Ganesh visarjan or the process of immersion of the idol is incomplete without the sound of beating drums as it is the most enjoyable and celebrated part and music plays a very big role in it. Prabhat Brass Band has been playing in front of the idol from Shree Kasba Ganapati Mandir during Ganeshotsav since 77 years. It all started in 1939 when noted historian and editor of ‘Kesari’ newspaper, N C Kelkar, approached the founder of the band, Late Moreshwar Solapurkar, to play for the procession. “My father told me that at that time they just got a silver one-rupee coin and a coconut as remuneration for playing continuously,” narrates Chandrashekhar Solapurkar, who now along with his sons handles the band performances.
Established in 1938, Prabhat Brass Band was started by Solapurkar’s father along with his uncles and they have even performed in films like Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Ram Lakhan, Gulacha Ganapati and many more Marathi films.
The band also plays for Shreemant Dagadusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple at night during the festival and their speciality lies in changing their costumes at every chowk they pass. “We have around 50 members playing at the Dagadusheth temple at night and we prepare a new dress every year for every chowk. We cross around five to six chowks and we make sure that from the cap on the head till the shoe on the foot, everything is different and new,” says Solapurkar.
The 57-year-old also talks about the kind of songs they play at the processions and why they refuse to play any Bollywood or Marathi film numbers. “The other day someone came asking us to play ‘Jhingat’ from the film ‘Sairat’. It’s not like we don’t play these songs but for a festival, we like to keep it dignified. We only play patriotic, religious and spiritual songs. The Ganapati procession is seen by lakhs of people and there should be some sort of quality. There has to be sophistication in the work we do,” he states.
Solapurkar, who started playing at the age of seven, now has more than 60 members in the band playing various instruments like the trumpet, saxophone, clarinet, euphonium, drums, dhol and bass dhol, keyboard and maracas. “There is a palanquin that carries the idol from the Kasba Ganapati temple, ahead of that you won’t see any other pathak or troop. You will only see Prabhat Brass Band playing.” They start practising for this year’s festivities from September 1.
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