Divine Evening of Music and Dance at ‘Shakti Mahapith’ Kamakshya’

The time was just evening, the place was the courtyard of Shakti Mahapith Kamakshya, and the air was filled with the Shabda Brahma created by Pandit Ram Kumar Mallick and his team. Pandit Mallick ji, a Padmashree awardee for his contribution to the Darbhanga Gharana of Dhrupad, orchestrated the musical tapestry. The architect of that great moment was Sangeet Natak Akademi, which initiated a festival of Music and Dance titled ‘Shakti’, set to resonate across all the Shaktipiths of India. This was the inaugural event of this series.

Listening to Dhrupad by Mallick Ji live is a rare artistic experience, and Sangeet Natak Akademi receives heartfelt gratitude from the audience for curating such a program in Guwahati. Dhrupad, a genre of Indian classical music, is practiced by a select few artists, and public recitals are comparably infrequent. Pandit Ram Kumar Mallick, renowned in this field, is one of the prime representatives of the Darbhanga Gharana. In this concert, he was accompanied by Dr. Samit Kumar Mallick on vocal and Mr. Rishi Shankar Upadhay on Pakhwaj.

Pandit Ram Kumar Mallick

In this concert, Pandit Mallick performed Aalap and Chautal in Raag Yaman and a Durga Vandana ‘Jaya Mangala Sarba Mangal Kar Nihari’. His baritone voice, infused with the ritualistic sensitivity of prayer, transcended the earthly realm, captivating the audience. The melodious utilization of Gauhar Vani and Khandar Vani was evident in his singing. Alongside his gorgeous vocal delivery, the harmonious blend of detailed Aalap, Meed, Gamak, intricate rhythmic patterns, clear pronunciation of Bandish’s verses, and other layakari, made his recital an extraordinary auditory experience. His rendition of Durga Vandana paid homage to the Shaktipith, his voice echoing the strength and aesthetic beauty akin to a philosophical interpretation of a forceful waterfall on a hill, retaining its melodious appeal even after it falls on the ground. Pandit Ram Kumar Mallick’s performance elevated the recital into a spiritual pilgrimage through resonant melodies.

Another significant performance was Suknanni Ozapali (a traditional religious song from Assam with rhythmic body movements resembling dance) and Deodhani Nritya by Drona Bhuyan and his ensemble. Drona Bhuyan, a leading artist of Ozapali and Deodhani, was honoured with the Padmashree by Govt of India. The presentation comprised Ozapali, involving singing, and Deodhani Dance, with Bhuyan playing the lead role in both performances as a singer and drum player in the dance. The team’s performance paid tribute to Shakti through song and dance, resonating with the energetic beats of traditional drums, dynamic movements with war-fighting props, and spirited choreography, crafting a soul-stirring reverence to the Devipeeth, the eternal Shakti.

Two other performances in the evening included the Kathak Dance by Dr. Ruchi Khare and her team and Garva Dance by the Sanskar Group of Bhabnagar.

In closing, as an enthusiast of music and dance, I fervently urge Sangeet Natak Akademi to arrange another enchanting concert featuring Rudra Veena in this sacred Shaktipith.



Shiva-Shakti: Divine love and power personified on stage

Ria Gupta delivering the Bharatanatyam recital titled ‘Shiva-Shakti’.

Shiva, in Hindu philosophy, the dynamic interaction between the feminine and male energy in the cosmos is symbolized by the profound idea of Shakti. It represents the coming together of Shakti, the divine feminine energy that animates the entire creation, and Shiva, the cosmic awareness. The manifestation, maintenance, and disintegration of the universe depend on this union. Shiva Shakti encompasses a multitude of Shakti aspects or expressions, each with distinct attributes. The divine couple Shiva-Shakti, viewed from a metaphysical perspective, represents two fundamental aspects of the One: the feminine principle, which stands for Its Energy, the Force that acts in the manifested world and life itself, and the masculine principle, which represents the enduring aspect of God. Here is where Shakti is.

It was a personification of divine power on stage as Ria Gupta, disciple of Guru Smt Sindhu Mishra, presented a Bharatanatyam recital titled ‘Shiva-Shakti – The Cosmic Union’.

Guru Sindhu Mishra explaining the concepts of the Dance

The recital, organised by the cultural society Aayam at Delhi’s LTG Auditorium, mesmerised the audience with its harmonious blend of tradition and innovation, technique and artistry.

Ria presented a compelling exploration of Shiva and Parvati, the cosmic pair representing the opposing forces of destruction and creation that form the eternal cycle of the universe. Equally compelling were the creative choreography, unusual choice of poetic texts, and juxtaposition of Carnatic and Hindustani styles of music.

Conceived and choreographed by Guru Smt Sindhu Mishra, the presentation described aspects of Shiva and Parvati through little known verses from the Ramcharitmanas. Ria’s talent and training were on full display as she portrayed the contrasting deities with layered precision and emotion.

In her first solo recital, Ria proved herself as an accomplished Bharatanatyam dancer. Her passion and dedication were evident as she created an ambience of divine love and power through her nuanced abhinaya and intricate jatis.

The evening unfolded with a Ganesh Kriti, ‘Ananda Narthana Ganapatim Bhaavaye’. Marked by vivacity and depth, the piece described the divine bliss emanating from Ganesha’s dance, which accompanies the captivating music of the gandharvas playing the lute, mridangam and veena. The choreography was an energetic blend of rhythmic and expressive movements, executed with ease by Ria.

Growing up, Parvati—the daughter of Himavan and Mainavati—heard stories about Lord Shiva. In addition to her curiosity about who this Shiva was, Parvati also harbored dreams of marrying him as she had begun to adore him. According to folk lore Parvati did penance for thousands of years to please Lord Shiva and woo him. Finally the Lord was pleased and married Devi Parvati!

This aspect of the epic tale was enumerated by a Pada Varnam, created especially for this presentation. The poetry, from Baal Kand of Tulsidas’ Ramcharitmanas, describes the episode where Parvati is encouraged by Narad Muni to undergo penance in the forest to prove her love to Shiva and become his consort. Seeing this, Shiva sends the Saptarishi to test Parvati’s devotion. Ria explored the narrative with intense expressions and sophisticated rhythmic patterns. Set to Ragam Shahana and Talam Adi, the composition was composed and sung by Shri Nitin Sharma.

The following piece was a Keerthanam — the well known ‘Natanam Adinar’. In a vibrant rendition, Ria portrayed the joyful dance of Lord Shiva in the golden halls of Chidambaram, which was so powerful that all eight directions trembled, the head of Adishesha swayed, and drops of Ganga’s water scattered all around from his matted hair. Set to Ragam Vasantha, the Shri Gopalakrishna Bharatiyar composition was sung by Shri G Elangovan.

The Padam was another unusual excerpt from Ramcharitmanas. In this, Ria explored an episode from Shiva and Parvati’s wedding celebrations, where the people of Himachal, upon seeing Shiva’s wedding procession, were shocked to see a terrifying band of ghosts, demons, spirits. Maena, the mother, attempted to convince Parvati into abandoning the wedding, to the extent that she was ready to give up her life for it!

The tale of Parvati imparts to us the significance of metamorphosis. She endured great penance in order to gain Lord Shiva’s favor because of her undying devotion and love. Her path of introspection and personal development highlights the capacity for transformation that exists in all of us. It motivates us to welcome change

Ria Gupta

The evening concluded with a scintillating Hindolam Thillana, composed by Shri Dandayudhapani Pillai and sung by Shri G Elangovan. The charanam was an invocation to Shiva, the lord of dance, the one whose auspicious feet are cherished by his devotees. It was a fitting end to a powerful performance, which elevated the audience with its richness and depth.   

