Updated: November 21, 2014 1:00:13 am
According to Pt. Suhas Vyas, his father belonged to a generation where the quality of performances were of a superior class. “During his times, the need for instant gratification was marginal, as artistes looked at the bigger picture in which art and audience dwelled in harmony. The performances were intended for other artistes rather than common people, hence playing to the gallery was less. After the end of the royal patronage, artistes used to make their living from teaching and, hence, there was deeper insight and homework,” says Pt. Suhas, the son of renowned Hindustani classical singer late Pt. C.R. Vyas on the occasion of his father’s 90th birth anniversary.
Vyas senior, a Padma Bhushan and Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee, belonged to a family of kirtankars and Sanskrit scholars, and drew his earlier influences from his father’s and grandfather’s style of singing. Later, he trained under gurus such as Govindrao Bhatambrekar of the Kirana gharana, Rajamrambuva Paradkar of Gwalior gharana and Jagannath Buwa Purohit from the Agra gharana. Some of his well-known albums are Etched in Time, Eternal Rhapsody, Sangeet Sartaj and Tapasya, which released in 2005 and featured live recordings of Pt. Jasraj, Pt. Bhimsen Joshi and Pt. C.R. Vyas.
Although he had a command over three gharanas — Agra, Gwalior and Kirana — he never showed a preference for a particular one. Pt. Suhas explains, “Even at the age of 17, his thoughts were clear that he wanted to learn music and not any particular gharana as he believed that music is based on emotion and soulfulness, which is not the prerogative of any one particular style of singing.”
Pt. C.R. Vyas, who had a deep interest for traditional bandishes, composed many ragas. Dhankoni Kalyan, Sagera, Shuddh-Ranjani Sanjogiya and Shiv-abhogi are some of the ragas composed by him, which are well known and are presented by many renowned artistes. “His views on tradition were not orthodox or rigid; he gave a scientific explanation. He believed that modernity has to emanate from tradition, and unless one understands what has been done, one cannot know what has to be done. He believed that there is a wide margin between thoughtful creativity and baseless tomfoolery,” says the son. Pt. Suhas recalls how his father had a unique relation with his guru Jagannath Buwa Purohit. “There have been instances when they communicated with each other through their compositions,” he says.
An accomplished vocalist himself, Pt. Suhas says that music was a natural choice for him and not forced by his father. At a very young age, he says, he had realised that there is nothing in the world that could equal music for him. The environment at home helped. “My mother was fond of music and always supported me and my brothers. Besides, because of my father, I had regular interactions with artistes such as Pt. Jitendra Abhisheki, Pt Kumar Gandharav, Pt Bhimsen Joshi, Pt. S.C.R. Bhat and Pt. K.G. Ginde; so it was natural for me to get attracted to this world,” says Pt. Suhas.
Among the numerous things that he has absorbed from his father, the one which he adheres to strictly is that music has its own reward and one should remain honest and dedicated to art, no matter what. “I have been fortunate enough to witness him teach many of his students. Today, I try in my own humble way, to teach students from a younger generation. Of course, technology had not seeped in during my father’s time, but I make optimum usage of technology and teach students abroad through video software,” says Pt. Suhas.
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