PANDIT RANENDRANATH Majumdar, popularly known as Ronu bridges different musical systems. Awards, albums and a Grammy nomination for his musical feat in Hollywood film ‘Primary Colours’ - this flautist has a lot in his musical kitty.
Belonging to the Maihar Gharana, Ronu has made an innovative endeavour to narrow musical boundaries through fusion. “The word fusion sounds funky and westernised.
However, it is not about mish-mashing two traditions but complements and enhances individual rhythmic beats. A fusion of jazz and Indian classical music is possible only if each of the players is familiar with the nuances of the other.”
On what is more difficult to learn, vocal or instrumentals, he says it is very important to learn vocal music first. “Anyone making an attempt to learn an instrument should first learn to sing. When we are playing an instrument, we are also humming. Singing and playing go hand-in-hand.”
Speaking about the future of classical music in India he says, “The future is limited to its audience. In India, classical music is not the right word. It should be Indian classical music which covers a plethora of music.”
He says that it is very unfortunate that Indian classical music is not a common subject in schools. “Children are introduced to music through various channels and they recognise film music – which is situation based- as the only form of entertaining music.”
Conceding that the invasion of pop music had been detrimental for Indian classical music, he said: “Pop music better known as popular music is being sold amongst youngsters. I, however, don’t blame youngsters, who are exposed to this kind of music. Music should be made a compulsory subject in schools.”
After playing the flute in Gulzar’s award winning film Maachis, Ronu has stayed away from Bollywood. “Yes, I have not played for any movie after
that, but would love to do so. Classical music can garnish the movies but unfortunately a majority of people who are churning out music for Bollywood these days are bereft of any formal training.” His latest album ‘Fusion Yatra’ with Louis Banks, the pioneer of synthesizers in India, was released last month.
“The response to this album which unveils my journey from 1990 onwards has been overwhelming. I am very happy to connect with the younger generation.” On talent hunt shows, he feels while they are good there should also be such shows for Indian classical music.