Music

A stalwart remembered

Pandit Mallikarjun Bheemrayappa Mansur (1910-1992) was an immensely charismatic performer of Hindustani Khayal singing of the Gwaliar and Jaipur-Atrauli styles. His inspiring autobiography “Nanna Rasa-Yatre” in Kannada has been translated into English as “My Journey in Music” by his son Pandit Rajshekhar Mansur. The centenary of the musical stalwart, who in his lifetime was bestowed many honours, including the Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan, besides being named a Fellow of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, was celebrated in the Capital this past week with music concerts and screenings.

The centenary celebrations opened with “Homage – Remembering Mansur: Words and Text” at the Kamani auditorium. After tributes paid by Jawahar Sircar, Secretary, Culture, Ashok Vajpayee, Raghu Rai, Shobha Deepak Singh, Parthiv Shah and S. Kalidas, came a screening, “Mansur Recall”, which included his interviews and vocal renditions from the archives of Doordarshan and the Sangeet Natak Akademi. The text was released in the form of a precious catalogue edited by S. Kalidas with touching tributes by maestros Ravi Shankar, Bhimsen Joshi, Kishori Amonkar, Gangu Bai Hangal, Azizuddin Khan, P.L. Deshpande, H.Y. Sharda Prasad, B. R. Deodhar, Ashok Vajpayee and the likes, a complete discography of his records by Amlan Das Gupta and some old reviews published in the'50s, '60s and '70s. The foyer of Kamani had turned into an art gallery for the evening, where “Mansur in Camera”, a photography exhibition by Raghu Rai, Parthiv Shah and Shobha Deepak Singh displayed Panditji in innumerable moods.

Another exhibition, “Remembering Mansur — a Photographic Memoir” went on display at the Experimental Art Gallery of the India Habitat Centre and will continue till October 2. Two days of music concerts took place at Stein auditorium. Conceived around the gayaki of Jaipur, the concerts included vocal recitals by Priyadarshini Kulkarni and Ulhas Kashalkar on the opening day and a sarod recital by Biswajit Roy Chaudhury on the second day before concluding with a mesmerising vocal recital by Rajshekhar Mansur.

A diligent disciple and son of Pandit Mallikarjun Mansur, Rajshekhar opened his vocal recital with raga Sawani Kalyan. The composition was an invocation to Lord Shiva and he rendered it with deep devotional fervour. He sang thereafter raga Kausi Kanhara of Darbari ang, a combination of ragas Malkauns and Darbari. Jaipur gayaki is known for jod (blended) and anvat (rare) ragas. Rajshekhar chose Meghavali, among the rarest of rare ragas, with the bandish “Rangeele laal ko”. Its mukhara (opening phrase) sounded like raga Nayaki, while the uttarang (latter half) had shades of Miyan Malhar, Mirabai Ki Malhar and Megh. He also sang Pat Bihag, a combination of Patdeep and Bihag, before concluding with a Kannada vachana.

Biswajit opened his sarod recital with Bihagada, the most popular raga of Jaipur, and went on to play Kamod Nat, a combination of ragas Kamod and Nat, concluding with Malkauns with Pancham. Priyadarshini opened her vocal recital with raga Nand with a slightly different flavour of Jaipur style before she sang a couple of compositions in Nayaki set to Rupak and Teen tala. It was Ulhas Kashalkar who had taken the inaugural evening to a climax with his Shuddha Nat, Basanti Kedar and the concluding Bhairavi, singing the immortal “Jamuna ke teer”. This well conceived event commemorating the life and music of the legendary musician was presented jointly by the Mallikarjun Mansur Centenary Celebration committee, Shriram Bhartiya Kala Kendra and the New Age Foundation.


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Printable version | Jun 17, 2021 8:53:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/music/A-stalwart-remembered/article16053008.ece

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