The Kirtan, The Flute, and Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasiaji – A remembrance on his Birthday

Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia

Its 1st of July, As the continuation of birthday celebration of maestros, I am here with my humble offering to the pundit who’s name has been synonymous with flute world widely.

Sometimes life treats you with surprises, which you could not even dream of. My Karma score must have been quite a bit higher than my academic scores. The reason is still unknown, but certainly, something has been carry-forwarded, presumably from my past life. This saga is one such treat which I received from a God.  

It took place almost thirteen years back. I was teaching as the music teacher at a reputed senior school of Kolkata at that time. Since then I have been fortunate enough to be associated with Spicmacay.

An afternoon on those gala days I came to know that there is a classical concert organized by Spicmacay, and I must gather our students and attend that concert in that very evening. To my utmost surprise I then came to know that – The living legend, Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia ji will be performing there.

There was not much time. Initially, it took me some moments to register and then in jet speed I addressed all my lovely students and convinced them (At least that is what I thought) to go there.

It was a cozy, homely baithaki at the top floor of 6 (?)Hunger Ford Street, Kolkata. I reached there with only a handful of students and there he was, sitting majestically on that tiny stage. Again fortune smiled and I got a chance to sit in the front row. And then within a few minutes, the soulful music started with a long hold Sa. The first presentation of that recital was in Raag Hamsadhwani.

It was not my first exposure to Pt Chaurasiaji’s live music. I experienced that magic many times before that day. But since it was a concert which was conducted to engage, mostly the school students, and give them more exposers to Indian art and culture,  Chaurasiaji’s immense sense of humor started emerging from the interaction session. He played the tune of Jingle bells asked the students to identify that tune. Each and every student identified that very popular Christmas carol immediately. Panditji then divinely played these few lines of that legendary Bhajan–

“Vaishnava Jana To, Tene Kahiye Je
Peed Paraayi Jaane Re,
Para Duhkhe Upakāra Kare To Ye
Mana Abhimāna Na Āne Re
Vaishnava Jana To, Tene Kahiye Je
Peed Paraayi Jaane Re”

There was pin-drop silence in the room which he broke by asking the students to identify that tune, but unfortunately, no students could do that, and thus he started explaining the rich heritage and culture of our own country, which we must explore, through his magical narrations.   

Spellbound, I was waiting there at the end of the concert. I touched his feet, he must have been noticing me sitting there with teary eyes during his performance and to my absolute astonishment, Panditji started asking me about the concert, and also about me. As usually, I started talking gibberish and told Panditji about my passion for Padabali Kirtan and also said that how I wish he could play Kirtan on that baithaki. Panditji was kind of surprised with such a request and said – ‘oh, ok, do one thing on such and such date I am coming to Kolkata again at the science city auditorium, you be there, and I will play Kirtan for you there.”

Almost two months later, that day arrived and I was there at the science city auditorium to listen to the maestro again. He played Raag Durga and then as usually started asking the audience for their choices. Many enthusiastic Kolkata listeners started shouting – ‘dhun dhun’, some said ‘pahari, pahari’ ( Jiya dharak dharak from the film  Kalyug was still hit), and some said “ Banaras Ki Pahari”….. and it went on.

Pt Chaurasiaji then started laughing – ‘arey banaras ki Pahari, banaras  mein pahar kahan hai bhai’ and then came that magical moment of my life. Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, the living legend, said that he would like to play Kirtan as he promised that to someone in his last Kolkata visit.

I was certainly not believing my ears and my eyes rather any of my senses at that moment. The swing of that kirtan sustained in my soul.

I am not at all a backstage, or autograph or selfie kind of person. But that day I could not resist myself. I went there and touched his feet without saying a word again with a pair of bleary eyes. He was there, that soulful tune of Kirtan was there and these two verses of Padakarta Chandidas were there in my mind….

  • ajhoro jharae mor nayanero pani, Bnashir shabade borai haraili porani”

Pranam to the maestro on his birthday.

Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia

তানসেনের তানপুরা – রহস্যের তালা খুলছে সুরের চাবি

লকডাউনের অনেক ডাউন সাইডের মধ্যে দুটি বড় দিক-

ক) সোশ্যাল মিডিয়া আমার আপনার রাগপ্রকাশের সর্বোচ্চ প্রকাশ মাধ্যম।

খ)  এই প্রকাশ মাধ্যমে প্রশংসা প্রতিষিদ্ধ।নতুন কিছু দেখে, শুনে, পড়ে যদি গলা জড়িয়ে কোঁদুলে সুরে (বে অথবা অ)  নিন্দে মন্দ না করেন তাহলে তফাৎ যান। আপনি ভাই এলেবেলে।

এরকমই এক পরিস্থিতিতে কানে এল আরেক রাগের কথা। যেই রাগের সাথে আমার প্রথম পরিচয় সম্ভবত মায়ের গর্ভাবস্থার সময় থেকে। নানান বর্নময় রূপে,  রাগেদের সাথে দেখা হয়েছে আমার। কিন্তু ভারতীয় রাগ সঙ্গীতের (পড়ুন ভারতীয় সঙ্গীত, এর যেকোনো রূপেই প্রায়, রাগ স্যার বা রাগিণী ম্যামের অবাধ যোগ) সূত্র ধরে রহস্য উন্মোচন – তাও আবার তানসেনের তানপুরার, এই চমক প্রথমবার। এর আগে বাইশে শ্রাবনও  এইভাবেই অবাক করেছিল, ভাবতেই পারিনি যে বাঙলা কবিতা দিয়ে একটা মার্ডার মিস্ট্রির সমাধান করা হচ্ছে। তানসেনের তানপুরার এই অভূতপূর্ব ভাবনাকে আমি সবার আগে স্যালুট জানাই।

এর আগের ব্লগে মাস এবং ক্লাস নিয়ে অনেক আলোচনা হয়েছে তাই সে বিষয়ে বেশী বলতে চাইছিনা। শুধু একটা কথা বলা এক্ষেত্রে খুব গুরুত্বপূর্ণ – যে দুর্ভাগ্যবশত আমরা আমাদের পরম সম্পদ – আমাদের শাস্ত্রীয় সঙ্গীতকে আমরা কেমন বাড়ির বড় কর্তা গিন্নীর মত সযত্নে, ভক্তিভরে একটা গণ্ডি কেটে, তার ভেতর রেখে দিয়েছি। আমাদের নিত্য নৈমিত্তিক জীবনের থেকে একটু যেন দূরে, একটু উপরে। তাকে আমাদের জীবনেরই একটা  অঙ্গ করা হয়ে ওঠেনি বিশেষ। ঠিক যেমন খাপ খায় না ভেবে বাড়ির সবরকম আড্ডায় সবসময় প্রৌঢ়দের অলিখিত প্রবেশ নিষেধ থাকে, অনেকটা সেরকম। সেইরকম আবহে বাঙলায় নায়ক নায়িকা প্রেমের  গান গাইছেন – ‘তবে সে আন্ধারে নিখাদে গান্ধারেকে তাকে প্রাণ ধারে, প্রেয়সী তোমা বিনা  – তাও আবার শুদ্ধ যোগ রাগের এক অনবদ্য অধরবন্ধ  বন্দিশে – এ যেন শুনতে গিয়েও বিশ্বাস হতে চায়না।

তানসেনের তানপুরা ‘হইচই’ এর একটি ওয়েব সিরিজ । সৌমিক চট্টোপাধ্যায় পরিচালিত। এখানে শুধু গান নয়, ছবিও সাহায্য করছে জুড়ে দিতে ‘ জিগ শ পাজল’  গুলো। গল্প অসাধারণ। লোকেশন, অভিনয় প্রশংসাযোগ্য তো বটেই। তবে সিরিজটির  আসল হিরো এর সঙ্গীত বিভাগ।

