On later inquiry Smt. Rajyasri Ghosh told that the incident happened around 1990. – Editor
This incident that I will narrate was from the Sangeet Research Academy at Tollygaunge, where I was a scholar. We used to have a class on Raga Analysis there, and on that particular day, were discussing about the Raga Behag. Pandit Vijay Kichlu was conducting the session that day, and there was also present among us, personalities like Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Nibruttibua Sarnaik, A.T. Kanan, Malabika Kanan and Gijira Devi. So the session started with Faiyaz Khan Saheb’s Alap of Behag, after which the discussion took a turn to the different phrases of the Raga Behag. Each Raga comprises of a minimum of 3 to 4 phrases. After Faiyaz Khan’s Behag, Nissar Hossein Khan’s Behag was also touched upon. Some would do the notes as Ni Sa Ma Ga, some Ni Sa Pa Ma Ga… and we were all immersed in the talks. After some time, Amir Khan’s Behag was also talked about, which is a very different type, and we were discussing how we should analyse a Raga, and which phrases should we consider, since Amir Khan’s Raga was a distinct one.
At last, we talked about Pandit Jasraj’s Behag, our leader said “wow this is listenable”. So, Nibruttibua Sarnaik said, “you invite him to perform here, we pay thirty thousand rupees to listen to him and people comes to listen to him only, why are you criticising him?” Saying this he went out of the room, leaving everyone.
This is an incident from the year 1975 which took place at Kalamandir. At the program, there was present Jnan Prakash Ghosh, A.T. Kanan, Prasun Bandyopadhyay, Budhadeb Dasgupta and Malabika Kanan. At that time, I was in eighth standard in school, and this was an incident from the year 1984 and I had just begun my journey in the musical world through experiencing whole night conferences. The first performance that I remember was a duet by Jnan Prakash Ghosh and V Balsara. It was a different kind of experience altogether- the duet of harmonium and piano. Though I wasn’t able to appreciate much, but I really liked it. After one more performance, Kanan Saheb went on stage. He sang the Bageshree Raga- “Sakhi Man Laagi” with the Sa into the Sam. Ten minutes after he began, there was a power cut, which lasted for 45 minutes. I remember, the crowd was totally silent, and Kanan Saheb went on with his performance uninterrupted. Can there be anything more technical than this?
I had a balcony seat, which used to cost ten rupees back in those days, and I listened to him. I don’t remember the names of his companion, who was excellent as well. I felt Kanan Saheb’s voice was like an arrow, from my balcony seat. If it would have taken place today, even I would have stopped singing in the power cut. This incident has been imprinted in my mind since then.
SAP- Lab, Dept. of Instrumental Music, Rabindra Bharati University
About the speaker
Pt. Sanjay Bandyapadhya is an eminent Sitar Player and Ustad Alauddin Khan Chair Professor in Instrumental Dept. Rabindra Bharati University.
Shaymal Bose, Barada (Elder brother), Indira Cinema Hall, 1968 – 69, Sadaranga Music Conference, Ustad Amir Khan, Tanpura, Tabla, Darbari, Long Pause, Theka, Ektaal, Jhoomra, Sitar, Sarod, Nikhin Banerjee, Chandrakosh, Gat, Ati Vilambit, All India Radio, Teen tala
SAP- Lab, Dept. of Instrumental Music , Rabindra Bharati University
About the speaker
Pt. Sanjoy Bandopadhya is an eminent Sitar Player and Ustad Alauddin Khan Chair Professor in Dept. of Instrumental Music, Rabindra Bharati University.
Manas Chakraborty, Solo Concert, September 1975 , Tarapada Chakraborty, Sukumar Samajpati, Kala Mandir, Tabla, Keramatulla Khan, Sarangi, Sagiruddin Khan, Harmonium Jayanta Bose, Puriya, 1975 – 78, Swarmandal, Vistar, Abdul Karim Khan, Subjective appreciation, tarsaptak Sa, Frequency, Suddha Kalyan, tanpura, Recorded Music
S.A.P. Lab, Department of Instrumental Music,Rabindra Bharati University ,B.T. Road Campus, Kolkata.