The distinguished orchestra included Shri G Elangovan on Carnatic vocals and flute, Shri Nitin Sharma on Hindustani vocals, Shri Sachin Sharma on the tabla and Dr Ramamurthy Kesavan on the mridangam. Nattuvangam was by Guru Smt Sindhu Mishra.

Ria’s mastery of Bharatanatyam techniques as well as nuanced understanding of literature were evident throughout her performance. In her first solo stage appearance, she succeeded in making an impact, with her dedication and dynamism apparent. She presents yet another young artiste flowering under the tutelage of Guru Smt. Mishra.

File Photo of Guru Sindhu Mishra as a young Bharatnatyam Danseuse

Guru Smt Mishra distinguished herself as a performer in the classical milieu under the guidance of eminent Gurus Shri KN Dakshinamoorthy, Shri KJ Govindarajan and Smt Kamalini Dutt. She emerged as a choreographer with a unique and compelling style, and played a vital role in conceiving, organizing and choreographing high-profile events and festivals across the country. The recipient of awards and fellowships from the central and state governments, she is also the founder of the cultural society Aayam.

‘सर सर सरला’ उर्फ ‘श्रंगार काण्ड’… मंच पर कविता

समीक्षा: अनिल गोयल

मंच पर कविता का मंचन लगभग बीस-बाईस वर्ष पूर्व देखा था, जब भोपाल से भारत रंग महोत्सव में आई विभा मिश्रा का नाटक ‘उनके हिस्से का प्रेम’ देखा था. मंच पर वही कविता एक बार फिर मंचित होती देखी, वशिष्ठ उपाध्याय के निर्देशन में मकरन्द देशपाण्डे के नाटक ‘सर सर सरला’ में, जिसे संजीव कान्त के रंगसमूह ‘कॉमन पीपुल’ ने ‘श्रृंगार काण्ड’ के नाम से 17 मार्च 2024 को प्रस्तुत किया. प्रस्तुति गुरुग्राम में महेश वशिष्ठ के ‘रूफटॉप’ प्रेक्षागृह ‘रंगपरिवर्तन’ में हुई. इस प्रकार के एक छोटे से, ‘इंटिमेट’ स्टूडियो प्रेक्षागृह में इस नाटक की सुन्दर प्रस्तुति ने अभिभूत कर दिया, कि कविता आज भी जीवित है! प्रकाश की सीमित उपलब्ध व्यवस्था के बीच, अभिनय के अतिरिक्त कोई उपकरण कलाकारों के पास नहीं बचता! और सभी कलाकारों ने उसका भरपूर उपयोग किया!

बायें से: नाटक के निर्देशक वशिष्ठ उपाध्याय, रंगकर्मी महेश वशिष्ठ, नाट्य समीक्षक अनिल गोयल

और मंच पर ही नहीं, कविता दर्शकों के बीच भी विराजमान रही, जहाँ नाटक के दौरान लगभग डेढ़ घंटे में मुझे एक बार भी कोई व्यक्ति मोबाइल पर सन्देश देखता हुआ तक भी नजर नहीं आया! इसे नाटक की प्रस्तुति के उत्कृष्ट होने के प्रमाण के रूप में भी लिया जा सकता है! और मुझे लगा, कि तीन पीढ़ियों को लेकर भी कोई परिवार वहाँ नाटक देखने आया हुआ था! यही चीजें रंगमंच के भविष्य के प्रति विश्वास जगाती हैं!
मंच पर प्रो. जी.पी. पालेकर के रूप में वशिष्ठ उपाध्याय, सरला के रूप में ज्योति उपाध्याय और फणीधर के रूप में तारा सिंह ने अद्भुत कसी हुई प्रस्तुति दे कर दर्शकों को हिलने भर का भी अवसर नहीं दिया! अपनी विद्यार्थी की अनुरक्ति से दिग्भ्रमित से प्रो. पालेकर (वशिष्ठ उपाध्याय), अपने आदर्श अध्यापक के प्रति रसीला अनुराग लिये सरल सी सरला (ज्योति उपाध्याय), और सरला की इस अनुरक्ति से परेशान फणीधर (तारा सिंह), जिसे सरला के एक अन्य साथी केशव के साथ विवाह के दंश को भी झेलना पड़ता है – इन चार पात्रों की इस चतुष्कोणीय प्रेम कथा मनुष्यों के बीच के सम्बन्धों की जटिलता के प्रश्न को बहुत सुन्दर तरीके से प्रस्तुत करती है, जिसमें मंच पर केशव कभी उपस्थित नहीं होता. वशिष्ठ उपाध्याय और ज्योति उपाध्याय ने बहुत कसे हुए तरीके से अपनी भूमिकाएँ निभाई हैं. लेकिन जिस तरीके से तारा सिंह ने एक झल्लाये हुए कुंठित प्रेमी की कठिन भूमिका को निभाया है, जिसमें एक ओर उसके प्रोफेसर हैं, दूसरी ओर वह लड़की है जिसे वह मन ही मन प्रेम करता है, और तीसरी ओर एक अन्य सहपाठी है, जिसके साथ सरला विवाह कर लेती है, वह दर्शनीय था!
‘कॉमन पीपुल’ की रजत जयन्ती के अवसर पर उन्होंने महेश वशिष्ठ और हरि कश्यप को सम्मानित किया. इस सम्मानित व्यक्तियों साथ मुझ अकिंचन को भी सम्मिलित करके उन्होंने अपनी श्रेष्ठता का ही परिचय दिया!

Review of Merry Christmas(movie) in the light of Western Classical Music

I am a big fan of filmmaker Sriram Raghavan and after Andha Dhun the expectations were high. His recent film Merry Christmas did not fail to amuse me. It was a rapturous experience to see his film in theatre. Witty dialogs, on screen flirting, old world charm of Bombay (not Mumbai as he wrote in title roll) and a Hitchcockian drama in a Victorian set up is all I needed for a thorough entertainment. However, there is more to it if you see details and feel the film. The screenplay is doubtlessly taut with twists and turns every 15 minutes; there is God in details. The visuals of Victorian Gothic and Art Deco buildings of Mumbai added a splendour. Particularly for people who like Mumbai, this movie is a treat because Bombay seeps into it as a character. With an overtone of Christmas, the choice of cityscape cannot be better than Bombay in whole of India.

I never knew Katrina Kaif has so much left in her in terms of acting and histrionics. In Bollywood and regional films of India an actress is outdated after few years being in her peak. She is generally shown and seen as a Diva and an item number. Most of the actresses are out of business before they hit mid-life. So, in that kind of background Katrina has made a comeback and what a comeback it is!!  Her charm added to her free willy nature of the character and surprisingly her histrionics later on exhibited the violence and cruelty in that character. Vijay Setupathy made “Non-Acting” his acting style. His witty one liners, awkward dance and subtle expressions made my day. His method acting made it a superb watching experience. And I must mention Sanjay Kapoor, who, in a brief role, was hilarious.

The movie is a dark comedy, a Noir film where two lonely souls with chequered past and shades of grey cross paths on a Christmas night and gets locked forever. You may love or hate the ending but last 15 minutes was extraordinary. And now comes the role of Western Classical Music in creating and maintaining the mood of this film.

