The Guru-Purnima Utsav at Nagpur was an apt homage to Ustad Vilayat Khan

The guru-shishya parampara is an incredible phenomenon that preserves and passes on, from one generation to the next, the authentic flavour and distinct characteristic features of a particular musical tradition. This was evident during the recital of each and every one of Pandit Arvind Parikh’s 30 disciples from India and abroad who performed during the two-day Guru-Purnima Utsav 2013 dedicated to Ustad Vilayat Khan at the Scientific Sabhagar Nagpur. The fragrance of the Vilayatkhani style pervaded the atmosphere from morning till evening on both days.

A well-known businessman of Mumbai, renowned musicologist and senior most disciple of Ustad Vilayat Khan, Pandit Arvind Parikh organises this annual event on Guru-Purnima as a tribute to his guru in different parts of India to showcase the talented disciples of his gharana and to offer them an opportunity to perform in front of discerning audiences. Opening with the auspicious instrument shehnai by Hasan Haidar Khan, the festival comprised vocal and instrumental (sitar, surbahaar) recitals by students of varying seniority but carrying the distinct mark of the gharana identity.

Surbahar by Nasir Desai Faridi had the depth of the been-ang in his Gurjari Todi. Purvi Parikh, a talented disciple of Ustad Faiyaz Ahmad-Niyaz Ahmad and Ustad Mashkoor Ali of the Kirana gharana, has also been groomed under Ustad Vilayat Khan. She gave an impressive vocal recital of Bilaskhani Todi. Young Varad Bhosle belied his young age (15) with his maturity in handling his instrument and the raga. Amrita Kulkarni played Guji-Kauns, a melodious combination of ragas Malgunji and Malkauns created by Arvind Parikh. Altaf Khan’s Yaman had simplicity and sweetness, while Pulak Lahiri’s Bihag had the old world charm. The young vocalist from Hoshiarpur, Punjab, presented slow and medium tempo khayals in Puria Dhanashree and concluded with a soul-stirring Sufi composition of Baba Farid.

The inaugural day reached its climax with a powerpoint presentation on the “Musical Journey of Ustad Vilayat Khan” by Arvind Parikh, who deliberated upon the glorious tradition of the Itawa Imdadkhani gharana — that evolved during the last two centuries — in general, and the contribution of Vilayat Khan in particular. Parikh analysed his vocalised idiom, the gayaki ang incorporating the influences of Dhrupad, Khayal, Thumri and folk elements, the variety of his taans and the emotional appeal of his music.

He also talked about the physical and stylistic evolution of his sitar. There were melodious audio-visual clips to illustrate the points.

Some of the senior disciples of Parikh enthralled the discerning audiences of Nagpur next day. The popular bandish (composition) in Surmalhar, “Badarwa barasan ko aaye…”, played brilliantly by Ashwin Dalwi from Jaipur, the sonorous alap and gat in Gaud Sarang by Tushar Bhatia, the soulful rendition of Jog by Rafal Ali Khan, the melodious Goojari Todi by Vijay Godhalu and the spiritual aura of the serene Marwa by Sundar Nath of Bengaluru were some of the memorable renditions.

The festival concluded with a scintillating rendition of Hameer and a melodious Bhairavi composition of Ustad Vilayat Khan — “Tum ho jagat ke data” by Ramprapanna Bhattacharya from Kolkata, who also sang it. This reminded the senior connoisseurs of Nagpur of the dazzling performances of young Vilayat Khan.


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