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Bandish 2017: A musical tribute to great composers

LiveMint logoLiveMint 06-07-2017 Sohini Sen

Not many people know that the popular Meera bhajan Payoji Maine Ram Ratan Dhan Payo actually dwells on how precious human life, which we have attained after many rebirths, is. The song essentially talks about how quickly life passes us by, says vocalist Shekhar Sen.

Sen, along with artists Padma Talwalkar, Rashid Khan, Birju Maharaj and Kavita Krishnamurthy, will be performing at Bandish, at Mumbai’s National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), from 7-9 July. The eighth edition of Bandish will follow the same theme as earlier editions—it will pay tribute to legendary Indian composers.

“In India, gurus have traditionally transferred knowledge orally to their students. Music has been no different, with gharanas transferring the lyrics, but various singers giving it their own touch,” says Suvarnalata Rao, programming head—Indian music and research scientist at the NCPA. Bandish too will have contemporary musicians reinterpreting classical music, within the boundaries of the “raga and taal” (the classical music notations and rhythm) of the original song.

Padma Talwalkar.

The first day, Friday, will be dedicated to the pure classical form, with vocalist Padma Talwalkar performing the compositions of Jagannathbuwa Purohit (Gunidas) and Gajananrao Joshi. Rashid Khan will then pay tribute to vocalists Inayat Hussain Khan and Nissar Hussain Khan.

Day 2 will feature semi-classical bandishes performed by Shekhar Sen and noted Kathak exponent Birju Maharaj. Sen will sing the Krishna Bhakti compositions of Meerabai, Chandrasakhi and Taj Bibi. Birju Maharaj will present his own compositions from Lucknow’s Kalka Bindadin gharana, and depict the aspects of bhava (emotions) through facial expressions.

“As musicians, we must do our bit and go beyond just seeking applause or appreciation. We need to explain to our listeners the bhav aarth (inner meaning) of each song. Throughout my presentation, I will talk to the audience and explain the history and significance of the songs that I am singing,” says Sen.

Rashid Khan.

The festival will also pay tribute to the Hindi films that have been influenced by bandish music. Singer Kavita Krishnamurthy will perform compositions by Laxmikant-Pyarelal, R.D. Burman and Ismail Darbar on Sunday.

“While most viewers would know these songs, they wouldn’t know the musical history of these songs. Take, for example, the song Albela Sajan Aayo Re from the movie Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Did you know it is based on Ahir Bhairav—a raga that is traditionally performed only in the mornings? My hope is that Bandish will open up a new world of meanings for the audience,” says Rao.

Bandish will be held from 7-9 July, 6.30pm onwards, at Tata Theatre, NCPA. Tickets, Rs512, Rs768, Rs1,024 and Rs1,280, available on

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