Written by Harsh Shukla
The 67th Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav concluded on Sunday with performances by artistes such as sitar player Niladri Kumar and tabla player Pandit Vijay Ghate.
Kumar began with a solo performance involving different styles and tonal variations for almost twenty minutes. This segued into a jugalbandhi between him and Ghate. The duo started with the Hindustani classical version of Carnatic ragam Simhendramadhyamam. They presented various fusions of Hindustani classical music for almost one-and-a-half hours.
In the middle of his performance, Niladri also asked the audience to watch the performance with “their own eyes” rather than through the lens of a camera. The duo concluded to a standing ovation and left the stage, though they returned to performance once more on the request of Srinivash Joshi, vocalist and son of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi.
The last day of the five-day festival began at noon, with Atul Khandekar (36), a disciple of Gwalior Gharana and a civil engineer by profession. Khandekar sang a bandish, ‘Gaye Sab Mil Devo Mubarak’, in Shudh Sarang raga with Vilambit Ek Taal to start his performance. He also sang another composition, ‘Ab Mori Baat’, in Shudh Sarang raga with Aadha Teen Taal. Khandekar selected a Marathi composition, ‘Avgachi Sansar Sukacha’, to end his performance. Rigved Deshpande and Niranjan Lele accompanied him on the tabla and harmonium respectively.
Ruchika Kedar, a female vocalist of the Jaipur-Gwalior Gharana and head of the music department at Vishwakarma University in Pune, was the second performer of the day. She performed two compositions, ‘Saiyan Mero Aiso’ and ‘Piyu Palan Lagi Mori Akhiyan’ in the Gaud Sarang raga with two different taals to start her performance. She also sang a Meera bhajan, ‘Holi Khelat Bihari’, in Patadeep raga. She ended her performance with a famous composition, ‘Diwana Kiye Shyam, Kya Jaadu Daala’ of Banares Gharana with a different style. She was accompanied by Milind Kulkarni on harmonium and Ajinkya Joshi on tabla.
A veteran vocalist of Kirana Gharana and disciple of Pandit Ajay Pohankar and Pandit Firoz Dastur, Chandrashekhar Vaze presented various bandish of Bhimpalasi raga to begin his performance. He also sang a Marathi composition by Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, ‘Gyaniyancha Raja Guru Maharao’, in Abhang, a form of devotional poetry. He ended his performance with a song, ‘Gopala Mori Karuna Kyon Nahin Aave’, in the semi-classical genre Thumri. Rigved Deshpande and Chaitanya Kunte accompanied him on the tabla and harmonium.
Pandit Upendra Bhatt, a prominent vocalist of Kirana Gharana and disciple of late Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, also performed on the final day. As per tradition, the festival ends with a performance by veteran vocalist of the Kirana Gharana. However, Dr Prabha Atre couldn’t perform at the festival due to health problems.
Instead, five disciples of Bharat Ratna Pandit Bhimsen Joshi — Pandit Upendra Bhat, Pandit Rajendra Kandalgaonar, Pandit Sudhakar Chavan, Anand Bhate, Shrinivash Joshi and Viraj Joshi — gave the concluding performance.