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Veteran Harmonist Departs

Tuesday, November 28, 2017
By Amarendra Dhaneshwar

Bahadur Nanjee, veteran harmonium player and one of the finest musicians who contributed immensely to the rich film music of the Golden Era which spanned from 1945 to 1980, passed away at the ripe age of 97 in the city. Nanjeebhai, as he was affectionately addressed, was one of the main architects of the elegant sound edifices raised by geniuses among composers like Shankar Jaikishen, Roshan and others. He was mobile and active almost till he reached 93 and this writer/singer had a good personal equation with him and was especially blessed by Nanjeebhai for his attempts to explore the links between art music and popular film music.

Nanjee belonged to the most enterprising Parsee community which has done pioneering work in many fields in the city and the country. Musicians of the caliber of Cawas Lord, Kersi Lord, Burjor Lord, Gudi Seervai formed indispensable part of the background scores of the film songs of that era. Nanjeebhai too contributed his talent.

He began as a playback singer in the early ninety forties. He played the harmonium pieces which punctuated immortal songs like 'Tu Pyar Ka Sagar Hai' (Seema), 'Yaad Na Jaye' ( Dil Ek Mandir),'Ae Dil Na Mujhse Chupa' (Badal). The most memorable folk song 'Chalat Musafir Moh Liya Re' from 'Teesri Kasam' sung by Manna Dey, has some harmonium sequenses played at a super fast speed. They were played by Bahadur Nanjee. Nanjeebhai had an amiable disposition and was loved and admired by the entire musician community that worked with him.

Veteran singer Narayanrao Bodas too passed away suddenly in Pune yesterday. Son of Laxmanrao Bodas, Narayanrao had absorbed the elements of the Gwalior gayaki in him. He further augmented his repertoire by learning Agra gharana compositions. He was also an able practitioner of the Natyasangeet form. He stayed in South Bombay and kept the flag of Hindustani music flying with his performances and his dedicated approach to teaching. He was a member of the faculty at the Music Department of the University of Bombay. His son and pupil Kedar Bodas is a leading singer of the 90s generation.

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