Prithvi Theatre, Mumbai’s hothouse of culture is in the throes of festivity yet again as they celebrate another season of concerts featuring the incredible sibling talent, Zakir Hussain and Taufique Qureshi.
The Memorial Concert like Prithvi’s bustling café, heavily anticipated annual theatre festival and its regular patrons, is part of its fabric and completing 25 years this month. Hussain orchestrated the first concert in 1984 in keeping with the wishes of the theatre’s first mistress, Jennifer Kapoor.
“It’s become something of a tradition. My mother had always wanted Zakir to perform at Prithvi, unfortunately that never happened in her lifetime. When Zakir got word he approached dad and asked what he could do and the memorial concert was conceived,” said Kapoor.
The concert takes place each year on Jennifer’s birthday, February 28 and while duration and number of days of the concerts are subject to change, Hussain is certain to attend. “Zakir has complete creative rein and does something stunning within the classical music domain each time. We’ve had people line up the whole night for tickets knowing that Janki Kutir only opens at 7 am; we’ve also had semi riots, judging by which we have installed a screen outside the theatre for those who missed out on buying tickets and can watch the concert for free,” Kapoor said.
While Hussain essays the roles of architect and performer, Qureshi also takes the stage on occasion.
“The theme I've devised is echoes of Prithvi, which essentially implies that each musician is free to do as he/she pleases. Also a unique element is a platform performance by female dholu dancers from Karnataka who will kickstart the show,” said Qureshi.
The artist was scheduled to perform with fellow musicians and his own band Mumbai Stamp. “It is inspired by stomp but has its origins in Indian classical rhythms. We use trash materials but the roots are the tabla and mridangam,” Qureshi explained.
The final performance will revisit the first ever Memorial Concert and feature the dynamic santoor maestro Pandit Shivkumar Sharma and Hussain.
(The final performance of the Memorial Concert will take place on Saturday at Prithvi Theatre at 8 pm)