শ্রীজাতর এই জাতকেরা একেবারেই নতুনরুপে শ্রীযুক্ত।ভবিষ্যতে এরকম আরো বাংলা খেয়াল,  বাংলা ধ্রুপদ, বাংলা  ধামার, বাংলা  ঠুমরীর অনুরোধ, আবদার এবং একনিষ্ঠ পাঠিকা হিসাবে বায়নাও  জুড়ে দিলাম।

এই সিরিজের প্রতিটা মুহূর্তের  পিছনে সুরকার হিসাবে  শ্রী জয় সরকারের ভাবনা – অভাবনীয়। খেয়াল, টপ্পা, কাওয়ালী এই সমস্ত টেবিলের ওপারে রাখা অসামান্য  ধারাগুলোকে – বাঙলায় এবং সর্বোপরি –“মেইন স্ট্রীম” মিউজিকে বড্ড সুন্দর ভাবে সাজিয়েছেন উনি।

জীমূত রায় সবচেয়ে বেশী অবাক করেছেন।  অবিশ্বাস্য রকমের ভালো গেয়েছেন প্রত্যেকটি গান। পিয়ু মুখার্জীর গান সবসময়ই অপূর্ব, তবে এক্ষেত্রে গল্পের খাতিরে হয়েত একটু লো প্রোফাইলে গাইতে হয়েছে  কিন্তু তবু বড় সুন্দর। তবে পণ্ডিত নীহার রঞ্জন বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়ের গাওয়া নিধুবাবুর টপ্পা, ওনার খানদানী গায়কী, সূক্ষ্ম জমজমার কাজ  মনে করিয়ে দেয় যে কত বছরের নিরন্তর সাধনায় সুর অমন অনায়াসে ধরা দেয় –“অনুগত জনে ….তুমি মারিলে মারিতে পারো” ।

আলাদা করে বাঁশির কথা বলাটা দরকার। আবারো গল্পের খাতিরে হংসধ্বনী পর্বে বাঁশিকে হার মানতে হয় আলাপ, মানে প্রধান নায়কের কণ্ঠসঙ্গীতের কাছে। ঠিক যেভাবে প্রায় আটষট্টি বছর আগে গল্পের তাগিদে বৈজু বাওরা ছবিতে পণ্ডিত ডি ভি  পালুস্কারের মত শিল্পিকেও হেরে যেতে হয়েছিল উস্তাদ আমীর খান সাহেবের কাছে। এখানেও বাঁশি কোন অংশে কণ্ঠসঙ্গীতের চেয়ে এতটুকু কম ছিলনা, আসলে আমার ঠিক উল্টোটাই মনে হচ্ছিল।

খ্রীস্টোফার কলম্বাসের আমেরিকা আবিস্কারের পরেও নাকি  তাকে – ‘এ আর এমন কি ব্যাপার, এ তো যে কেউ করতে পারতো, আরো আগেই করতে পারতো’ ,  – ইত্যাদি প্রভৃতি  দুয়ো  দেওয়া হয়েছিল। এ প্রসঙ্গে একটা মজার গল্প আছে। কলম্বাস নাকি তাদের  হাতে একটি আস্ত ডিম ধরিয়ে বলেন টেবিলের মাঝখানটায় ওটিকে বসিয়ে দিতে । বিস্তর মাথা কান চুলকে সবাই ফেল করায় উনি ডিমটাকে ভেঙ্গে খোলার অর্ধেকটা টেবিলের মাঝে বসিয়ে উঠে যান।

