This article is the follow up of our story Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav 2017 roundup- Day1 & Day2
The 65th Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav is over, but the Punekars are still reminiscing the weekend filled with unadulterated music. The perfect weather along with discussions on music over hot cups of filter coffee from Kumardhara, or biting into a delicious modak at Puranna or sipping hot milk was a dream.
With musical exponents like vocalist Gayatri Vairagkar-Joshi who mesmerized with composition in Raag Madhuvanti Pyare Piya Bin Mohe and another Kahe Maan Karo Sakhi Ri Ab, or the sitar by Kushal Das were a treat to the ears. It was indeed the day for Samrat Pandit, young vocalist of Patiyala Gharana opening his performance with Raag Gorakh Kalyan and the singing instantly captured the imagination of the audience. The session ended with the performance of veteran singer Pt. Ulhas Kashalkar.
On the fourth day, the audience enjoyed performances by debutantes such as Tushar Datta whose presentation of Chaar Dinon Ki Preet Tumhari in Dadra and Man Bhaya Re Savariya got a great response from the audience. Abhay Rustum Sopori, disciple and son of Pt. Bhajan Sopori, who presented Raag Bhim on Santoor or Prachee Shah, famous kathak dancer and actor, performed Jaipur style of Kathak. The evening belonged to the veterans Pt. Upendra Bhat, of Kirana Gharana followed by the renowned vocalist from Jaipur Atrauli Gharana Aarti Ankalikar- Tikekar.
The last day was exceptional because for the first time seven performances went on for 10 hours straight. The first performance began at 11.45 am with young versatile singer Mahesh Kale who set the pace for the day to come. According to Gayatri Vairagkar-Joshi, “Usually senior artists perform on the last day. This year we thought of beginning the session with a youth artiste, Mahesh Kale.”
Though he did not perform in the afternoon, but Joshi points out that audience will get to listen to a variety of Sarang raga which is usually sung early afternoon. It was balanced out with the session on Carnatic music with Padma Shankar performing the violin then Sudhakar Chavan from Kirana Gharana, which was followed by father and son Rajan and Sarang Kulkarni on Sarod.
Anand Bhate and Shujat Khan played the sitar before ending the Sawai with the wonderful exponent of the Kirana Gharana Dr. Prabha Atre. “Traditionally my father use to end it, now we invite Atre to end it as it is our tradition and we stick to it,” added Joshi.
People were truly excited to see Pandit Rajan and his son Sarang Kulkarni perform. Anand Bhate and Sujaat Khan had the crowd on their feet.
“Before 2001, this festival was conducted for 3 nights. Back when my father managed it, the first performance used to start at 9 pm and go on till 11 am in the morning. We are simply trying to revive the old tradition. Only in this sense, the first performance will begin in the afternoon and go on till 10 pm. It is my gut feeling or call it intuition that the audience will enjoy it” Joshi explained.
Needless to say, there was a lot of excitement amongst the music lovers. Few were even seen with extra pillows and seemed prepared for a whole day of the picnic. Rashmi Ghodke, a member of the audience said, “My husband and I took the day off and this will be a perfect way to relax listening to classical music all through the day.”
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