Mumbai: Films Division, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, is all set to present ‘RAAGOTSAV…Celebration of Monsoon’, an online festival of selected films in its archive on Indian classical music. The first part of ‘RAAGOTSAV’, dedicated to the rich and age-old tradition of instrumental music and its legendary practitioners, will be streamed on Films Division Website https://filmsdivision.org/ and its YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/FilmsDivision from 14th to 16th July, 2020
The documentaries tell stories about major streams of instrument music – string, wind and percussion and also about maestros, Ustad Allaudin Khan, Ustad Bismillah Khan, Ustad Ahmad Jaan Thirakwa, Ustad Alla Rakha, Pt. Ravi Shankar, Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Pt. Ramnarayan, Pt. Sivkumar Sharma, Sheikh Chinna Moulana and others who have influenced music lovers, old and young alike for centuries.
‘Music of India’-Instrument (11min./1952/Bhaskar Rao), an informative compilation of musical instruments, will kickstart ‘RAAGOTSAV’. In India, many instruments have been skillfully used for music composition, accompaniment, and for solo performance, from time immemorial.
‘Baba’ (15 min./1976/N. D. Keluskar), the documentary on the life of Ustad Allauddin Khan, the legendary multi-instrumentalist composer and music teacher, is a must-watch. It talks about
how music brought an 8-year-old boy from a remote village in the then East Bengal (present-day Bangladesh) to the city of Kolkata.
Produced 50 years ago on life and work of tabla maestro, Ahmed Jaan Thirakwa’ a rare B&W biography (14min./1971/L Shankar) takes us to the golden era of music. The credit for elevating the status of Shehnai, a wind instrument played in marriages and religious processions only to the solo concert stage go to one and only ‘Ustad Bismillah Khan’ and this short film (19 min./2007/Dinesh Prabhakar) showcase master’s life and his illustrious journey leading to the highest civilian honor, Bharat Ratna.
Pandit Ravi Shankar, the world-famous Sitar exponent and the first instrumentalist to be bestowed with Bharat Ratna has expressed his views about the tradition of the Indian Gurukul system in the documentary ‘Moments with Maestro’ (18min./1970/Pramod Pati). Also interesting is the biography of Sheik Chinna Moulana who mastered and popularised Nadaswaram, a double reed wind instrument played mostly in temples and during Hindu weddings in South India, where ‘Shruti & Grace of Indian Music’ (14 min./ 1974/ Shyam Benegal) is majorly on the grammar of Indian classical music.
On day 2 of ‘RAAGOTSAV’, the story of a Tabla genius and his music philosophy is revealed in ‘Ustad Alla Rakha’ (13 min./1970/ C. S. Nair). ‘Tala and Rhythm –Mridangam’ (11 min./1972/ Shyam Benegal) underline the importance of the ancient percussion instrument in Carnatic music. Through ‘Music of India’- Drum (10 min./1952/Bhaskar Rao), a short overview is taken on a variety of drums used in India. ‘Pandit Ramnarayan’ (50 min./2007/ V. Packirisamy) denotes the journey of Sarangi maestro who took the hitherto accompanying instrument to the glorious level of solo excellence. ‘Bansuri Guru’ (57 min./2014/Rajeev Chaurasia) shows the fascinating musical journey of flute magician Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia whose mellifluous bansuri rendition is enchanting music lovers across the globe for over six decades.
‘Antardhwani’ (65 min./2008)/Jabbar Patel) which brings to life the musical journey of great Santoor exponent Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma will be streamed on the last day(16th July) of ‘RAAGOTSAV’- Part I. Ustad Amjad Ali Khan belongs to the family that introduced Sarod to the world. One can watch his illustrious musical journey, love for Sarod and grooming of his sons, in ‘Ustad Amjad Ali Khan’ (62 min./1990/Gulzar). The documentary ‘Bansuriwala’ (52 min./2016/Biplab Majumdar) is on ace flutist Pt. Ronu Mujumdar. This documentary gives us the experience of meditation through soothing music.
‘RAAGOTSAV’ aims to double the celebration of Monsoon and bring pure joy and celestial ecstasy to all music lovers, uplifting their spirit in the present days of isolation and depression. The festival can be watched on www.filmsdivision.org under the “Documentary of the Week” section. One can also watch the rare collection of films on Indian classical music on FD YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/user/FilmsDivision