Renowned sarod and sitar maker Hemendra Chandra Sen, who crafted musical instruments for maestros like Amjad Ali Khan, Ali Akbar Khan and Ravi Shankar, died at his residence here today following a cardiac arrest.
The 87-year-old is survived by two sons and two daughters. His sons have also been trained in the art of making stringed instruments.
Mr. Sen was working on sarods at his house till last night. He suffered a stroke this morning and passed away soon after, his family said.
Mr. Sen, who began learning the craft at the tender age of nine, used to make a variety of stringed instruments, including sarods, sitars and tanpuras.
Widely reputed for making each instrument custom-made according to the specifications of musicians, Mr. Sen came to the city in the 1940s and took sitar lessons from Ali Ahmed Khan.
His high-profile clientele included Ali Akbar Khan, Ravi Shankar, Annapurna Devi, Bahadur Khan, Amjad Ali Khan and his two sons - Amaan and Ayaan.
Mr. Sen received the prestigious Haafiz Ali Khan award from Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2003.
Some of his instruments were exported to other countries, including the United States, Spain, Germany and Switzerland.
Condoling his death, Amjad Ali Khan described him as the “greatest sarod maker”.
Eminent sarod players today mourned the death of renowned sarod and sitar maker Hemendra Chandra Sen, describing him as a “perfectionist” and a “king” in his field.
“It was like an honour for us to play his sarods. His death is a great loss to the world of sarod players. He was a perfectionist, who used to give his personal touch to the instruments. He also had a sense of music,” sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan told PTI here.
“Hemendra had sold the maximum number of sarods to all the great sarod players in the country. He used to supply sarods to everyone in our family, including me and my sons - Amaan and Ayaan. We were buying his instruments since the last 40 years,” Mr. Khan said.
Other famous musicians like Ali Akbar Khan, Ravi Shankar, Annapurna Devi and Bahadur Khan also used to depend on him for instruments and repairs.
Mr. Sen’s shop ‘Hemen and Co’ in south Kolkata is a favourite of musicians from various countries including the US, Spain, Germany and Switzerland.
Sarod player Ayaan Ali Khan described Mr. Sen’s death as the passing away of an era for sarod players.
“His sarods have a unique sound. Since my childhood I have played only with his instruments. He was the king of his field. His death has now left a wide gap,” Ayaan said.
The two brothers, Amaan and Ayaan, accompanied by their mother, had paid a visit to the instrument-maker two days ago.
“We are fortunate enough to have got his blessings. This Thursday, we met him and he gave final touches to my sarod. He was fit and fine then,” he said.
Another sarod player Rajeev Taranath expressed his shock over the death.
“It is shocking for me. He was the one and only sarod maker of his kind. I have been buying my instruments from him since the past few years,” he said.