I have observed earlier in Andhadhun how beautifully Sriram Raghavan used Beethoven’s Symphony no.5 to show the jarring visuals and rapturous moments. Similarly, the background music in “Merry Christmas” was heavily influenced by Western Classical Music. For example, during the gunshot the crescendo of Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite no 1,“In the hall of the Mountain King” superbly helped to muffle the crime. If you hear this classical music piece you will relate how the slow tempo initially is growing to a thundering crescendo eventually within few minutes. For your reference I am pasting the Youtube link below. If you see the film you can relate to what I mean.

Similarly, to add class, Maria was playing Habanera from Carmen by Bizet. Listen to the video. Ronnie was constantly saying “Oh she is a classy woman.” In India, due to a colonial hangover, anything Western means sophistication and it implies that to enjoy western classical music, Opera particularly one needs good education and sophistication, which is treasured by many. So the Habanera from Carmen is a great choice to exemplify class.

And in the end Vivaldi’s Winter played for almost 10 minutes to the perfection. Starting with the Pizzicato which exemplified the sprinkling of doubt in the police officer’s mind, it moves on to a rise in tempo and tone, where swiftly the hidden things expose fast climaxed with the exchange of ring between two souls with tormented past. There is anxiety, hope, romance, despair, magic realism and baffle in that last 5 minutes superbly portrayed by Vivaldi’s Winter. Nowhere in Bollywood I expected Vivaldi’s Winter to personify the swift changes of human behaviour amidst the movie characters. Sriram Raghavan deserves a special mention for this intelligent use of western classical music to evoke and maintain feelings in a film.

Earlier I have observed use of Western Classical Music pieces in a Satyajit Ray movie or Shyam Benegal movie. For example, Gluck’s Melodie from Orpheus and Euridicce was used in “Jana Aranya” by Ray and he also borrowed Mozart’s Symphony no 25 in Feluda theme in “Joy baba Felunath” or Mozart Symphony “Jupiter” and Requiem mass in songs of “Hirak Rajar Desh e”. Kamaleswar Mukherjee used Beethoven Symphony 5 first movement in his “Meghe dhaka tara”. Shyam Benegal films like Kalyug, Trikal or Mammo used music of Beethoven and Mozart. However, in Bollywood use of Western classical music motifs are few and far. In a refreshing take, Sriram Raghavan has used Vivaldi, Grieg and Bizet in “Merry Christmas” to reflect and set the mood.

Overall, the movie “Merry Christmas” brings a point that “Content is King” in an industry flooded with Jawaans, Pathaans and Animal. Merry Christmas is a thoroughly entertaining movie where you have to sit on the edge not to miss the details. Particularly the edgy ending was something a movie goer will remember for a long, long time. In fact, Merry Christmas opens a new year of pure filmmaking and story telling in Bollywood

_______Biswa Prasun Chatterji.

Star Fades, Brilliance Shines On

The departure of Ustad Rashid Khan leaves a void in the realm of Indian classical music, casting a shadow of sorrow and emptiness that will endure for a considerable time. Rashid Khan, synonymous with the ethereal world of ‘Anya Ek Bhuban,’ crafted by his resonant and masculine voice, embarked on an enchanting musical journey, seamlessly navigating from one note to another—a phenomenon known in the musical lexicon.

The mere mention of Rashid Khan conjures up a nostalgic image. Thirty-two years ago, on a chilly January evening, I left Tollyganj’s studio and found solace on a roadside tea shop bench, accompanied by cinematographer Kamal Nayak and film director Arun Guhathakurta. At the other end of the bench, a young man joined us. Kamal Nayak inquired, ‘Have you heard of Rashid Khan?’ Back then, he wasn’t yet ‘Ustad Rashid Khan,’ but his fame was burgeoning. Though I had encountered his name in Desh magazine’s music reviews, I did not get an opportunity to experience his highly lauded singing. We struck up a conversation, and over a cup of tea, we acquainted ourselves. Politeness adorned his demeanour, and after a brief encounter, we each resumed our places. Later, I discovered that he studied music at the Music Research Academy, residing with the renowned Ustad Nisar Hussain Khan across the street.

Months after our meeting, Rashid Khan’s vocal performance in an audio cassette, featuring Raag Bageshri and Desh, hit the shelves. In response to our encounter, I purchased the cassette—a delightful experience. His voice, youthful, humble, and enchanting, resonated with a subtle echo of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi’s energy, Ustad Aamir Khan’s solemnity, and Ustad Nisar Khan’s Tarana’s rapid pace. Yet, amidst these influences, Rashid Khan’s voice possessed a distinct identity, brimming with new energy.

In a concise span, Rashid Khan left an indelible mark on the music industry—successive gramophone records, and live concerts domestically and internationally—thrusting him into the limelight among his generation’s talented musicians. Pandit Bhimsen Joshi heralded him as the future of Indian classical music. His desire to break free from the traditional ‘Gharana’ constraints set him on a journey to explore the expansive world of music, incorporating Sufi influences. He ventured into creating new melodies, even lending his voice to classical songs in films, such as ‘Kahe Ujari Mori Nind’ and ‘Tore Bina Mohe Chen Nahi.’

Rashid Khan’s enthusiasm extended beyond film songs; he collaborated with popular Bengali singer Nachiketa to experimentally sing Rabindra Sangeet. Their rendition, based on Raags, with interludes featuring Ustad’s ‘bandis,’ showcased a unique approach, distinct from previous interpretations by Pandit Ajay Chakraborty and Swagatalakshmi Dasgupta. Among his notable achievements was his Krishna Bhajan for Times Music. He often performed in duets with Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, including Bhajans. These bhajans not only reflected the influence of Joshi but also showcased the positive effects of that association.

Recognized by the government with the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan awards, Rashid Khan achieved success, and honours, and, tragically, departed at a relatively young age—a reality difficult to accept.

Having witnessed several live performances, I regret not having had the chance to meet him except once at the Kolkata airport. A brief interaction revealed his affability, especially upon noticing ‘Aakashbani’ on my visiting card. Classical musicians, it seemed, felt a closer connection when reminded of Aakashbani.

Rashid Khan, initially disinterested in music as a child, imparted his musical knowledge to his son Armaan from a young age. Armaan, emerging as a talented singer and accomplished guitarist, undoubtedly carries the influence of his father.

As the stars extinguish, their brilliance magnifies in the darkness.


Evergreen Asha Bhosle when she was younger

First Published in THE AIDEM (theaidem.com)

Asha Bhosle, the most charismatic female exponent of the Hindi film song (from the late 1940s to the early 1980s) when it became an independent art form, turned Ninety on 8th September, 2023. She has sung thousands of songs in good, bad an indifferent films, principally in Hindi, where her singing has been the leading attraction. This is indeed high compliment as she has always been compared to her elder sister Lata Mangeshkar, who, in her prime years between the late 1940s to, the early 1980s, was the most tuneful or ‘Sureela’ of all woman singers in Hindi films, or films from any other part of India. Asha, however won out because of her versatility and the ability to conjure up a wide range of feelings and experiences that belonged to this flesh and blood world.

Her singing at first was not so different from that of her elder sister, a style she adopted or was made to adopt by certain music directors in order to sound like her thin-voiced but extremely mellifluous elder sister Lata. Not until O.P. Nayyar (1926–2007) came along, was she able to find her musical self. He reportedly told Asha, “Tum apni awaaz main gao (sing in your own voice)”. Nayyar saw to it that she did her riyaz (practise) every morning in her natural voice which was distinctly darker than her sister Lata’s and intrinsically sensual. But before O.P. Nayyar came along she had sung two non-film songs that still linger in the memory: “Geet kitni gaa chuki hun is sukhi jag ke liye” and “Ambua ki dari bole….”, both composed by the brilliant, mercurial table maestro Nikhil Ghosh.

