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Discovering musical Mumbai

Friday, May 17, 2019

We were recently invited to a Bollywood-themed musical programme by a bunch of amateur musicians that took place within the Mithibai College premises at Vile Parle. Relaxing in our seats, we were treated to a lively show that was as charming for its imperfections as it was for the easy camaraderie and goodwill among the participants and audience. The Pancham musical group performed for over three hours in its annual musical show that day which featured the melodies of old-time music directors such as RD Burman and Laxmikant Pyarelal, sung by performers who ranged in age from their twenties to their seventies. In fact, the voice of one particular 72-year-old performer surprised us with its high notes and amazing breath control -- which proves that age is often just a number. Dr Malini Lawande, one of the members of the group and a singer herself, informed us that the group comprising 24 members in all was instituted around 15 years ago. Formed within the drawing room of a member’s home Pancham (meaning ‘the fifth’) meets four or five times a year to put up free musical performances for family and friends. The group is self-financed by the members by means of a membership fee. At the end of each function Pancham treats performers and guests alike to an evening snack and/or a sumptuous dinner. It is a sterling idea to promote the love of music and we are pretty certain that there are several such non-professional groups that promote the arts and culture amongst themselves in our richly variegated city.

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