এ গল্পের সত্যাসত্য জানিনা, তবে এখানে কেন এই গল্প বললাম তা নিশ্চয়ই পাঠকেরা বুঝেছেন। এই সিরিজ দেখে এবার প্রথা মেনে হয়েত নিন্দে মন্দ শুরু হবে। আমরা আমাদের ডিগ্রীর গম্ভীর চশমা এঁটে বলে উঠবো – আরে ইয়ে তো বাচ্চোওয়ালী কাম হ্যায়। এ সব তো সবাই জানে।  সা রে গা মা পা র সেদিনের ছেলে ছোকরাদের দিয়ে এইসমস্ত দুরূহ জিনিশ গাওয়ানোর কারণ কি, কারণটা  হল সহজ করে প্রকাণ্ড কিছুর গল্প বলা আমাদের ঠিক ধাতে সয় না। এমন করে ভারতীয় শাস্ত্রীয় সঙ্গীতকে পেশ করতে হবে যা সকলের মাথার ওপর দিয়ে বেরিয়ে যায়। অমন সহজ করে ভরত মুনির করে যাওয়া বাদ্যাযন্ত্রের শ্রেণীবিন্যাস সবার সামনে না ধরলেই নয়। ডিগ্রীর চশমা বলবে আগলাও, কুক্ষিগত করো, তবে ভুলেও ওতে হাত দিয়ো না।

তানসেনের তানপুরার পুরো টিমকে আমি কুর্নিশ জানাই এরকম একটা সুন্দর উপস্থাপনার জন্য। এছাড়াও আরেকটা কারণ  আছে। তানসেনের তানপুরা ফিরিয়ে দিল আমার বছর ছয়েক আগের  কিছু মধুস্মৃতি। কলামন্দিরের বিশাল হলে আমার মেয়েরা বৃন্দগায়ন করছে, কেদারের এক মোহময় বন্দিশের অন্তরা – ‘কণ্ঠ বনে মোতিয়ন কি মালা’ । অথবা গীটারে বাজছে পাগল করা ব্লুজ, আর ঠিক কাঙ্ক্ষিত দুই গান্ধারের ছোঁয়ার  মুহুর্তে, গলায় মিশছে, রাগ যোগ  – “সাজন মোরে ঘর আয়ে” । এ যোগসূত্রই বলে দেয় – “আছে আছে আমাদের টেলিপ্যাথির জোর আছে” ।

Remembering Sri Hemanta Mukhopadhyay on his Birth Centenary

Hemanta-Mukherjee

2009 onwards, an Indian movie character named Farhan Qureshi almost shook the ground of Indian society. A rebel, who finally stood by his own decision of pursuing his own passion, photography over studying engineering. It was a flame that turned into a huge fire in the next one decade. It is really difficult to choose a freelancing career over a stable job. Many of us are doing it today. Some of us are still hesitating.

 I wonder how difficult it must have been in early ’40s. How difficult it must have been to quit the studies of engineering and to go for the chosen path. Thankfully he convinced his father or else probably the world would not have experienced this golden voice. The golden voice of Hemanta Mukhopadhyay. 

The usage of the word ‘unique’ is not unique anymore. It can only be applied to a few things, one such is the voice quality of Sri Hemanta Mukhopadhyay. His immensely tuneful voice reaches our soul. But not only his exceptional voice, but also his utmost command in voice modulation and his phenomenal singing style. If the concept of Gayeki and Nayeki are to be demonstrated – one should start demonstrating it through Hemant Kumar’s singing. Hemanta Mukhopadhyay used to make his listeners visualize the songs without even looking at it. It was so full of expressions. But whichever genre he has worked in, he brought the necessary changes in the Gayeki but kept his Nayeki, his own singing signature, untouched.  May it be, ‘Ei Poth Jodi Na Sesh Hoy’-  an immensely romantic film song of Uttam Kumar as the main leading actor or may it be “ Na tum Hamein Jano’ – a classic of Devanand , or may it be  -‘ Khomite parilam na je” – a heart-wrenching composition by Tagore from ‘Shyama’, Hemanta Mukherjee delivered his rendition in his own mythical way.

At the path of fine arts, there is a very common phrase – mass or class. Now there are many theoretical explanations for this ‘ism’s, but I am sure you know what does it mean. Let us assume there are two types of people who appreciate art in two different ways in their own parameters. But when we start tagging the words like ‘legendary’ with some name; it means that the artist is able to create his or her magic on both mass and class. Hemanta Mukhopadhyay fits into this title entirely. Let us talk about one of his most serene songs – ‘Shanto Noditi, Pothe Anka Chobiti’, we must have listened to it numerous time, here in this part –“ paal gutiye chole gache, chotto noditi, aha chotto noditi”, here he has sung chotto noditi twice, but in two slightly different way. This is Hemanta Mukhopadhyay, he used the suddh and komal formation of one single note in such subtle way as if no difference occurred. It was that effortless.

