The late Sharadchandra Arolkar, the doyen of the Gwalior gharana was recognized as the most authentic exponent of the khyal form of music. He was also one of the most sophisticated interpreter of the form and its aesthetics. Very few people know that Arolkar could play a number of musical instruments like the tabla , the sitar,the been as well as the esraj. Therefore, in a way , it was relevant to have two sitar players at the festival of music organized by the 'Khayal Trust' in his memory. The festival sponsored by the IFDC Limited at Dadar Matunga Cultural Centre , was well attended and the knowledgeable audience cheered the performers who gave off their best in the evening concert.
Ashim Chowdhury, the sitarist who performed in the beginning is now a senior instrumentalist. A pupil of his father Shibu as well as Benjamin Gomes, Ashim went on to learn from the highly venerated sitarist Bimalendu Mukherjee whose another pupil and son Budhaditya is India's ace sitar player today. Ashim played the raga 'Yaman' as his first item. His playing was akin to the khyal ang. The glissandos, the trills and the tonal jerks were extremely pleasing to the ear. He played the composition 'Kaise Kaise Jau Jau Main Piya Paas' in a most tender way. He continued with the raga 'Nand' bandish ' Aajhun Na Aaye Shyam' in his own melodious manner. Saibal Chaterjee on the tabla lent superb support to him.
Chetna Banawat who is an Associate Professor at the music department of the University of Bombay sang the raga 'Champakali'. Her choice of the raga was a bit odd. Yet, her execution was satisfactory. Her 'Hansadhwani' khyal was bright and evoked more appreciation. She also sang a dadra with facility. Anant Joshi on the harmonium and Abhay Datar on the tabla lent quality accompaniment to her performance. Shakir Khan, son and pupil of the maestro Shahid Pervez was the last artiste of the evening. He too selected a weird raga lie 'Charukeshi' for a detailed elaboration. His mastery of technique ,though, was quite evident. His alaps in the concluding 'Pilu' compelled admiration. He touched the heart stings of the audience with his music. Hindole Majumdar on the tabla was simply brilliant. This formidable talent is rarely seen on the city concert platform.