other. In the Traditional 'Ang' Shashwati presented 'Utthan', 'Toda', 'Tukda', 'Parat', 'Gat', 'Nikas 'and 'Tihai' with the Taal –Chhandas, the sound of the anklets testifying to the discipline of the feet. More or less the same refinement was perceptible in the presentation of Bhav Paksha as well. The auditorium echoed with clapping, when through her gestures Shashwati brought to life the entrancing images of Leela Purush Shrikrishna, as depicted by Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharya in 'Madhurashtakam stotra'. The theme of 'Ahilya Uddhar' presented by this skilled dancer enraptured the dance-lovers. The accompaniment of Ambika Prasad Mishra on Tabla, Ghulam Varis on Sarangi and Chandrachud Bhattacharya on Sitar were remarkable.

On behalf of 'Yavanika' Shri Sharad Jain, Dr. Shriram Parihar , Prashant Ramsnehi, Vijay Soni, Aarif Masud, Sanjay Bhatt, Abhijit Ganguli, Deepaak Chaurasia Manish Shrimali etc. honoured the guest-artists by presenting souvenirs to them. The director of the Ustad Allauddin Khan Sangeet Academy Shri Om Prakash Chaurasia proposed the vote of thanks.


Other Concerts :

Sangeetotsav at Bhopal -- Dr. Rajiv Trivedi

4th Brahaspati Sangeet Samaroh at Chandigarh