Hemanta Mukhopadhyay, or Hemant Kumar, is a name of a milestone in pan Indian music scene. As the singer and as the ace composer, the fragrance of his creations is as fresh as ever. It’s hard to believe that the compositions like “ Humne dekhi hay in ankhon ki mahekti khusboo” – was created sometimes during 1969-70, from the perspective of it’s singing, it’s poetry, it’s tune and even it’s orchestration. It’s hard to find a listener who doesn’t feel a goosebump after listening to that tune of that mystic whistling at the prelude of ‘Ei Raat Tomar Amar’ or in its hindi version ‘Yeh Nayan Darey Darey’. Yes, it haunts indeed.

 In the history of almost a thousand years of Bengali songs – unanimously  – Adhunik Bangla Gaan ( Modern Bengali Songs) has been considered as the most glorious chapter. Yes, even today this genre, which is at least fifty years old,  is still popular as modern Bengali songs. But if we emphasize on the concept of modern songs, then history would point out some masterpieces from time to time. And one such composition is Ranar. It was path-breaking, as the poem, as the composition and definitely from the perspective of singing. Hemanta Mukhopadhyaya absolutely portrayed that song, portrayed that story. And as I was saying, so smoothly he delivered that very challenging composition. Usage of major, minor or chromatic notes – nothing mattered, nothing. Just the song and story sustained, he never emphasized the grammar, he never presented grammar, he sang, composed, created magic, touched our heart and soul and left. 

My first recording took place at a very popular studio in Kolkata named – Studio Vibration. There I found an old wooden chair, which was a little high in size. I was curious and a dada at that studio probably understood it and said that it used to belong to Hemanta Mukhopadhyay. At his old age he used to sit there and record his songs. I kind of started imagining the legend singing with his accurate modulation in that studio, I am kind of imagining him singing these few lines now– in this soft, mystic, sustaining voice  – ‘Prithibi ghumiye pore, tumi dekhecho ki”.

Hemanta Mukhopadhyaya

In Memorium: Sangeetacharya Vishmadeb Chattopadhyay: The Mythical Indian Classical Virtuoso: The laudable Guru: The celestial Human Being.

The Saga:

My musician friends often say that they envy my childhood. And they actually cannot be blamed. Our three-storied, classic north Kolkata house at paikpara and its very iconic narrowest, red staircases have literally carried many lotus feet of many maestros. For me, it was natural to see them almost every day and listen to many many legends of those maestros. My parents, the utmost connoisseur of music and literature, provided us such an ambiance to grow up in. And the time, they have experienced this magic world of Kolkata, the way they have drawn those narrations to me, was the most fascinating chapter of my journey with music. Now the time has changed. Many chroniclers have taken leave from this mundane world and slowly these narratives are disappearing with the course of time. But these are precious and I am just trying to save these jewels for our next genesis. Sangeetacharya Vishmadeb Chattopadhyay, The venerable maestro. His musical life and endless legends have always intrigued me to know and explore more and more. And thus, this journey began.

The Journey:

I remember, once I was waiting for my commute at Tollygunge on my way back from a long and hectic working day. I was waiting and listening to Behug. A popular composition it was – “Ab Hu Lalan Main Ka”, but it was by the Sangeet Nayak Vishmadeb Chattopadhyay, and the entire approach of that raag was different. It just made me discover the exact meaning of the terminology of ‘Alankar’. The way he was adding colours to that composition was unthinkable. Many autos came and gone, but I simply stood there, frozen in his music, frozen in his time. That was the day I probably rediscovered the maestro. I kept on listening to his music and started reading about him from whatever sources were coming in my way. Years later my Kolkata Saga journey started. On one beautiful winter morning, we headed towards Sarkar Lane, his last residence. Again, it’s located at my good old North Kolkata. We were there on time, quite early in the morning as promised, with all our equipment and props, but alas, the road was under maintenance for that time being and in a horrific state.  But we braved the challenge and reached our sacred destination. 

