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A custom of culture

The `Pandit Motiram Pandit Maniram Sangeet Samaroha' has become a favourite cultural destination with the City's connoisseurs



The breathtaking performance by Rathikant and Sujatha Mohapatra enhanced the spirit of the Samaroha - Photo: K Gajendran

TO BE able to uphold a custom for more than three decades without a pause, in the face of wavering resources and waning public patronage is like scaling the Berlin Wall. And who else but the redoubtable septuagenarian Pandit Jasraj could do it with a missionary zeal! The just concluded Pandit Motiram-Maniram Sangeet Samaroh is 32 years old to be precise.

Padma Bhushan Pandit Jasraj is a stranger to the Hindustani music lovers of Hyderabad even today.

"He was the darling of our generation, the melodic vocalist whose musical knowledge is stupendous,'' says a veteran art critic. Like all great gurus of earlier times, Pandit Jasraj has a legion of disciples to carry on his legacy, notwithstanding his own kith and kin. The Sangeet Samaroh in commemoration of his father Pandit Motiram, a renowned singer in the royal court of the Nizam and Jasraj's elder brother Maniram who was his first guru, is an annual tribute to the guru-sishya parampara that is embedded in our Indian classical music tradition.

The fest was a year end treat for all the Hindustani music lovers of the twin cities, and there is a galore, going by the swelling numbers in the Nizam College grounds baring cold blasts of November late into the night. The memorable educational institution has played host for many years. The samaroh had featured the veterans as well as the up and coming talent on a common platform giving equal opportunity to the younger generation of artistes to showcase their skills. During the present samaroh, 16 artistes all below 35 years of age had graced the stage to display their classical expertise. Day one had Jaytirth Mehundi followed next day by Aarti Anklikar Tikekar (Kishori Amonkar's disciple) and Bhavdeep Jaipurwale vocalists of awesome abilities and Kala Ramnath, a skilled violinist.

Motiram and Maniram were not only vocalists but composers of repute. We had a bunch of popular local talent rendering the compositions of both these maestros like Anand Sharma, Ankita Sarsumkar, Rattan Mohan Sharma and Sanjeev Abhayankar. The Jasraj baani flowed eloquent through these young stars.

High calibre stalwarts like Hariprasad Chaurasia, Vikku Vinayakram and Selva Ganesh, percussion wizards, Madolin U. Shrinivas and Pandit Jasraj himself hosted a musical bonanza.

The bonus came in the form of Odissi dance by the progeny of the legendary late Kelucharan Mohapatra-Rathikanth and Sujatha who were mirror images of Kelubabu's inimitable style.

Pandit Jasraj whose music is credited with a sublime emotional quality is a genius of the Mewati gharana (Jodhpur). His diligent research in Haveli sangeet under Baba Shyam Manohar Goswami Maharaj led him to create some of the most beautiful bandish. His contribution to tradition has been the unique jugalbandi, now referred to as Jasrangi Jugalbandi after him, carved out of the ancient `moorchana' system (where both male and female vocalists blend different ragas sung to their respective ranges simultaneously). The veteran musician will turn 75 in January next year.

RANEE KUMAR

Photo: K. Gajendran

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