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Marathi music loses a maestro and visionary

Noted composer and sitarist Bhaskar Mangesh Chandavarkar died at a private hospital in the city late Saturday night. He was 73.

Written by Express News Service | Pune |
July 27, 2009 2:13:30 am

Noted composer and sitarist Bhaskar Mangesh Chandavarkar died at a private hospital in the city late Saturday night. He was 73.

Born on March 16,1936,Chandavarkar,the man behind popular numbers like Kunachya Khandyavar Kunache Oze,Sakhya Re Ghayal Me Harini and Ushakkaal Hota Hota…,was diagnosed with cancer two years ago.

He was admitted to hospital in a critical condition on July 16. He was cremated at Vaikunth crematorium at 2.30 am on Sunday. Only close family members and friends were present. No religious funeral rites were performed as per his wishes. He is survived by wife Meena,director of New India School,and son Rohit. “He wanted to donate his eyes,but his wish could not be fulfilled because of cancer,” said Rohit, political editor with CNN-IBN.

Chandavarkar,who was active in forming the national cultural policy with the Union HRD department,will be remembered as an intellectual with a vision.

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Born and brought up in Pune,he completed his graduation from Wadia College and studied contemporary music. He began training in classical music under Pandit Ravi Shankar in the late 1950s.

He headed the Film and Television Institute of India’s music department from 1967 for 15 years. After 1982,he began working as a freelance composer and travelled across the US and Europe for concerts. He was presented the Sangeet Natak Akademi Puraskar in 1988 by the then President R Venkatraman. He composed music for over 100 films and dramas that include Shwaas,Ghashiram Kotwal,Teen Paishacha Tamasha,Saamna,Sinhasan,Raosaheb,Thodasa Rumani Ho Jaaye and Maati Maay.

He also composed music for Kannada,Oriya,Malayalam and English films and German and Japanese dramas. He received state and national awards for his Marathi film script Atyachar based on atrocities on Dalits. In the 1990s,he started teaching at the National School of Drama,National Institute of Design and a few US universities.

He was the artistic director of India International Film Festival,advisor to Ford Foundation in Bangladesh,producer Emeritus for All India Radio and jury member for national and international film and music festival in Kazakhstan. He recently shot 39 episodes on history and development of Indian musical instruments for AIR.

The genius as they knew him
The world knew him as a music composer. I will remember him as an amazing human being with extraordinary intellect. He was intelligent not just in music,but also astrology,astronomy,philosophy and had a social vision. I have been enlightened during our 50 years of journey together.

— Meena Chandavarkar,wife of the maestro

An innovative music director that Bhaskar was,he did not get the recognition that he deserved. His music for Ghashiram Kotwal and Padgham was a landmark in Marathi music industry. Similarly,Bhaskar blended a rare combination of traditional folk,contemporary music to create the musical Thodasa Rumani Ho Haaye. He was the pillar of parallel cinema movement.

— Amol Palekar,actor

A man of such an unparalleled wisdom,intelligence and authenticity,Sir,as I addressed him,demystified complex concepts for me. He always insisted on being original in one’s work and putting forth one’s own views in the thesis. To him,truth,originality and adding to knowledge were the basis of a good thesis.

—Revati Kamat,student of Chandavarkar

He was known more for his parallel music sensibilities than mainstream music that appeals to the masses. He developed his authority on world music after his early association with Pandit Ravi Shankar. He wrote extensively on musicand contributed to designing the syllabus for Pune University’s Lalit Kala Kendra.

— Satish Alekar,painter

Although I was not associated with FTII when Chandavarkar was the HoD,I had invited him to Bhopal to give a lecture on Natya Sangeet. We met for the first time there. In May this year,he had come to FTII to take a lecture on our film appreciation course.

—Pankaj Rag,Director,FTII

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