About the speaker
Sitar Maestro, Chair Professor, Department of Instrumental Music, Rabindra Bharati University
1974, Park Circus Music Conference , Nikhil Banerjee, Sitar, Debiprasad Chatterjee, 1975, Kanai Dutta,Tabla Tanpura Tuning,Bilaskhani Todi,Asavari Todi,
Pandit Sanjoy Bandopadhyay speaks:
Tuning and Nikhil Banerjee
Told by: Pandit Sanjoy Bandopadhyay
Long back, it should be 1974/75 or may be 73. I had been to Kalamandir (Auditorium, Theater Road), in ‘The Park Circus Music Conference’. And that was the final day and Nikhilda, Pandit Nikhil Banerjee was the last musician to perform. Earlier musician was Sunanda Pattanayakji. I was looking at my watch. I was sitting at the auditorium but impatiently waiting for the time to come… because I wanted to leave the auditorium at least 45 minutes ahead of time before Nikhilda sits on the stage. I left the auditorium and went to the greenroom and saw a few people over there. Nikhilda (was) tuning his instrument and behind him was Debi da (Pt. Debi Prasad Chatterjee) and Pandit Kanai Dutta was on Tabla. Kanai Dutta was close to me, because I used to go to his house and all. Nikhilda of course was quite known to me. He was almost my demigod! We used to worship him as a kind of demigod for music and was my Gurubhai because he also learnt with my teacher.
He was tuning his instrument; … and sometimes he was putting his finger on the Tanpura and slightly readjusting … and was tuning (his instrument uninterruptedly). Minutes passed, fifteen minutes passed, tewnty minutes passed — by but he was continuously tuning … Kanaida was talking to somebody, kind of whispering… people were silent. Silence was all around…. Then a good looking lady…with ornaments and all…. appeared to be from a well off family…… she came in the greenroom. Kanai da knew her. She was standing before Nikhilda, but he didn’t look (at her), his head was down and (he) was tuning. Then Kanaida asked her,” Do you want to talk to Nikhil?” She nodded. Kanaida gestured, ‘try’. Then the lady bent down and touched Nikhilda’s feet. Then the thing happened—! He just shivered- he jumped up-. He was so much engrossed in tuning that he didn’t have (the sense) that what’s going in the vicinity- what was going on around him. So when that lady touched his feet that (was like) a shock for him. That was the amount of attention and involvement of Nikhilda in tuning. Anyway I was enjoying what was going on.
Then the organizers came because Sunanda Pattanayakji’s concert…..rendering was over . They came (to take him), but they were just standing there. No one had the courage to ask him that it was time for him to go to the stage. Then after talking to their organizer Kanaida asked ,” Is it the time that we go to the stage ?“ they replied ,” Yes, yes”. Kanaida said,” Tell him”. Then the organized said,” Why don’t you request him?” Then Kanaida told him, “?????, ??? ??? ????, ??” [“Nikhil now this is the time to go to stage” ]. Then Nikhilda took his Sitar and went to the stage. I ran fast and went to the auditorium. There again he tuned about 10 minutes and started Bilashkhani Todi, played 2 ½ hours of BilashkhaniTodi, alap-jod-jhala followed by 1 ½ hour of Asavari Todi.
It was a memorable concert and the ‘Ni-Da-Sa’ the starting phrase I still remember. I felt that Bilashkhani Todi got incarnated with one stroke……… amazing experience.
– You have got your learning of dhrupad and kheyal from Agra Gharana but then you got talim from Pt. Aloke Chattopadhyay, who was from a different gharana don’t you have any problem to learn?
– I had learnt kheyal from Pt. Aloke Chattopadhyay from 1995. Before that my first guru Kalidas Dey, was a very broad-minded person, he used to encourage me a lot. He told me that the style of Agra Gharana, the strength in the gayaki is not meant for your voice. The male strength would not suit you as you also sing rabindra sangeet. You will render the things in moderation, bandish may be of Agra but the alap would be in kirana gharana. Kirana gharana’s style is more mellow and beautiful. You will listen to their gayaki, their notations and sing in your style. My guruji was unique and he taught me to sing in Kirana gharana despite being him from Agra gharana. So, when I went to Pt. Aloke Chattopadhyay, he told me that my learning was perfect and he would not have any difficulty to teach me. I know now that if someone learns something wrong the guru had a tough time to erase it. So Pt. Aloke Chattopadhyay started to teach me from something I had learnt, he didn’t have to erase. I started learning kheyal from him and he sent me to Aparnadi for Dhrupad. It was his generosity, I must say because he also taught dhrupad. I used to take bandishes from Aparnadi.
I still learn from Pt. Aloke Chattopadhyay, now Aparnadi has gone. I had a new guru for Dhrupad. Now I learn from Pt. Falguni Mitra of Betiya Gharana. Falgunida is the relative of my first guruji. When I sang for Sursagaar in 1990 Falgunida listened and told me that if you want to learn from me. But he was then in Bangalore and my guruji could not took me to learn from him then. I like Falgunida’s singing a lot, he had a sweet voice and he didn’t do the typical layakari of Dhrupad which is not very popular for masses. Pt. Falguni Mitra’s father was Shibprasad Mitra was also a famous Dhrupadiya.