No 30 Sarkar Lane:

This journey was reminding me of the chapter of transportation to Diagon alley. Reaching that serene place through that bustling streets of Shrimani Market area was almost the same kind of experience for us. We reached No- 3o Sarkar Lane, where the maestro has spent the last twenty-nine years of his life. I felt like touching his precious harmonium and those photographs of Khalifa Badal Khan Sahab and Ustadji and his stalwarts’ students hoping to receive their precious touch in every corner of that house.  Ustadji’s family members including his two sons Sri Akhilananda Chattopadhyay , Sri Jayanta Chattopadhyay  and daughter in law Smt Malabika Chatterjee welcomed us at their iconic north Kolkata house with utmost warmth. I must mention here Ustadji,s eldest son Sri Nikhilananda Chattopadhyay lives in Germany. Vishmadeb’s youngest son Sri Jayanta Chattopadhyay himself is a noted singer and a prominent musicologist. He was kind enough to take us through this time traveling.

The Family:

A religious nexus can easily be found in Vishmadeb Chattopaghyay’s family for generations. According to their ancestral history, Vishmadeb’s family is another descendant of  Shri Ramkrishna Paramhanshadeb. Sadhak Gangananda Swami was one of the forefathers of Vishmadeb’s clan. Vishmadeb Chattopadhyay was born to Smt Prabhabati Debi and Sri Ashutosh Chattopadhyay at a village called Sarai near Pandua, West Bengal on 8th November 1909. His musical excellence was observed from his very early age.

The Prodigy:

Young Vishmadeb stepped into the world of music with his innate capacity. He copied the series of songs of Pala’s (Songs of Jatra or open-air theatre) immediately after listening to them once, at the age of five. Learned flute playing almost on his own. started playing harmonium with the guidance of Dwijen Seth. He also tried and mastered Esraj from Dwijen Chakrabarty. Later, Mr C.J Grifith came to teach him piano and saw him playing harmonium. He gave his wise verdict on that very moment that Vishmadeb is nothing but a genius. At the age of eleven, he performed at Senate Hall, Kolkata in 1920 and astonished many dignitaries there. His formal talim started with Sri Nagendra Dutta, a stalwart of tappa from Ranaghat. For two years Vishmadeb’s training continued under him and finally, there were not many lessons left to teach this prodigy. Sri Dutta then asked him to listen to the records of Gauhar jaan, Johra Bai and others. On one such day, in 1923,  Vishmadeb got connected to his Guru of Life, Khalifa Badal Khan Sahab. Khalifa used to teach Sri Nagendra Dutta, he came there and listened to this wonder boy singing Johrabai’s melody. Surprised Khalifa said – “ Larka Hunhar Hai, Kiska Shagird Hay” With quite a modesty Sri Dutta replied that he himself teaches Vishmadeb and immediately, absolutely with no modesty Khalifa replied – “Issey talim dena tumahare bas ka baat nehi”.  The eternal bond between Khalifa and Vishmadeb started right there. I have actually felt something after reading this story. Sri Dutta must have handed over vishmadeb very happily to Khalifa for further talim. These kinds of humbleness and honesty is something really rare to see. Vishmadeb Chattopadhyay recorded his first record of tappa from HMV at the age of twelve. This happened during his journey with Sri Nagendra Dutta.

Khalifa Badal Khan Sahab:  

History of Indian music consists of numerous gripping myths. “Sudha Sagar Tirey” is a wonderful biography of Ustad Badal Khan Sahab,  written by one of Vishmadeb’s senior disciples, Sri  Suresh Chakrabarty.  There I found this less known, fascinating story behind the naming of Badal Khan Sahab. He was born to a fakir. The fakir was supposed to leave his family for salvation after providing an heir to that Khandan. Everyone was expecting a boy and Fakir was kind of confident that he is going to have a boy. In due time a child was born but it was a beautiful girl child. Fakir received that news from the midwife. The surprised Fakir sat for meditation for half an hour and then said “Ab Jao Woh Badal Ho Gaya”. And they checked again and saw that it was indeed a boy child. For this magical “Badal’ he was named Badal Khan. Now, who is going to authenticate whether it was myth or mithya!!

