Shantanu Moitra and the Indian moon mission

Prepare to travel to lunar landscapes with a production that promises to blend science with music

January 16, 2020 09:11 pm | Updated 09:11 pm IST

Out of the world: Singer Shantanu Moitra.

Out of the world: Singer Shantanu Moitra.

Besides music, composer Shantanu Moitra has a passion for travelling and science. In 2016, he conceptualised and curated the concert, Song Of The Himalayas, based on his adventures in the mountainous region. Now, he’s gone even higher, literally, to produce a show inspired by India’s moon mission.

Chandrayaan: Celebrating India’s Journey To The Moon will blend science and music, in a show presented by the NCPA and the Sahachari Foundation. Using folk and semi-classical compositions with appropriate visuals, Moitra plans to give the audience a unique experience. Best known for composing music in Hindi films Parineeta , Lage Raho Munnabhai , 3 Idiots and Pink , Moitra says that India is a country which loves adventure. “Even when we didn’t make it at the final stage, nobody complained. Instead, everybody was praising the efforts made in trying to achieve our goal,” he adds.

Finding the rhythm

The idea germinated over a conversation with filmmaker-lyricist Gulzar. Moitra recalls, “Gulzarsaab is very passionate about astronomy. We began discussing Chandrayaan, and that’s when I first thought of this concept.” The main task, of course, was to get the scientific elements accurately within the musical space. For this, Moitra consulted scientist Prof. Tarun Ghosh, who once happened to be his classmate. The composer had to understand the various stages that made up the moon journey, and come up with the right melodies, rhythms and visuals to go with them. Moitra says that since the project involved science, many people would expect electronica sounds and synthesisers to dominate. “I wanted to make it sound as Indian as possible, and our music has a wealth of traditional compositions and chants that are perfect for such a show, and remind us of our roots,” he says.

The next step was to choose musicians. Says Moitra, “I had a clear idea of what instruments I would use, and how the vocal parts would be presented. To enhance the ambience, I will use certain effects to produce sounds that would be heard during the course of the journey,” says the composer.

Melange of mediums

The concert will feature vocalist Kaushiki Chakraborty, veena player Jayanti Kumaresh, flautist Rakesh Chaurasia and violinist Ambi Subramaniam. Tabla player Ojas Adhiya and mridangam exponent Sridhar Parthasarathy will handle the rhythm section. “One tends to believe science and arts are two different things. Through this concert, I want to show that is not the case,” emphasises Moitra.

Chandrayaan: Celebrating India’s Journey To The Moon will be performed on January 18 at 6.30 p.m. at the Tata Theatre, NCPA; more details at

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