Classical music makes a comeback at Ganesh pandals
Mumbai: In the run- up to the 10day siege of the city by loud sound systems blaring double entendrelaced item numbers, there’s some good news too. At least for residents of Nellai Society of Chembur’s Swastik Park, who have decided to revive the forgotten tradition of regaling the Lord Ganesha with pure classical music.
Well- known music aficionado Shashi Vyas, who heads Pancham Nishad, has organised ‘ Tribhukti - The Confluence’, which will bring the talented trio of artistes like Abhijit Pohankar ( keyboard), Paras Nath ( flute) & Aditya Kalyanpur ( tabla) together. Vyas gets nostalgic reminiscing the concerts of yore many of which saw his late father renowned vocalist Pandit CR Vyas perform.
“Those were the days when renowned artistes like Pt Bhimsen Joshi, Mallikarjun Mansoor, Pt Jitendra Abhisheki, Ram Marathe, Hirabai Badodekar, Gangubai Hangal, Sawai Gandharva felt honoured to perform at the Ganpati mandals where audiences thronged to listen.”
Praising the initiative, Mewati maestro Pt Jasraj said: “I want to pat Shashi on the back for this. I hope and pray that this will revive what was a glorious tradition. Unlike the auditoria where niche audiences come to listen, these concerts can actually test and challenge an artiste’s calibre.”
He remembers performing at Ganesh mandals not only in Mumbai and Pune but also in interior small towns like Bhusawal, Amravati and Akola. “Shiva is the adideva, and his son Ganpati the leader of ganas.
He commands respect from one and all. Which is why we begin every performance by invoking him. What better way to appease this Lord of all the 64 arts than music?”
Jasraj wife, filmmaker and author Madhura remembers how he was often invited by her late father and film- making icon V Shantaram to sing at the Rajkamal Studio. “Hirabai Badodekar and her sis- ter SaraswatiJi were my grandfather Rajaram Vankudre’s neighbours in Pune. I remember him inviting them to sing at home during the Ganpati festival.”
Another concert she fondly remembers is listening to Bal Gandharva perform at the Ganesh pandal in the Fiat factory premises in Kurla. “Accompanying him was one of the tallest tabla soloists ever, Ahmed Jan Thirakwa Khan.”
Suresh Talwalkar, the tabla maestro too remembers accompanying the who’s who from the world of classical music at Ganpati concerts.
“The Brahmin Sabha at Girgaum and Ram Maruti Road near Shivaji Park come to mind where I sometimes accompanied Bhimsen Joshi, Jitendra Abhisheki and Ram Marathe on the tabla in the course of the same evening.”
Maybe it’s time for magic to come back.
Aditya Kalyanpur ( tabla) and Abhijit Pohankar ( keyboard) will be performing a Hindustani concert at Swastik Park, Chembur in Mumbai on September 7.