36-hour musical tribute to Indian cinema

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Pandit Ramesh Narayan’s non-stop vocal recital of Hindustani music broke his previous record of 30 hours

36-hour musical tribute to Indian cinema
SOULFUL SANGEET: Pandit Ramesh Narayan (right) presenting the vocal recital with Pandit Narayan Banerjee at FTII on Sunday
Internationally acclaimed Pandit Ramesh Narayan, doyen of Hindustani classical vocalist, broke his own record with his 36-hour long marathon vocal recital of Hindustani music at Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) on Sunday in Pune. He had established a record singing feat by rendering 30-hour vocal recital of Hindustani music in 1994 in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala.

“I feel greatly humbled that I was able to dedicate this 36-hour non-stop vocal recital of Hindustani classical music to paramgurus and legends of music, art, literature, science and social reforms of the world who have transformed society,” Pandit Narayan told Financial Chronicle soon after the event. Even at the end of mesmerising hundreds of artists and music aficionados for two days, the distinguished vocalist looked fresh and energetic. “Music does not tire me but as you can see, it refreshes me,” he beamed. He said music is understood by all irrespective of race, creed, colour and language and is a great uniting force all over the world. “Therefore, music attracts one and all, wherever it is performed,” Pandit Narayan said.

The 53-year-old singer said the marathon vocal recital supported by 36 renowned musicians and singers from all over the country was rendered in accordance with the samayachakra of ragas, as an act embodying the spirit and essence of Hindustani classical music.

Pandit Narayan, disciple of internationally renowned Pandit Jasraj, began singing sharp at 5 am on Saturday as he was cheered with artists and music connoisseurs who had gathered in large numbers. He rendered melodious, soul-stirring performance according to the time theory of Hindustani classical music for the next 24 hours. And the remaining 12 hours were dedicated to other ragas, bhajans, ghazals and other devotional songs.

Pandit Narayan, who had already mesmerised music connoisseurs and artists by his marathon singing for 30 hours, 19 years ago in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, never thought of breaking his own record. “Last year, my guruji Pandit Jasrajiji had asked me if I could sing for 24 hours. Since I had sang for 30 hours, I told guruji that I will sing for 36 hours,” Pandit Narayan said. Thus, Sangeet Samarpan 2013, a 36-hour continuous vocal recital of Hindustani classical music was conceived and presented at FTII as part of 100 years of Indian cinema.

“The record created by my disciple Pandit Narayan is worthy to be noted by Guinness Book of World Records,” Pandit Jasraj, 83, who was impressed with the performance, told Financial Chronicle. Nobody had achieved this commendable feat, he said. “But we did not contact Guinness Book of World Records as Pandit Narayan did not want it as he firmly told us that he was not singing for breaking any record,” Ramdas Narayan, the vocalist’s elder brother, said.

“I sang for peace. Peace for myself and to bring peace to others. Music heals and music is heaven,” Pandit Narayan said. He said there are four types of music performed today by artists all over the country such as artharthey (for money) sangeet, kamarthey (for desire) sangeet, bhawarthey (for emotions) sangeet and moksharthey (for self-actualisation) sangeet. “Mine is moksharthey sangeet, that is to uplift the soul and connect one’s atma to paramatma and to be lost in bliss,” Pandit Narayan said. “There is nothing greaten in this world than music. And music is my breath, my being and my living,” the distinguished vocalist, who has enthralled the audience from US to Canada to Germany to Japan, said.

“I was lost in his melodious heavenly ragas since the past two days,” Neelima Atre, 70, said. “Music is indeed Parameshwar, which wiped away all my sorrows. I was truly drowned in bliss and mind you, it is not psychological,” the woman said, beaming with joy.

D J Narayan, FTII director said the film and television students had a great exposure to the festival of Hindustani classical music as many of the Bollywood cinemas are based on Hindustani classical music.

“I got pumped up with more energy and inspiration,” Pandit Aditya Narayan Banerjee from Kolkata, who played table for 12 hours at this marathon singing, said. Pandit Banerjee has accompanied Pandit Narayan for his 15 musical concerts in India and abroad. Koustav Sarkar, Bengali music director, who played harmonium for 10 hours, said timed simply stopped whenever he was accompanying Pandit Narayan on stage.


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