Strangely enough in 1953, when Lata her elder sister was already famous, Asha was offered three solo songs by a gifted, young composer, Mohammad Zahoor Khan ‘Khayyam’ for Footpath, a film directed by Zia Sarhadi and Starring two powerful young performers, Dilip Kumar and Meena Kumari. It was said that Lata wanted to sing those three solos but young Khayyam stood firm backed by his director. ‘Piya aaja re’, ‘Kaise jadoo dala re’ and ‘So jaa mere pyare’ sung by Asha Bhosle are still remembered along with Talat Mahmood’s immortal “Sham-e-gham ki qasam”.

Soon after the brilliant composer Madan Mohan, a Great Lata fan, got Asha to sing a ghazal written by Jalal Malihabadi, “Saba se ye keh do” for the film, Bank Manager. Asha’s rendering had both empathy and romance. As a singer she had arrived. But the contracts for solo songs were not that many. Earlier in Sangdil, 1952, a Dilip Kumar—Madhubala starrer, a composer of genuine originality, Sajjad Hussain, had got Asha to sing a duet with Geeta Dutt, an unusual talent. “Dharti se dur gore badalon ke paar aaja”. It was a haunting duet with Asha showing both vocal range and a timbre that could be called tactile. It was a voice destined to stay in the memory of the listener.

It took Asha a fairly long time to establish her identity as a truly fine soloist, despite earning respectable sums of money. Lata held sway over the film music world as a soloist, with her obviously formidable musicality and by sounding like a ‘virgin’. A musical approach that seemed to fit the image of all the leading ladies who were there to shore up the moral quotient of Hindi films and were thus curtailed emotionally, leaving the male leads to indulge in their peccadillos!

It was Nayyar, whose career was in the ascendant who worked hard to project Asha as a solid, reliable soloist. In Shakti Samanta’s Howrah Bridge (1957) he promoted her as the voice of Madhubala, the reigning Queen of Hindi films and its only comedian. in “Aaye meherban”, Asha’s sensual singing picturised on Madhubala in a Cabaret sequence, made her sparkle. Then was the snappy, melodious solo, “Ye kya ker dala tuney” that made the most recalcitrant of cynics respond to the romance in the words and the music. In the same year Nayyar repeated his success with Asha in Nazir Hussain’s Tumsa Nahi Dekha. Her two duets with Mohammad Rafi were instant hits, namely, “Aye hain dur se….”, “Dekho kasam se kasam se”. Around that time, Sachin Dev Burman, created a moving solo for Asha in Bimal Roy’s Sujata, “Kali ghata chaye mora jiya ghabrae” mirroring the longings of an Untouchable orphan girl played by Nutan.

S.D. Burman had a falling out with Lata Mangeshkar, but ego forbade him to give in. Kala Bazar produced by Navketan and directed by Vijay Anand, had Asha singing “Sach hue sapne mere”. No female singer had sung with such abandon in Hindi films before, perhaps because the Heroines, with the notable exception of Madhubala, and Geeta Bali, who died well before their time, the only two who got roles to also express the sunny side of their personalities.

S.D. Burman got Asha to sing four solos in Narendra Suri’s, Lajwanti “Kuchh Din pehle…”, “Chanda re chup rehna”, “Gaa mere mun tu gaa” and “Koi aaya dhadkan kehti hai”, are all sung with depth and feeling and picturised on Nargis, an exceptional actress. They continue to be played on the Radio and on YouTube, surprising those young listeners are who responsive to the beauty of Indian melodies that enunciate and augment the lyrics that are set to them.

Two other solos recorded almost a decade apart  come to mind : ‘’Main jab bhi akeli hoti hun’’ from Dharamputra (1962) composed with elegance and poise by N Dutta, and, ‘’Mein shayad tumhare liye ajnabi hun’’, a haunting melody composed by O P Nayyar for Ye Raat Phir Na Ayegi.

 Contemporary composers, to be sure, had been aware of Asha’s potential and the expressive quality of her voice. However, they were not going to challenge the preference of film producers and financiers who were completely taken in by the virginal sweetness of Lata Mangeshkar’s voice and her unassailable technique. Asha would have to prove herself in duets (and did she!) She sang with Kishore Kumar in the Dev Anand—Nutan starrer, Paying Guest. “O deewana Mastana” and “Chod do aanchal zamana kya kahega” spring to mind after all these years with all their freshness and zing.

O.P. Nayyar had an unusual sense of melody, part Punjabi folk and part raga-based in its inspiration: this coupled with his pulsating rhythm section of tabla, dholak and occasionally, western drums, gave to many of his compositions a distinctive personality. Even when he cogged melodies from the West, eg., “Hun abhi mein jawan” sung by Geeta Dutt from Aar Paar that got its mukhda or introduction from “Put the blame on me” from Gilda, a Rita Hayworth hit from Hollywood directed by Charles Vidor. The Antara clearly had Nayyar’s distinctive touch.

Asha Bhosle, and before her Geeta Dutt, had voices most suitable to his work. Much as he had admired Lata Mangeshkar’s artistry, he found her voice to be too thin for his kind of music. Asha’s voice was very flexible, had a dark, sensual colour and was responsive to lyrics to express many moods and experiences. Nayyar understood perceptively both Asha Bhosle the woman, as well as the singer who brought his compositions to life. Until they parted in amidst much acrimony, they had literally been a perfect pair of lovers for twelve years.

Asha Bhosle, a mother of three, had been unhappily married to a man of uncertain profession, Ganpatrao Bhosle, from 1949 to ’60. He died in 1966, supposedly in a taxi. O.P. Nayyar, had married Saroj Mohini when he was seventeen and she, fifteen. They had four children together. He shot to fame with “Preetam aan milo” that he composed as a teenager and was first recorded by C.H. Atma as a non-film song. On discovering Asha Bhosle, he found his muse, and the perfect female voice for his songs. Their problematic marital status as separate individuals did not prevent them from living together in a beautifully furnished flat on Worli sea-face in Bombay.

When they parted in 1972, they had recorded for the film Pran Jaye Per Vachan Na Jaye, “Chaen se humko kabhi aap ne jeene na diya”. It was a masterly composition rendered by Asha with unfettered emotion, which, in effect, also summed up the cause of their parting. O.P. Nayyar could not find another female voice to replace her and his career faded away rapidly. He observed ruefully later, “I put all my eggs in one basket.”  He regretted having side-lined a singular talent like Geeta Dutt. Asha went from success to success over the next three decades and married Rahul Dev Burman, the gifted composer son of S.D. Burman.

This digression was necessary while discussing the life of Asha Bhosle, an unusually gifted singer and a feisty woman who has navigated with unusual grit and skill through all the ups and downs in her turbulent life. For the record her depressive daughter Varsha committed suicide in 2012 and son Hemant, a composer, died of Cancer in 2015 in Scotland. Asha continues to fight on with every fibre of her being.

As late as 2001, when she sang, “Radha kaise na jaley” for A.R. Rehman in Amir Khan’s, Lagaan, Asha had retained the spring,   and melody in her voice, which by then had become ever so slightly girlish. She could render fast taans (there are a couple of instances in this song) with ease and accuracy. No mean achievement for a singer in her late sixties.

