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Compelling strains of bansuri

Wednesday, November 07, 2018
By Amarendra Dhaneshwar

It was the great Pannalal Ghosh who brought the bansuri into the arena of Hindustani concert music. Now the bansuri has become a global musical instrument. Other systems of music too have a flute. However, the one which Pannalal Ghosh worked on was 'aadavi bansuri' which he himself invented. Now this bansuri has turned really global. Santosh Sant, a senior flautist and a disciple is also a globally mobile artiste. He was featured in a morning concert on the occasion of Dussera by Tajmahal Tea House at its Bandra baithak programme. Santosh played the raga 'Bibhas' in the beginning. This raga has two versions – one with the note 'Komal Dhaivat' or 'd'. This type is more popular because many musicians prefer to render it. This variety is used for forms like the ghazal. Even for what is known as 'Sugam Sangeet' or 'Bhavgeet' the raag 'Bibhas' with 'komal' or 'flat d' is used. What Sant played was the raga 'Bibhas' with 'shuddh d' or natural 'dhaivat'. It has different character and appeal. Some musicians who are obsessed more with grammar than with emotion call it 'Bibhas of the Marwa ang'. The composition was set to the seven beat 'taal rupak'. He followed up with the raga 'Charukeshi', which is a Carnatic origin raga, and he played it with usual competence.

Sant had Pranshu Chaturlal as his accompanist on the tabla. He is the grandson of the legendary Chaturlal who first introduced the tabla to the West. Pranshu was full of innovation and spontaneity. It was a brief raga 'Shuddh Sarang' which really captivated the audience. 'Ab mori maan le' was composed by the great Faiyaz Khan. Even after almost 100 years of when it was first composed it continues to fascinate musicians as well as music lovers. Sant played it with a sense of involvement. He also played the raga 'Pahadi Dhun' which is almost mandatory for a flute player now. It was one of the best bansuri performances heard in recent times.

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