#Sawai – Santoor Player Abhay Sopori Enchants Audience

Abhay Sopori performing at the festival

On the fourth day of the Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav, the legendary stage saw classical Indian musicians sway the audience to a divine realm. Standing ovations and loud sounds of admirers saying ‘waah!’ was a regular feature.

This day saw two debutants perform first. Vocalist Tushar Dutta, the immensely talented student of veteran Pandit Bimal Mitra Das, started with raag Gaud Sarang in Vilambit and sang ‘Gori tere naina’, a bandish. He later sang ‘Dil ke choto ne kabhi chain se na rehne diya’, a shayari that was made famous by singer Mohammed Rafi in Naina, a film that released in 1973. He concluded his performance with a bhajan, ‘Man bhaya re sawariya’.

The performance that left audience members spellbound was by Abhay Sopori, another debutant as a solo artist who played the santoor, a classical Indian string instrument. Hailing from Kashmir and the Sufiana gharana, he is the son of Bhajan Sopori. He played raag Bhim and captivated his audience with melodious tunes that sounded almost magical. The performance, which was extended by a few more minutes, drew large crowds that kept their gaze fixed at Sopori. He ended with playing a Kashmiri composition by his great-grandfather.

Aarti Ankalikar-Tikekar performing at the festival

This was followed by Pandit Upendra Bhat, disciple of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi. Belonging to the Kirana gharana, Pandit Bhat is proficient in singing in the style of gazal, thumri and bhajan. He commenced with raag Durga and completed it with ‘Anandi anand’ an abhanga.

Perhaps the most awaited performance of the night was Aarti Ankalikar-Tikekar’s. She is the disciple of late Kishori Amonkar and Vasantrao Deshpande. Being a mentor herself, this year’s festival saw many of her students perform as well. She began her performance with raag Rageshree in Vilambit Rupak Taal and Dhrut Teen Tilana Taal in ‘Sumiran karat ram, bisarat bitha jeet liyo madh, moh, krodh, kama…’ This was carried forward by a shift to raag Kafi and sang ‘Madhu mukund murari’, a tappa which is generally sung in Punjabi or Farsi, but Ankalikar-Tikekar performed it in Hindi. She ended her performance with a soulful abhanga, ‘Bolava vitthala’ that is late Kishori Amonkar’s composition.  

Prachi Shah gave a Kathak performance, that gave the audience a different taste of another classical Indian art form. Her performance was accompanied by a host of musicians on different classical Indian instruments.

Hindustani vocalist Padma Talwalkar’s performance was the one the brought the fourth day of the festival to an end.  The last day of the festival will see eminent musicians like Ustad Shujaat Khan, Dr Prabha Atre, Mahesh Kale and many more.

Vijayta Lalwani

Vijayta Lalwani

The young lady from Lagos has always been keen on a career in journalism. Pune365 was hence the right stop. We agree. vijayta@pune365.com
Vijayta Lalwani