She is believed to have sung Ten thousand songs in eight hundred films. One can only talk of one’s favourites and there are very many. There are the three from the Ashok Kumar starrer, Kalpana, (composer O.P. Nayyar), namely, “Phir bhi dil heye beqaraar”,  “O ji sawan mein bhi… ”, “Beqasi hudh se jab guzar jaye”. Completely different from each other, revealing the amazing malleability of her voice, its unique melody and the sure grasp of evanescent emotion. There is the other haunting song, from Raagini, also composed by O.P. Nayyar, “Chota saa baalma” in Raga Tilang. There are a host of other Nayyar compositions as well.

“Jaaiye aap kahan jaayengi” (Film: Mera Sanam), “Meri nazrein haseen” (Ek Musafir Ek Haseena); ‘’Aaj meiney jana mera dil heye diwani’’ (Farishta),  “Aaj koi pyaar se” (Sawan ki Ghata); “Yehi wo jaga heye” (Ye Raat Phir Na Ayegi); “Puchho na hamein hum unke liye”, (Mitti Main Sona), ‘’Aao huzoor tumko sitaron mein le chalun’’ (Kismat), and a song picturised on the ‘bad girl’ in a given film, “Ye heye reshmi zulfon ka andhera na ghabraeye ….” (Mere Sanam).    

The duets that she sang for S.D. Burman with Kishore Kumar in Nau Do Gyaara, “Aankhon mein kya jee”, her own solo, “Dhalki jae chunariya…” and the two duets with Mohammad Rafi, “aaja panchi akela heye” and “Kali ke roop mein chali ho dhoop main…” certainly are memorable as are the three from Ek Musafir Ek Haseena: “Main pyaar ka rahi hoon”; “aap yun hi agar humse milte rahe”; “Jawani yaar man turki”, and two others from Kashmir ki Kali—“Isharon isharon mein” and “Deewana hua badal”, both composed by O.P. Nayyar and yet another duet with the marvellous Mohhamad Rafi ,’’Phir milogi kabhi…’’ from Ye Raat Phir Na Ayegi,and, much earlier a mesmerising duet from Phagun, ‘’Main soya akhiya meechey’’.

Khayyam is the other composer who brought the best in Asha’s multifarious musical personality. Two duets from Ramesh Sehgal’s Phir Subah Hogi: “Who subah kabhi to aayegi”, and “Yun na keeje meri gustakh nighahi ka gila”, both with Mukesh, have attained immortality. Her solos in Muzzafar Ali’s Umrao Jaan bring out her astonishing vocal range, the flexibility and soz (poignance) in her voice. Her songs for the tawaif (singing courtesan) Umrao in this period piece set in mid-19th century Lucknow, stay in the memory. “Dil cheez kya heye aap meri jaan lijiye”; “justu jiski thi”, “Ye kya jagah heye doston” are amongst the finest songs composed in the annals of the Golden Age of Hindi film music. Asha’s singing fitted Rekha’s vulnerable  screen-personality perfectly, just as her elder sister Lata’s did on Meena Kumari playing Sahib Jaan in  Kamal Amrohi’s, Pakeeza.

If this article is a shade too subjective, well… it is. While having enormous respect for Lata Mangeshkar’s peerless tonal quality at her peak that lasted for thirty or so years, one could never understand her well-nigh ‘abstract’ handling of emotion in her songs, as if any hint of sensuality in them would disqualify her from being a great artiste. Asha Bhosle’s singing was uninhibited, earthy, intrinsically musical and very much to be felt with one’s entire being. That is why one remains enamoured of Asha Bhosle’s singing.

Somehow, she continues to be in the limelight not just for her delectable music. At the recently concluded World Cup Final played at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, India was pitted against Australia in the 50-over Cricket tournament. India lost, after giving great hope to an enormous, completely partisan home crowd. Asha Bhosle, a die-hard cricket fan, like her late sister, Lata, was seated between BCCI President Jay Shah and Sharukh Khan, the superstar of Hindi cinema. An ND TV video, shows Sharukh take Ashaji’s empty coffee cup, despite her reluctance, and hand it over to one of the cleaning staff.  A viewer remarked,’’It was the only heart-warming gesture in the whole match.’’ Asha Bhosle’s charisma cuts through generations and inspires them to acts of gallantry.

प्रेम रामायण

लेखक: अनिल गोयल

महरषि वाल्मीकि की रामायण ने पिछले लगभग सात-आठ हजार वर्षों में कितने ही रूप धारे हैं. हर काल में वाल्मीकि–रचित इस महाकाव्य को हर कोई अपने तरीके से सुनाता चला आया है. इसकी मंच-प्रस्तुतियों ने भी शास्त्रीय से लेकर लोक-मानस तक हजारों रंग भरे हैं. पारसी शैली की रामलीला को देख कर भारत की कितनी ही पीढ़ियाँ भगवान राम की इस कथा को मन में धारती आई हैं. कुमाँऊँनी रामलीला से लेकर कोटा क्षेत्र के पातोंदा गाँव, ओड़ीसा की लंकापोड़ी रामलीला और हरियाणा में खेली जाने वाली सरदार यशवन्तसिंह वर्मा टोहानवी की रामलीला जैसी कितनी ही सांगीतिक रामलीलाओं की लम्बी परम्परा हमारे यहाँ है. भारत ही नहीं, विदेशों में भी इसकी अनेकों प्रस्तुति-शैलियाँ पाई जाती हैं. इंडोनेशिया में बाली की रामलीला की तो अपनी अलग ही मनोहर शैली है.

हमारे देश में भी कलाकार रामलीला को अपनी दृष्टि से मंच पर प्रस्तुत करने के नित नये तरीके और शैलियाँ ढूँढ़ते रहते हैं. प्रवीण लेखक, निर्देशक और निर्माता अतुल सत्य कौशिक ने, जो प्रशिक्षण से एक चार्टर्ड अकाउंटेंट और अधिवक्ता हैं, अपने नाटक ‘प्रेम रामायण’ में प्रेम की दृष्टि से इस महाकाव्य की विवेचना की है. रामायण की अपनी व्याख्या पर आधारित नाटक ‘प्रेम रामायण’ का प्रदर्शन अतुल ने 5 अक्टूबर 2022 को दिल्ली के कमानी प्रेक्षागृह में किया. उनकी इस नाटक की यह पच्चीसवीं या छब्बीसवीं प्रस्तुति थी, जोकि हिन्दी रंगमंच के लिये एक गर्व का विषय है.

हमारे यहाँ प्रेम-भाव का प्रयोग प्रायः कृष्ण-कथाओं की प्रेम-मार्गी प्रस्तुतियों में किया जाता है. परन्तु अतुल ने बाल्मीकि की रामायण के मर्यादा पुरुषोत्तम भगवान राम के जीवन पर आधारित रामायण को प्रेम के भाव की प्रस्तुति का माध्यम बनाया है, जहाँ रामायण के चरित्र ईश्वरीय अवतार होने के साथ-साथ अपने मानवीय रूप, स्वभाव और संवेदनाओं के संग नजर आते हैं.

