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Pandit Bhimsen Joshi In Concert

Pandit Bhimsen Joshi In Concert is an event that took place on 02-Nov-2001 in Hyderabad.
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Probably the second biggest sin that you can commit being a Hyderabadi is not visiting the Falaknuma Palace (the first being not realizing that owning some means of getting from point A to point B is no more royalty but an absolute necessity, as we have discovered brilliantly over the past fortnight). Only, since the palace is the private property of the Nizam family, and since they are private people, the only ways you could get in there for a long time were either being them or serving them. Thanks to the Taj taking it over, there is now a third option - you can just be as rich as them. It's now a Taj, see?

Indeed, a visit to the place can really make you wonder where you were playing when God made The Real People. The majesty and grandeur are simply too breathtaking. And for the Bhimsen Joshi concert, the Taj showed that it knows a few things about style. The dusky damsels in resplendent ghagras welcoming you with aadaabs and sprinkling rose water and petals on you either made you feel nawabi or wish you were. And the stewards in their stiff Jodhpur coats and white gol topis and the bartender in a black tuxedo probably correspond to different genres of opulence, but it's "opulence" that is in bold and italics, and underlined.

As for Panditji himself, "Had I not been a classical singer I would have loved to spend my entire life in a garage fine-tuning a Fiat or a Maruti." If his vocal notes are any indication of what his tuning capabilities for automobiles might have been like, Fiats and Marutis would be the ordinary man's gliders.

79 years get you feeble, but Panditji has far too much of the stuff in him to appear even half that. And the story he narrated of how he acquired all of that is second in inspiring awe only to his singing. Bhimsen Joshi started his journey of music as a kid, when the bhajans his mother sang could substitute for food for him. Wandering on streets and listening to jingles may seem an unlikely start to a career that has a Padma Bhushan along with several other awards plopped all along the way, but like we only know so well, it just needs a little riyaz, and there are just a little many people who will themselves for it. And there are only so many living legends.

A huge round of applause escorted him along with his entourage onto the dais, which had his son Srinivas Joshi and some of his disciples. He devoutly rendered his first song in rag Marubehag. Panditji being phenomenal is about as much breaking news as India becoming independent. He is turning old, though - spurts of throat disturbances in between got Joshi Jr to take over for a while. Junior has more of a Carnatic tinge to his voice. The audience didn't seem too impressed, though - it's tough when you have a dad like that, and tougher still when he's been singing just until then.

The second song, "Socho Samjho Isa Nagari", was a compilation of swaras and alaaps. The swaras were rendered in a fast pace, and the rags flowed with natural grace. Some of the audience went into deep sleep, and while I am not sure if that is a compliment or not, a disinterested lot engaging in small talk somewhere behind certainly wasn't. They thankfully had the courtesy to keep it down after getting uncomplimentary looks from some of the audience.

The Taj organized for takhts with comfy bolsters in true Nawabi style, covered neatly with sparkling white sheets, at one of the outdoor lawns of the palace. With hardly about 75 guests, it was a truly exclusive experience. The venue was just apt for the occasion, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The cool breeze and soothing music was perfect ambience for a Friday evening.

Panditji wound up the concert by singing to the tune of the popular "Mile Sur Mera Tumhara…" (though a different song). The tune that O&M and Doordarshan made an ode to the country's sense of patriotism stirs exactly the same feelings each time.

The gentleman has achieved innumerable accolades, but still smiles boyishly as he says, "I am still a shaagird (student). I have a long way to go!" So what about us then?

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This page was tagged for
Taj Krishna events
November 2001 events
hyderabad arts
hyderabad concerts / live music
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