Ravi Shankar’s demise has plunged the musical world in darkness. Our close association with him started in 1975, when he met us during our performance in Queen Elizabeth hall, London. He was in touch with us and never missed coming home when he was in Chennai. We too met him during our visits to London, Delhi or San Diego. We had the honour of working with him on his magnum opus Ghanashyaam — A broken branch, produced and choreographed for the Birmingham Opera House.
Ravi Shankar was a simple, humble man who made everyone feel at home. Working with him was a lifetime achievement for any artist. We shared many memorable moments with him. Sukanya is our student, who updated us on his programmes and plans. The world will miss him but he and his music will live forever.
V.P. & Shanta Dhananjayan,
In 1961-62, Ravi Shankar visited Ann Arbor, University of Michigan. He and Indians in general were hardly known to Americans then. He was a guest at my professor’s house. The professor invited me, an undergrad, and a few others to have breakfast with him. I warmly recall the maestro’s unassuming and warm curiosity and interest in us. Later, I attended many of his performances in California and elsewhere, the most memorable one with Ali Akbar Khan.
In 2003, I visited San Diego. While at a concert of Ganesh-Kumaresh at the local Siva Vishnu temple, I saw Pandit Ravi Shankar walk in with his wife. He sat through the programme. I was not aware that he was a resident of San Diego and was pleasantly surprised. During my visit last year, I made it a point to listen to his concert. It was a memorable performance.
The tributes paid in the western media to the great maestro give the impression that the Beatles and the Rolling Stones influenced Ravi Shankar more than he influenced them. This is far from the truth. Ravi Shankar might have embraced the West but the West never embraced him. In his most glowing tribute in The Guardian, Tariq Ali wrote: “Ravi Shankar’s music was a world apart from the hippy culture that embraced it ... The Beatles and the Rolling Stones experimented with the sitar and helped popularise Indian music. But Ravi Shankar knew western audiences could never understand it”.
M. Riaz Hasan,
The article “An outsider who made memorable Bollywood music” (Dec. 13) says Ravi Shankar was able to overcome “Shailendra’s less-than-brilliant lyrics and produce an evergreen music score” for Anuradha. While Ravi Shankar scored wonderful music for the film, the contributions by Shailendra, Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Leela Naidu made it memorable.