Atul Satya Kaushik

इसकी प्रेरणा उन्हें कैसे मिली, इसके उत्तर में वे कहते हैं, “मैं किसी एक प्रोजैक्ट के लिये बाल्मीकि रामायण पढ़ रहा था, और क्रौंच-वध के प्रसंग को पढ़ते हुए मुझे लगा कि इस महाकाव्य की उत्पत्ति तो एक प्रेम-आख्यान से हुई है. तो रामायण की विभिन्न कथाओं में प्रेम को ढूँढ़ने की प्रेरणा मुझे इसी आदि-काव्य से मिली!”
इसके लिये उन्होंने रामायण में छुपी पाँच प्रेम-कथाओं को चुना है. प्रेम-कथाओं के इन पन्नों में से सबसे पहले वे एक लगभग अनजानी सी कहानी ‘अकाल’ ले कर आते हैं, जिसमें श्रीराम की बड़ी बहन, दशरथ और कौशल्या की पुत्री शान्ता और उनके पति ऋषि श्रृंगी या ऋष्यश्रृंग की कहानी दिखाई गई है. दूसरी कहानी ‘रथ से निकला पहिया’ कैकेयी और दशरथ की जानी-पहचानी कहानी है. तीसरी कहानी ‘स्वर और शान्ति’ में वे सीता और राम के मन की संवेदनाओं की कथा सुनाते हैं. इसके बाद ‘उल्टी करवट मत सोना’ में लक्ष्मण और उर्मिला की कहानी देखने को मिलती है. और अन्त में, ‘उस पार’ के माध्यम से सुलोचना और मेघनाद की करुण प्रेम-कथा के दर्शन होते हैं.

विरह या अपने प्रिय से अलगाव ही प्रायः प्रेम-आख्यानों का आधार रहता है. इन पाँच में से शान्ता की कहानी के अतिरिक्त अन्य सभी चार कहानियाँ अपने-अपने कारणों से जन्मे उसी विरह की वेदना को दर्शाती हैं. सभी कहानियों में स्त्री-मन की अथाह गहराइयों को दर्शाने का प्रयास स्पष्ट नजर आता है, जिसके लिये अतुल कभी-कभी इन कथाओं की अपने अनुसार विवेचना भी कर लेते हैं.

दशरथ के मित्र और अंगदेश के स्वामी राजा रोमपद ने शान्ता को पाला था. युवा होने के उपरान्त परिस्थितियोंवश एक बार शान्ता का सामना ऋषि श्रृंगी या ऋष्यश्रृंग से हुआ. ऋष्यश्रृंग ने अपने पिता विभान्तक या विभंडक के क्रोध से शान्ता की रक्षा की, और उसी क्षण शान्ता ऋष्यश्रृंग की हो गई! (इन ऋषि विभंडक के नाम पर ही आज का मध्य प्रदेश का भिंड नगर बसा हुआ है!) ऋष्यश्रृंग ने भी जीवन के हर क्षण में शान्ता को अपने साथ रखा, उसे पूरी बराबरी का सम्मान दिया! शान्ता के जीवन के उन्हीं क्षणों का चित्रण अतुल ने पूरी कुशलता के साथ किया है.

‘स्वर और शान्ति’ में अतुल ने सीता और राम के मन की ध्वनि को एक अनूठे ही तरीके से सुनाया है. अतुल की सीता अयोध्या की सीता नहीं हैं, वे मिथिला की बेटी सीता हैं, मन से एक चंचल बालिका, सुकोमल भावनाओं से ओत-प्रोत, कर्तव्यों के गाम्भीर्य के बीच अपने मन की संवेदनाओं के कोमल स्वरों को भी सुनने वाली सीता. अयोध्या के राम जितने शान्त थे, मिथिला की सीता उतनी ही चपल और चंचल थीं. आज भी मिथिला और नेपाल के गीतों में उनका यही रूप अधिक प्रचलित है, जनकपुर की बेटी का रूप! राम का स्वरुप भी यहाँ अयोध्या के युवराज का नहीं, बल्कि मिथिला के जामाता का है, जिसके साथ ठिठोली भी की जाती है! सीता के इसी स्वर, और राम के गहन-गम्भीर, शान्त स्वभाव की कथा है यह कथा! यह प्रेम रामायण है, तो उसमें अतुल ने कलात्मक स्वतन्त्रता लेकर सीता की प्रचलित एकदम गम्भीर, आदर्श छवि से हट कर, सीता को अपने पिता की लाडली बेटी, एक बच्ची के रूप में दिखाने का प्रयास किया है!

लेकिन पूरे नाटक में सबसे अधिक मार्मिक और करुणा भरे क्षण रहे लक्ष्मण और उर्मिला की विदा के क्षण! मैथिलीशरण गुप्त ने भी अपने महाकाव्य ‘साकेत’ के नवम सर्ग में घर में रह कर वनवासिनी का जीवन जीती उर्मिला की कहानी कही है. आसन्न विरह के आभास और सीता के वनवास जाने से उत्पन्न हुए कर्त्तव्य के बीच अद्भुत सन्तुलन बनाती हुई उर्मिला… इन चारों बहनों में से सबसे बड़ी सीता तो वन चली गईं . अब बाकी तीनों में उर्मिला ही सबसे बड़ी हैं. तीन सासें तो अपने वैधव्य को भोग रही हैं. उन तीनों सासों की, अपनी दोनों छोटी बहनों की, दोनों देवरों की, और इतने बड़े राजभवन की सम्पूर्ण जिमेवारी अब उर्मिला की हो जाने वाली है. लेकिन इन सब कर्त्तव्यों के बीच उसका अपना आसन्न विरह भी तो है, जिसे न चाह कर भी उर्मिला ने स्वीकार कर लिया है. लेकिन लक्ष्मण के वन जाने के पहले वह एक बार लक्ष्मण से मिल कर अपने को अयोध्या के राजभवन के अपने चौदह वर्षों के वनवास के लिए तैयार कर लेना चाहती है. वह वन-गमन की तैयारी करते लक्ष्मण को बुला भेजती है.

लक्ष्मण एवं उर्मिला दोनों को ही पता है कि उनका यह मिलन एक क्षणिक मिलन-मात्र है। उर्मिला के उलाहनों से प्रारम्भ हुए इस अल्पकालीन मिलन में दोनों में से कोई भी अपने अन्तर के ज्वार भाटे से दूसरे को अवगत नहीं करा पाता है। उन दोनों को ही पता है कि दोनों को अगले चौदह वर्षों का भीषण वियोग सहना है। उर्मिला का उर अश्रुओं से गीला है। लेकिन जाते हुए वह लक्ष्मण को दुःख नहीं देना चाहती… अतः अपनी चपलता को बनाये रखने का असहज सा प्रयास करती है. गरिमा और दीप्ति का आविर्भाव इस बालिका, उर्मिला में अभी होना बाकी है. मायके में माता-पिता, और अयोध्या में सीता के संरक्षण में पली-बढ़ी उर्मिला अभी तक एक चपला बालिका भर ही तो रही है…

