Elephanta Festival: Fusion of heritage and culture| Last Updated: March 6, 2013 at 6:02 PM
Think Munni badnaam hui and you have images of the lissom Malaika Arora Khan dancing provocatively to the voice of Mamta Sharma. But how would you feel if you hear Ustad Shujaat Khan, the scion of Imdaadkhani musical gharana, render the popular Bollywood number and that too in ghazal style. Unbelievable! Isn’t it?
The pleasant shock that I experienced on hearing the Grammy award-nominee Ustad was accentuated by the setting for his vocal recital. The renowned musician was at the Elephanta Festival
To confess the truth, I was not very eager to attend the festival. Government-organized festivals were, I believed, sarkari affairs low on substance and high on hype. However, the two-day event was to be an eye-opener on several scores.
With the world renowned Elephanta Caves forming the backdrop for the event, the two-day fest couldn’t have had a better setting. Organised to promote Indian classical music, dance, culture, the fest also rivets focus on the Elephanta Caves.
Renowned for its cave temples and sculptures of Hindu gods, the Elephanta Caves are located on an island off the Mumbai coast. The island, also known as Gharapuri, is nine nautical miles from the Gateway of India. You can read more about the world heritage site here.
And it was at the Elephanta fest that I had chance of hearing Ustad Shujaat Khan singing Munni badnaam hui. Perhaps, Ustad Shujaat Khan anticipated the surprise his impromptu rendition had triggered and he was quick to ask the audience not to concentrate on the lyrics but on the musical composition. It was a night of surprises for me.
Ustad Shujaat Khan’s band ‘Vishanmo’ was the next to perform. The musical high created by the maestro’s rendition was taken a level further by jugalbandi of the renowned sibling duo Ganesh-Kumaresh on the violin and George Brooks on saxophone. Each stood his ground even as they collaborated to create a fusion medley. It was simply divine.
More music followed. V Selvaganesh on Kanjira managed to coax the Indian drum to churn out amazing sounds of snare drums, bass drums, base guitar and even a train.
Day 2 of the event provided more sensory treat. Pt. Prabhakar Karekar’s vocal recital was followed by Sufi Kathak performance by Manjari Chaturvedi. The high point of the event was a performance by Ranjit Barot’s band.
The two-day event not only helped raise awareness about Indian classical music and culture, it also helped me understand our Indian heritage better.
First Published: March 6, 2013 at 5:55 PM