Saturday, August 8, 2009

Father and Son

There is much written, spoken and shown on the topic of generation gap and the disputes that arise from the same. Old values and norms, new meanings and defnitions. This gets debated even more with artists. Illustrious father's son trying to match up - haven't we heard that often before. What happens when the son doesn't really try and 'match up' but is anyway as brilliant as the father?
Kumar Gandharva and Mukul Shivputra. One has given infinite moments of joy and listening pleasure to millions across the globe. Other has puzzled and bewildered many people. A common thread that binds the two is the rebellious spirit in their singing. Both dared to challenge existing norms and refused to be trapped in the boundaries drawn by others.
I have listened to many disciples simply imitating their guru (won't comment on that topic more, that's besides the point) but Mukul does not stop at imitating. He has taken his father's style, no doubt. But also added his own bit to it and comes across a deep thinker when you listen to him. Just as his father was.
Here is the same bandish sung by both - listen for yourself and you will see the point. Don't try to figure out which one is better. It will be a futile exercise.
See how both of them treat the bandish itself. He is asking his beloved - 'Gori tore sajal naina, kahe re...' Why are your eyes moist my dear?
Kumarji deals with the nuances subtly, like an elder man would ask, gently - as if saying - What's wrong, dear? Did anyone say something? What has made you so upset? Why won't you tell me?
The way Mukul goes about is more like a younger impatient man - ok, enough. Are you only going to sit there and cry or are you going to tell me what's wrong? Look, if you want to talk, then talk. Don't just sit and sob, ok?
Kumarji is measured in his development of the raag, Mukul almost can't contain himself and seems to want to run ahead of himself! Maybe I am thinking too much into this - but even the choice of taal reflects this. Kumarji adopts a more stately Teentaal while Mukul chooses a more sprightly Addha teentaal. The former reminds me of a measured walk, while the Addha always brings to the mind a hop, step and jump!
Note - the bandish by Kumarji is from the album Surmanjiri and that by Mukul is from Nirala. The former mentions the raag as Patmanjiri while the latter says Marubihag! I don't worry about that much, but more learned readers out there can clarify.
I must thank Shubhangi Athalye for allowing me to publish her pictures of Mukul Shivputra - you can read her post about his concert here.
The pictures of Kumarji are from the 'Kumar Gandharva home page' by Sunil Mukhi. The brilliant sketches are by Vishnu Chinchalkar and I first saw them in Maharashtra Times about 35 years ago! You can see them here. Thanks are due to Sunil for preserving them for posterity.

3 comments: said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator. said...


I am happy to note that you read my blog. Non-finance people find it difficult to understand.
I am a Fiancial Technical Analyst. Technical analysis is a passion for me. Technical analyis is what I call the classical music of fanalytical science. Technical analysis again like classical music is both science and art at the same time. With every riyaz it becomes manageble but like classical music still eludes the exponent...

Nevertheless, answering your question. Hori is actually holi festival. During hori- holi bandish are sung.

We were actually dejected, in first half since not great hori,s were sung. But the later half was amazing with mukul shivputra- sitting and singing drupad.

I am personally not so knowlegeble in classical music as are my friends Shubhangi and Prashant athalye. But once mukulji started singing, even a amatauer listeners like me was completely rphasodised. The complete control and aggression in his singing was breath taking and the ending left me dazed.
Prashant athalye reflected aloud that "he(mukul shivputra) performs rarely, but je kahi khanto te bawan kashi sona asta".

I think he said it best.
Suchita Ambardekar. said...


You are a brilliant writer. Your comparison was good. If possible would like to have both songs of kumarji and mukulji, which you mentioned in your post.If possible.

Suchita Ambardekar