अतुल के लक्ष्मण ने ऐसे एकाकी क्षणों के लिये अपनी उर्मिला को ‘मिला’ नाम दिया है. वे आते हैं, और अपनी ‘मिला’ से पूछते हैं, “तुम्हें क्या बात करनी है?”
ये कुछ क्षण आसंग विरह के पूर्वरंग के समान हैं. दोनों ही सोच रहे हैं कि क्या बात करें, कैसे एक-दूसरे से विदा लें. वह भी लक्ष्मण के साथ वन जाना चाहती है, परन्तु उसे पता है कि यह सम्भव नहीं है… उसका विराट कर्त्तव्य उसके सामने नजर आ रहा है.
लेकिन कर्त्तव्य के साथ-साथ उसका अपना विरह भी तो है… एक नन्हा सा, कोमल भावनाओं से भरा हृदय भी तो उसके पास है! यहाँ पर अतुल ने उर्मिला को एक छोटी सी, लगभग नन्हीं सी नवविवाहिता किशोरी के रूप में दिखाया है, चौदह वर्षों का लम्बा विरह जिसके आगे प्रस्तुत होने को ही है! वह कहती है, “मुझे? मुझे क्या बात करनी है?”
लक्ष्मण कहते हैं, “मैं चौदह वर्ष के लिये वन जा रहा हूँ और तुम्हें मुझसे कोई बात नहीं करनी?”
उर्मिला आज इन कुछ पलों में जैसे अपने आने वाले चौदह वर्षों को जी लेना चाहती है, अपने सायास ओलाहनों से बातचीत को सहज करने का प्रयास करती, “तुम्हें भी कहाँ करनी है बात! तुम तो सुनते ही तैयार भी हो गये, जैसे प्रतीक्षा में थे कि कब अवसर आये और तुम मिला से दूर जाओ। मैं बहुत लड़ती हूँ ना तुमसे!”
लक्ष्मण तो ठहरे सदा के गम्भीर! लेकिन अपने कर्तव्यों के बीच उन्हें उर्मिला के उर में समाते जा रहे विरह का भान भी था. वे उस चंचला से बोले, “तुम कहाँ लड़ती हो। कदाचित लड़ने के कारण मैं ही देता हूँ तुमको। अब चौदह वर्ष का समय मिला है तो सोचूँगा कहाँ सुधार हो सकता है।”
दोनों का वार्तालाप चलता रहता है, स्तब्ध बैठे दर्शक सुनते रहते हैं, अपने अश्रुओं को रोकने का असफल प्रयास करते हुए…
लेकिन आसन्न विरह के इस क्षण में उर्मिला उतनी चंचला भी नहीं रह पाती, जिसका प्रयास वह अब तक कर रही थी! वह नन्हीं सी बच्ची, वह चंचला किशोरी अब अपने लक्ष्मण को उपदेश दे रही है, “… आज मुझे लड़ना नहीं है। सुनो, तुम ना… भैया-भाभी की सेवा में, कुछ अपना ध्यान भी रख लेना। खिला के भैया-भाभी को कुछ अपने नाम भी रख लेना। समय पे उठना, समय पे खाना, उल्टी करवट मत सोना। याद मेरी आ भी जाये, भैया के आगे मत रोना।”
‘उल्टी करवट मत सोना…’ उस दिशा में शैया पर उर्मिला होती थी! अब जब वह वहाँ नहीं होगी, तो लक्ष्मण को अपनी मिला की याद आयेगी, उन्हें सन्ताप होगा! अपने विरह से बड़ा उस मानिनी के लिये है अपने प्रिय के विरह का भान!

लेकिन विरह-सन्ताप के साथ-साथ इस सीता-भगिनी को कर्त्तव्य-बोध भी है! ‘याद मेरी आ भी जाये, भैया के आगे मत रोना।’ अपने व्यक्तिगत सन्ताप के क्षणों में भी कर्त्तव्य-बोध के होने का इससे बड़ा उदाहरण और क्या हो सकता है!
दोनों के बीच वार्तालाप सतत प्रवाहमान है. प्रेक्षागृह का वायुमण्डल प्रेक्षकों की निस्तब्ध साँसों और आँखों की नमी से बोझिल होता चला जाता है. लक्ष्मण कहते हैं, “मिला… ना राम को, ना सीता को, ना लक्ष्मण को ये श्राप मिला। यदि सच में मिला किसी को तो उर्मिला को ये वनवास मिला। मिला, तुम महलों में रह कर भी वनवास का जीवन भोगोगी। मोर के संग मोरनी को देखोगी, तो भी रो दोगी। पर आह, दुर्भाग्य। मेरी मिला का वनवास ना वतर्मान याद रखेगा, ना इतिहास। उर्मिला का वनवास कोई याद नहीं रखेगा।”

लेकिन उर्मिला को अपने लक्ष्मण पर अटूट विश्वास है, “झूठ कहते हो, कोई याद रखे या ना रखे, मिला का वनवास, लक्ष्मण याद रखेगा। रखेगा ना।” और फिर दोनों ही अपने को रोक नहीं पाते… संयम के सारे बांध टूट जाते हैं… दोनों गले मिल कर फफक कर रो पड़ते हैं। उर्मिला का लक्ष्मण पर यही अटूट विश्वास बहुत वर्षों के बाद लक्ष्मण को रूपवती राक्षसी सूर्पणखा से दूर रखने में सफल होता है! सावित्री की कथा इतिहास में कितनी बार दोहराई गई है!
नाटक के लेखक, निर्देशक और प्रस्तुतकर्ता अतुल सत्य कौशिक ने अपने नाटक को कथावाचक के फॉर्मेट में तैयार किया है. मंचाग्र में दाहिने हाथ पर कुर्सी पर बैठ कर अतुल पूरी कथा के सूत्र को अपने हाथ में थामे, एक कुशल नाविक की भांति दर्शकों को इस कथा-गंगा की यात्रा करवाते हैं. इस कथा-यात्रा की पतवार हैं नृत्य और सजीव गायन, जिसमें लोक से लेकर शास्त्रीय तक सबका समायोजन अतुल ने किया है. अंजली मुंजाल की अत्यन्त सुन्दर और प्रीतिकर नृत्य-संरचनाओं को सुष्मिता मेहता और साथियों ने कत्थक नृत्य के द्वारा प्रस्तुत किया.

एक घंटे और चालीस मिनट के इस नाटक को अतुल ने केवल तीन कलाकारों सुष्मिता मेहता, अर्जुन सिंह और मेघा माथुर के द्वारा प्रस्तुत किया है, जो दृश्यों के अनुसार विभिन्न चरित्रों को बारी-बारी से निभाते हैं. नाटक के आकर्षण का प्रमुख आधार-स्तम्भ है लतिका जैन का गायन. दूसरा स्तम्भ है नाटक में नृत्यों का प्रयोग. आज हिन्दी रंगमंच में गायन और नृत्य का प्रयोग लगभग समाप्त हो चुका है. कविता, गीत, गानों, गजल इत्यादि के माध्यम से निर्देशक ने विभिन्न भावों और संवेदनाओं को दिखाया है. मैथिल सुहाग-गीत ‘साँवर साँवर सुरतिया तोहार दुलहा, गोरे गोरे लखन … दुलहा’, अवधी के विदाई गीत ‘काहे को ब्याही बिदेस’, रामनिवास जाजू की हिन्दी कविता, और हिन्दी, उर्दू, फारसी, बृजभाषा इत्यादि के एक प्रसिद्ध गीत जेहाल-ए-मिस्कीं इत्यादि को प्रयोग करके अतुल ने आज के समय में एक साहसिक प्रयोग किया है… जिसकी बानगी हमने बापी बोस के नाटक ‘आषाढ़ का एक दिन’ में भी देखी थी. कुछ लोग इस नाटक को डांस-ड्रामा या नृत्य-नाटिका का नाम देंगे. मैं इस प्रकार के पश्चिमी वर्गीकरण के विरुद्ध हूँ… हमारे नाट्यशास्त्र में कलाओं को एक समग्र तरीके से देखने का प्रावधान है, ना कि उन्हें एक-दूसरे से अलग करके देखने का, जो मुझे ज्यादा उचित लगता है. अतुल के सैट की परिकल्पना में भी कहीं अल्पना जैसी पारम्परिक शैलियों की झलक मिलती है.

नाटक में प्रकाश-व्यवस्था तरुण डांग ने और ध्वनि-व्यवस्था दीप्ति ग्रोवर ने सम्भाली थी. संगीत निर्देशन अनिक शर्मा का रहा. गायन जीवन्त था, लेकिन संगीत कराओके था, क्योंकि, ‘संगीतकारों को साथ लेकर चलना सम्भव नहीं हो पाता!’, अतुल कहते हैं. हिन्दी रंगमंच की यही विडम्बना है, कि एक प्रस्तोता को कितने ही समझौते करने पड़ते हैं!

