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Vajpayee’s spin on Pt Bhimsen Joshi jukebox: ‘Kuch sangeet ka mood hain’

Shrinivas Joshi fondly remembers the long association between great national leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the Kirana Gharana icon of all times and his father, Pt Bhimsen Joshi

pune Updated: Aug 17, 2018 14:52 IST
Anjali Shetty
Anjali Shetty
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Atal Bihari Vajpayee,Kirana Gharana icon
Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Kirana Gharana vocalist, the late Pt Bhimsen Joshi, with Joshi’s senior disciple Upendra Bhat (second from left) and son, Shrinivas. (HT File Photo)

As a meeting of two legends goes, being an eye-witness is what puts the light in Shrinivas Joshi’s eyes, although the remembrance is now on the passing away of one of those great men - Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The other man in the memory is Shrinivas’ father, the late Pt Bhimsen Joshi, the Kirana Gharana icon of his times.

The memory hovers around the years 1999-2000, recalls Shrinivas, and he says, “My father and Vajpayee sir had a very long association. He openly spoke of my father as his favourite singer. I remember meeting him several times in Pune and in Delhi.”

“During a meeting at Raj Bhavan at 7 pm... 8 pm, Vajpayee and Pt Joshi spoke for a while and then the prime minister informally asked, ‘Kuch sangeet mehfil ka mood hai?’.

“To this, my father immediately obliged and sent for the tanpuras and tablas,” recalls Shrinivas.

“Vajpayee finished a simple dinner and got set for the musical evening. We performed for an hour-and-a-half. I don’t remember the precise compositions, but it was a substantial performance,” says Shrinivas.

Shrinivas also vividly recalls the occasion when he was first introduced to the then PM by his father. “He (Pt Bhimsen) very casually said that my son’s has begun singing professionally, and to this, the PM replied, ‘Very good, sing well. All the best’,” Shrinivas remembers.

“He had very high regard for musicians and artistes. My father also knew him as a poet. Vajpayee sir was very respectful and I remember during this one visit he was discussing some developments and kept addressing Chhagan Bhujbal as Bhujbalji. He was very gracious in his interactions,” Shrinivas adds about a visit to the Prime Minister’s residence in 2001.

”I got the impression that one can relate to him as an individual and as a leader,” says Shrinivas.

First Published: Aug 17, 2018 14:27 IST