Sangitanjaly Foundation’s second edition of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan National Festival of Music and Dance witnessed a rich mix of performances by doyens of classical music and dance
The three-day Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan National Festival of Music and Dance had some of the best artistes from across the country paying their respects to one of the doyens of Hindustani classical music, Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. Through his life, the ustad had carried the legacy of the Patiala-Gharana style of singing the world over, spending most of his life in Lahore, Kolkata and Mumbai before settling down in Hyderabad.
Many performances lit up the festival, including a flute duet performance by father-son duo Pravin and Shadaj Godkhindi, thumri and kajri renditions by Sucheta Ganguly and a rhythmic jugalbadni by Gopal Barman (on sreekhol) and Madhu Barman (on tabla).
A solo tabla recital at the festival by Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri, the world-renowned tabla player, received a standing ovation. Pandit Chaudhuri's memories of the late ustad are not merely about music. Among the titbits about the ustad, the pandit recalls how while living in Kolkata the ustad ensured that a container of ghee from Pakistan followed him as all his food was cooked in it. Further adding Swapan says, “Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan always carried his swarmandal instrument, resonating musical notes around him. He ensured that the Patiala Gharana opened its arms to all musicians. On listening to his Hari Om Tat Sat, you’ll realise he went beyond religion. His immortal thumris such as Aaye Naa Balam and Yaad Piya Ki Aaye cannot be ignored by young musicians. He also adopted the singing styles of many folk regions, including Afghanistan.”
While he’s very upbeat about the future of tabla, Pandit Chaudhuri cautions us that despite the interest among the youth to learn Indian classical music it should come from within, adding that it’s very important for any upcoming musician to remain grounded and be sincere to their work. “Young musicians should be careful of social media and publicity, and should steer clear of running after fame,” he says.
Another well-known classical musician at the festival was Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty, disciple of Ustad Munawar Ali Khan (son of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan), who has set up the Shrutinandan — A Music Kingdom, where nearly 900 children and 200 youth train in classical music.
“I met Bade Ghulam Ali Khan saheb in 1968 at All India Radio Kolkata, and he’d blessed me,” remembers Pandit Chakraborty, adding, “He’s my idol and god. I’ve listened to nearly 74 hours of his live concert recordings. His life’s philosophy was to translate sentiments of lyrics through singing. And even my scientific researches convince me that immortal music is a marriage between lyrics and raga, set to a time-cycle.”
Pandit Chakraborty shares with us his wonder that at one time the ustad could hold his breath up to nine seconds. Then as he signs out, he tells us that he hopes to visit the ustad’s tomb at Daira-e-Mir Momin near Charminar....