Beyond transience – Soulful sufi rendition

An ethereal experience

Sufi singers are prolific artists illumining the possibility of uniting divine feelings with sublime love.

Vocalist Dhruv Sangari recreated the magical splendors of SUFIYANA culture with his vivacious serenity encompassing aesthetic beauty and reverential Indian ethics – magically interwoven.

For me, the program primarily effaced the Hindu Muslim divide as the singer so poetically inculcated the true feelings of divine invocation irrespective of class, caste distinction; a classic paradigm of the SUFIYANS who sing in praise of the lord. This ethereal composition he rendered ” chaap tilak” was not only one of the sweetest sufi chants of the eve but also indoctrinated me and my folks(parents) with the message of “ISHWAR ALLAH TERO NAAM”- Am sure it might have made the recipients rethink the concept of caste and class differences often acting as a hindrance in matters of spiritual escalation.

Sangari’s uniqueness lay in his profound explorations of the renditions he chose. Each musical composition preceded a explanation admirably detailed to entrench the specialty of the song chosen. This reflected the erudition of the artist; a mandate with regards to a performance that’s meant to be an IBADAT – A PRAYER to the almighty.

The open air theater of Darpana – NATRANI became the most adequate purveyor of the tools that assist such a presentation resounding the features of FOLK CULTURE. It was heartwarming to see people once again.having gathered in an open space ( independent of covid fears fortunately) to listen.and get one glimpse of the talented artist. It replicated the village folk artistic tradition very well; of course the audiences were English speaking urban elite with.modern.western.attires – a stark reality of the urban.India today) I must admit that the organizers were pretty particular in their choices of apparels – Mallika Sarabhaiji in her traditional Indian dress and her accompanied trio too dressed similarly well; obviously one does expect the consciousness from.someone as distinguished as them.

I got the privilege the second time to be at Natrani. The first time I went was some 10

Years back when I saw,Rajit Kapoor performing Girish Karnad’s monologue Flowers at the open air auditorium. It was an indelible experience and this one I had yesterday night revitalized my spirits and invigorated my soul to acknowledge the superiority of sufiyana art that’s no less than.a means to elevate our material consciousness towards the possibility of experiencing BRAHMANANDA – spiritual delight which crosses the boundaries of transient earthly living and becomes an eternally pleasurable ethereal experience. A heavenly feeling that Natyashastra speaks about so rightfully when it endorses natya as a blissful process meant for redeeming the world from.sins. As Sangri rendered CHAP TILAK.sab cheen li re mose naira milake – the feelings of respectful admiration arose in my heart for an artist who chose a sublime melody of SUFIYANA sangeet which gives us a moment of realization ” We love our lord too” not just worship him. Meerabai reverentially merged the feelings of adoration and invocation in her worship of Krishna. In the rendition I felt the same mood restored in me – self surrender to the lord I love and revere at the same time. Yes, it could be for someone close to us in fact anyone who we feel is inseparably in us – why only God? It was this intersection of divinity and earthly feeling of love that made the presentation so special, so heavenly.

I drank the elixir of sufiyana art sumptuously and though pressed for time wherein I couldn’t listen to more than two melodious songs, I acknowledge my heart grew fonder.

Overall, I loved the performance and the night was indeed memorable with fine white lamps shining in the midst of the open air auditorium giving it the feel of a traditional Indian setting with oil lamps and lanterns adorning the environment making it look no less than a paradise. Natrani is a must visit and I would recommend it to one and all.that desire to relish classic art.

Last but not the least, its discipline is praiseworthy and noteworthy. We reached a bit late, gates were shut. Nonetheless, I must recognize their waiving of the stringent rule for us and letting us enter which was indeed an insignia of an organization that is both adequately strict and endearingly loving.

Thank you Natrani for an unforgettable event that is sure to remain perpetually etched in my memory as an experience beyond the fleeting worldly domains of earthly concerns.

Review by –

Dr. Payal Trivedi

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Folk Music of India: Baul

The Baul music which is predominantly spread in the Bengali region of India is a form of music that is infused with the elements of Sufism, Vaishnavism, Tantra and Buddhism. The Baul Music has been included in the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2005.

There is an inherent contrast in the composition of the Baul music, it describes and celebrates the celestial in a very earthly tone and manner. Due to this very liberal and open-ended interpretation of love, it is within the nature of the Baul music to be devotional in its spirit and soul. The Baul music transcends religion and enshrines the belief of love across the superficiality of religious lines.

The great Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore had his work heavily influenced by the Baul music which can be evidently seen in his famous Rabindra Sangeet.

The Baul music is representative of the deep belief and preaching of mysticism in Bengali folklore. The lyrics of the Baul Sangeet are a manual of deep mysticism and longing with the mystic and the divine. Metaphysical topics also found their way in the contents of the lyrics. They stress staying unattached and unconsumed by the delights of life even while getting a charge out of them. A significant piece of their way of thinking is “Deha tatta”, an otherworldliness identified with the body rather than the brain. They look for the divine nature in people.

The Baul songs have an inherent inclination in adapting and acclimatizing to the ever-changing times and in incorporating and infusing in them the contemporary economic and societal changes.

The instrument that was most commonly used is Ektara, which is a single-stringed instrument that has a plucked drum. The Ektara is usually carved from the epicarp of a gourd and then combined with bamboo giving the instrument an earthly connection, an expression that is at the core of the spirit of the Baul music. The other instruments include the dotara which is a fretless tube with a long neck, the khamak which is a single-headed drum with an attached string.

The Baul music is currently thriving through the states of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar and in Bangladesh with Baul music finding its way in the hinterlands via fairs, melas and festivals.

Independent Project by Abhinav Sharma

Guide ⇒ Prof. Manohar Khushalani

References :

  1. The Origin and History of the Bauls of Bengal Wandering Music Cult
  2. Baul Song

Ruchi Kishore’s : DIRTY CHAI, a hip hop Bollywood musical

DIRTY CHAI, a hip hop Bollywood musical, is a colorful & crazy dramedy, full of heart!

Chaya Chandrika Gopi, or “Chai” as she likes to be called, is a rebellious Indian-American bride-to-be. Chai’s parents have promised her to a nice Indian boy and the wedding is in ten days. With her back against the wall, not yet ready to give in to this assault on her freedoms, Chai leaves home but unexpectedly falls in love with a charming & mysterious stranger, making a powder keg out of an already complicated situation. Chai finds forbidden love with a fearless American girl, Ronnie, and is trapped between upholding her family’s traditions or following her heart, which goes against everything she’s been taught.

Chai is a messy concoction of two very different cultures, two conflicting identities, and two opposing desires, just like the dirty chai she orders each morning- a perfect brew of espresso and chai (tea).

Her Indian father, Mr. Hardik Gopi, is a traditional Hindu man.

Her White American mother, Mrs. Rani Gopi, converted to Hinduism after falling in love.

Filled with excitement and sarcasm, DIRTY CHAI challenges the walls of formality, fear, and judgment that separate people. Every cause has an effect in this intricately interwoven dramedy about human lives, embracing family, and the chaos of falling in love.

P.S. There will be a wedding so, “chai” not to miss it! o.O

Directed by Adam Marcus
Starring Ruchi Kishore as “Chai”
Sponsored by Café Cafe Mobile Coffee

Now Watch the play online on this link: