Kartabgaar is the first Indian film to use kanthashehnai in one of the songs
Its not just Bollywood music directors treading unconventional musical tracks. On one hand,Sneha Khanvalkar,music composer of Gangs of Wasseypur discovered Durga a local train singer,on the other,Marathi music director Harshit Abhiraj spotted a kanthashehnai singer in Sangli. A few months back,I was in Sangli for a musical performance. As I was waiting outside the venue,I heard someone playing the song Jai Jai Maharashtra on the shehnai. It sounded so beautiful that I immediately went inside to check who is playing. To my surprise,the artiste was performing the song by just producing sounds from his throat and it sounded exactly like the original instrument. I just knew that I had to use it in a movie whenever I would be working on one, he says. Recently,Abhiraj roped in kanthashehnai artiste Vijay Pharate to perform for Shiteewalya babya tujhi wajav Shitee,an item song in the upcoming Marathi film Kartabgaar. The director claims that the film is the only one in Indian cinema to make use of kanthashehnai in a song.
The technique might sound a lot similar to beat-boxing,with the only difference being that it aims to emulate the shehnai instead of drumbeats. The entire audio production of the film took six months,the four-minute song alone took six weeks. Speaking about the complicated technicalities of using kanthashahnai for the song,Abhiraj says,One of the more difficult things to do while synchronising the music is making use of software to alter the pitch of the song. Since the sound is created not by using the instrument but a human being using his vocal chords,it was very difficult to match the same for the software. Pharate actually had to ensure that he performed the pieces in a manner in which the tones could be easily altered digitally. The number is sung by Reshma Shinde and Anand Shinde,the duo who sang the famous Kombdi Palali and is picturised on actors Mohan Joshi,Nagesh Bhosale and Jyoti Joshi.
Siddharth More,the director of ‘Kartabgaar’,a September release,says that the team decided to go ahead with the experiment for two reasons. One that it was the first time any film in India was using it and two,we wanted to promote it as an art, says the director.
Pharate,the 61-year-old,self-taught kanthashehnai artiste says that in the past 15 years he has given a number of performances across the country but has only come across five to six artistes sharing the same skill. “I started learning classical music from my father at the age of ten but when I heard Ustad Bismillah Khan’s shehnai,I fell in love with the soulful sound of the instrument. However,instead of learning the shehnai,I wanted to have my own style and hence I started practicing kanthashehnai, says the musician.