Legendary sarangi and vocal virtuoso Khalifa Badal Khan Sahab was connected to Kolkata for a very long period of time. Many pupils were blessed with his talim in Kolkata. In autumn of his life, he found Vishmadeb, his beloved one. I have captured some stories of their unique learning sessions in the video.  Those stories just made me realize that some bonds are eternal. And the way they found each other is also inexplicable.

The Ustad Vishmadeb Chattopadhyay:

Like all of us, Vishmadeb was also blessed with a normal human life span. But he has lived life in such an inspiring way that it became a milestone, it became history. Khandani Talim from the  Guru of that stature, his performances stood as the awe-inspiring moment for every listener,   path-breaking records, not only khayal,  Vishmadeb Chattopadyay has mesmerized numerous audiences with his unique harmonium playing, with his mesmerizing thumris and also by his very own style of Bengali Ragpradhan Gaan. His tranquil melodies like ‘Fulero Din Holo Je Abosan’ or  ‘ Nabaruno Raage’ brings us all back immediately to that era.

There are numerous stories of the maestro’s legendary performances. One such performance took place at Chatu Babu Latu Babu’s palatial house. Vishmadeb was performing.  Legendary Bacchalal Mishra of Banaras was accompanying him on Sarengi. Vishmadeb was doing Tana and Sarengi was following. Vishmadeb kept on improvising that tana in a very intricate way. Pt. Mishra continued for a long time, then literally started packing the Sarengi on stage, as there was nothing more add to his majestic singing. After a while, Vishmadeb noticed that there was no sound of Sarengi and asked him to play again. Like many others, that day Pt. Mishra also got absolutely enthralled with Vishmadeb’s singing. Sri Jayanta Chattopadhyay, his son, once shared this story to me, as the eye witness, during an interview session for Kolkata music mapping.  

Vishmadeb Chattopadhyay, The Guru:

 As I was saying, I always feel that, in our life, certain relations take place magically. When you look back at them you will feel that magic inside you. One such magical bond is the connection between a guru and shishya. Vishmadeb himself was blessed with a Guru, who understood Vishmadeb probably the most. His unique way of teaching stands as an inspiration to us even today. Similarly, Vishmadeb also bloomed many stalwarts as their affectionate Guru. Sometimes as Guru, as father and sometimes as friend, Vishmadeb deeply touched the lives of their disciples. From Kanan Debi to Chhaya Debi, from Begum Akhtar to S.D Burman or from Rajkumar Shyamananda Sing of Banaili state to magnificent Lily Chakrabarty, Vishmadeb has nurtured the musical journey of many.

The star friends and Accolades: At a very young age, moody Vishmadeb found his moody Guru. In later life also he got associated many noted musicians.  Pt. Radhika Mohan Maitra, Ustad Mushtaq Ali Khan  and many more ace musicians of that era developed a very strong musical friendship with Vishmadeb Chattopadhyay. The sagas of their nightlong drive to suburbs of Kolkata or stories of their  Riyaz in some of their farmhouse seems like fable today. During his  Megaphone days, Vishmadeb was also very closely associated with Kaji Nazrul Islam. Later at his Sarkar Lane house, eminent musicians like  Sri Nachiketa Ghosh, Sri Manabendra Mukhopadhyay or Sri Dhananjay Bhattacharya used to come to listen to the maestro.   The street used to be filled with cars just to listen to The ustad’s captivating music.

If I Ever Be Forgotten:

On 8th August,1977, The ustad, made his journey to the infinity. Leaving behind a shadow of his enormous life on many, leaving behind his music eternal. His musical and spiritual  sagas must not ever be faded away.  His glories must be preserved well in our heart and soul. ‘Jodi Money  Pore, Sedinero Kotha’….