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Pandit Ravi Shankar: legends on Legend

music Updated: Dec 15, 2012 01:11 IST

Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, 62, Slide guitar player

"We will take strength from his teachings"
He was so caring about everyone. I remember we were playing in Russia in 1988 as a part of Festival of India, and he gave the Russian cook specific directions on how to cook gobhi ki subzi with Indian spices. He also said that if he (the cook) didn’t get it right, he will not eat food. My first memories of him are from the age of five, when my eldest brother, Pt Shiv Mohan Bhatt was his student. I became his student in 1983 and realised what a wonderful teacher he was. He was always patient with us. I feel we are orphans now. Having said that, we all will take strength from his teachings and keep him and India proud. As told to Samarth Goyal


Sonal Mansingh, 68, Indian classical dancer
I met him first in Mumbai when I was in college. At that time he had opened Kinnara School of Music and my dance classes were going on there. There was no TV back then, only radio. My mother was in the selection panel and so Pandit ji used to visit us at home. In 1967, when I married Lalit Mansingh and we were based in Geneva, Pandit Ji was performing at day-one of Indo-Luxembourg Friendship Society’s concert in Luxembourg and I, a young dancer, performed on day two. Surprisingly, both of us got a standing ovation for our respective performances.

I’m always reminded of him whenever I think of my days in Mumbai. He was warm, friendly and often came to our house for dinner with his wife Sukanya. He introduced Indian music to all corners of the world. Like his own guru, Ustad Allauddin Khan sahab, he also created a lot of students, who are doing extremely well today. He was a fitting example of how to be a guru in the true sense. He was gifted with the generosity and nobility to share his art and talent with others with ease. He will be dearly missed. As told to

As told to Vaishali Bhambri

Karsh Kale, 38, musician

‘He had fascinating stories to share’
I used to attend Panditji’s concerts in New York but met him personally only in 2005, when his daughter Anoushka and I started working on an album. He had a very inspiring personality. On one hand, he was this incredibly well-read, dignified and artistic person who was full of knowledge, and on the other hand, he was an enthusiastic child who had a lot of fascinating stories to share. He frequently visited the studio where Anoushka and I were recording and we often had lunch together.

Panditji lived an unprecedented life. He was a music legend. Indian art and music benefited a lot because of him. A lot of musicians such as Sultan Khan and Zakir Hussian performed for first time on the international platform because of Panditji. As told to Aakriti Sawhney

Ustad Shujaat Khan, 52, Sitarist
I got a call early in the morning from a friend telling me that Panditji has passed away. I last met Panditji in America about six months ago and he was very, very unwell. I visited him in his house and his physician had also come to check on him that day. I inquired with him about Panditji’s health and was told that we should be prepared for the worst. Panditji’s death is a huge loss to the country, but for me personally, it is like losing someone who also had words of encouragement for me.

He came for my concerts when he could and would tune into my albums and give me feedback when we met. And for me, those were special moments. In fact, whenever I visited him at home, he would make sure to spend some time with me alone and would speak about my father, their times and also of the modern generation of musicians. His greatest quality was perhaps that he was always appreciative of the achievements of the younger musicians. As told to Himika Chaudhuri

Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, 74, Celebrated Flautist
I met Pandit Ravi Shankar when I was around seven or eight years old. He was performing for All India Radio in Allahabad and I remember he was very upset because his performance had been slotted just after his teacher’s and that made him really nervous. After the performance, he shouted at the station director and said that this should not happen again. Later, he was fine and laughed with everyone. I started loving his music. I really enjoyed his company and I learnt a lot from him. He was not just a great musician, but also a great human being. I last met him three years ago when I was touring USA for a concert and went to his house in San Diego, where we had tea and cracked jokes. He was healthy at that time. His death is a great loss to me, my family, music and Indian culture.

As told to Neha Sharma

Ustad Shujaat Khan, 52, Sitarist

I got a call early in the morning from a friend telling me that Panditji has passed away. I last met Panditji in America about six months ago and he was very, very unwell. I visited him in his house and his physician had also come to check on him that day. I inquired with him about Panditji’s health and was told that we should be prepared for the worst.

Panditji’s death is a huge loss to the country, but for me personally, it is like losing someone who also had words of encouragement for me. He came for my concerts when he could and would tune into my albums and give me feedback when we met. And for me, those were special moments. In fact, whenever I visited him at home, he would make sure to spend some time with me alone and would speak about my father, their times and also of the modern generation of musicians. His greatest quality was perhaps that he was always appreciative of the achievements of the younger musicians.

As told to Himika Chaudhuri

Pandit Jasraj, 82, Hindustani Classical Musician

The music world has been shattered. His memories will remain with us for years. He was a singer of such a big stature. His cheerful nature and talent will be missed forever. He introduced Indian classical music to the world, and all the respect that we get today, we owe it to him. In 1946, I performed with him for the first time when I played the tabla with him. It was my elder brother who introduced me to him and he did not hesitate even once in giving a young boy like me a chance.

In 1952, I sang on the radio, and he heard me sing for the first time. He then said, “You have a beautiful voice, keep it this way forever.” In 1953, he invited me to sing at a private gathering in his house. He knew the art of keeping his fellow artists happy. He had no insecurity. He used to encourage young talent a lot. This quality made him more popular. Also, he was far ahead of other artists.

I met him last in April this year in San Diego. He had got discharged that day and waited on a chair for about three hours for me. We had food together. His hospitality was like no other’s. He had such immense will power that he performed even at the age of 92. Unhe jitna yaad kiya jaaye, kam hai!’

As told to Vaishali Bhambri

Muzaffar Ali, 68, Filmmaker, Fashion Designer

He was a spirited and passionate artist. He had a global mind. He was gifted with the talent to see beyond the frontiers of the country. He successfully created a world for Indian music and culture. As a senior artist, he was immensely encouraging and humble and I think this humility of his gave him the spirit to create. I met him for the first time about 30 years ago when I was abroad. He was a person who you would meet once and it it would feel like you have met him so many times. In the recent times, I met him at dinners and we would discuss music. He was very receptive and also had a great sense of humour. We share the same doctor here and he told me that even at this age, he never used to shirk from giving a performance. In his death, I see the demise of a giant of Indian music and culture.
As told to Vaishali Bhambri