Bollywood is harming Indian classical music with it’s glitz, glamourand money, says Sultan of Santoor Tarun Bhattacharya

“It is always for each and every artist, credit must go to their Guru (s) or their teachers, the path they show to students helps them walk the path. One must remember that is an unknown journey that a disciple undertakes and he or she completely himself/herself to Guru and when they succeed it shows that the Guru has shown the right path. Ofcourse the disciple must have it in him/her to imbibe what the Guru teaches, the quality, technique precisely. Practise can help but perfect practice can only develop a perfect artiste. The disciple must give his/her own input, creativity and even a unique style and that differentiates between a musician and an artiste. It is a collaborative process between a Guru and Shishya to create an artiste.

Gharana means a style, a school of a particular process, pedigree, reflection from where you come from and inevitably parents’ shadow will reflect. Gharana’s style should be there but one should pluck the beautiful flowers from different Gharanas and build a unique special bouquet for the audience towards a path of being a successful performer with mesmerizing qualities. My advice is listen to all styles or gharanas and create your own distinct style and sound.

 Like any other profession hard work has no substitute but yes God gifted talent helps towards the making of a good musician early on in the career. But practise and correct practise can hone the skills towards greatness. As I often say and have seen Child Prodigy may often turn into Old Tragedy

Classical music has historically been a niche for a certain class of people ( by class  I mean those who understand the nuances and grammar of music), but on a personal level I have always tried to be accepted at, though very difficult but surely  not impossible. Pop is always popular musical format but I too have received a lot of warmth and evoked interest among those who would otherwise not understand classical music. Standing ovations for a length of time in countries absolutely alien from Indian music would certainly reflect popular acceptance but perhaps that is defined by my presentation style and that should be interesting and attractive keeping to the grammar of the music. Perhaps the greatest example of that is Bharat Ratna Pdt Ravi Shankar.

My personal opinion is that we should listen to every form of music and that is not Bollywood but International music too, imbibe the good sounds and discard the bad ones. Pleasant on ears is good music and anything else is noise. In lay man’s parlance the difference between koel singing and a dog barking ( without any offense about man’s best friend i.e. dogs). My Guruji Ravi Shankar ji always said to create a solid foundation about music right at the beginning and then try any kind of music and you shall succeed.

Coming back to Bollywood, it is undeniable there are 2 kinds of music being made there, good and bad. It is a pity these days good music is taking a backseat and lot of quality musicians are not getting enough opportunities in Bollywood. These days nepotism is the most read word when talking about Bollywood. Indian classical music and gharanas are getting affected with the glitz, glamour and millions being spent on Bollywood music and young minds are lured away to that world. I still feel we can create a space for Indian classical music if it is included in school syllabus, used in shopping malls, public spaces and am quite confident good sound of music shall attract listeners converting them into followers. We can’t compete with Bollywood but certainly exist.

Visual world has taken over in the present technology driven world. Television, Internet technology rules the roost and appearance, how we carry ourselves, the way we dress and appear on stage, how we place our hands, move our body has gained immense importance almost just next to how we perform. Communicating on stage with the audience is no longer the music but also how well you strike a conversation, crack a few jokes and lighten the atmosphere, it is and in future shall not be a place for sombre looking performers. The money comes from the sponsors and they too want musicians who are presentable and accepted both live and on air through television and internet. Again it is how people visualise (though not always right), a good doctor on a bicycle and an average doctor on a Mercedes and the one on Benz will draw more patients.

So the Gharanas or the finishing schools should start right in the beginning, grooming personalities as well the perfect musicians in them.”

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