Every year, classical music lovers swarm
to Mumbai’s National Centre for Performing
Arts for the Bandish festival, a three-day event that honours India’s
legendary composers with the country’s most acclaimed classical maestros performing
their works in the signature styles prescribed by their respective gharanas (musical lineage).
Starting 12 July, this festival presents live
Indian classical music at its best and is a beautiful way to experience poetic
verse and complex rhythm.
A “bandish” loosely translates as a fixed
composition of notes. The singer uses this as a musical backbone to render the
original composition into a qawwali, khayal or thumri (styles of singing). Unlike Western classical music, there
are no written notations and the singer relies on orally handed down renditions,
so no one can predict how the “cover” version will play out.
The festival opens with Talat
ghazals by the iconic poets Mirza Ghalib and Faiz Ahmed Faiz. “Ghazals are a
special genre of Indian music where the focus is on a perfect combination of
classical Indian music and classical Urdu poetry,” Aziz said.
On 13 July, Malini
Rajurkar will showcase
the exquisite works of Shrikrishna Ratanjankar (Sujan), celebrated vocalist,
composer and scholar of the Agra Gharana. Ulhas
Kashalkar will present celebrated khayal compositions of Vilayat Hussain
Khan (Pranpiya) of Agra Gharana and his pupil Gajananbuwa Joshi on the same
evening. Kaushiki Chakrabarty will perform thumri and dadra
compositions originally created by brothers Barkat Ali Khan and Bade Ghulam Ali
Khan (Sabrang) of the Patiala Gharana on 14 July.
The highlight of the festival
is the closing act. Known mostly for his accomplishment as a Kathak (Indian
classical dance) performer, Birju
will render thumris composed by his grandfather, Bindadin Maharaj of the Lucknow
Gharana. You can either buy tickets at the venue or book them online. All performances begin at
Sharon Fernandes is the Mumbai Localite for BBC Travel