Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav, one of the most sought-after Indian classical music festivals in the world, will be held in the city from December 11-16. Started by Pandit Bhimsen Joshi in memory of his guru Sawai Gandharva or Rambhau Kundgolkar, the annual festival will celebrate its 60th year with a six-day celebration.
Announcing the dates and the line-up, Srinivas Joshi, executive president, Arya Sangeet Prasar Mandal, which organises the annual festival, said, “To commemorate the 60th year of this festival, this year, the festival is spread over six days, seven sessions and will feature 31 performances by around 40 artistes.”
In keeping with tradition, the festival will begin with the shehnai performance by Ashwini and Sanjiv Shankar, grandchildren of noted Shehnai player Pt Anant Lal.
It will be followed by a performance by Meena Faterpekar, great granddaughter of Ustaad Abdul Karim Khan, whose 75th death anniversary falls this year. Sawai Gandharva’s granddaughter-in-law, vocalist Padma Deshpande, will perform with Pt Shivkumar Sharma’s son Rahul Sharma on santoor. Day One will conclude with a performance by Pt Jasraj.
As the name of the festival was changed from ‘Sawai Gandharva Sangeet Mahotsav’ to ‘Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav’ last year, the festival has also got a new website with a new domain name, sawaigandharvabhimsenmahotsav.com.
However, tickets won’t be sold online. “One of the reasons we don’t sell tickets online is that traditionally, they have been sold out within half-an-hour of the bookings opening,” explained Joshi.
Among the many interesting events lined up, the joint performance by Pt Rajan and Sajan Mishra along with their sons Ritesh and Rajnish Mishra, on December 12, promises to be enchanting. “Young performers from veteran artistes’ families coming together opn stage will be the highlight of this year’s mahotsav,” said Joshi.
The festival will end on December 16 with performances by Prabha Atre and Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma. Traditionally, the festival officially concludes with the entire audience and remaining performers listening to the Thumri in raag Bhairavi recording Jamuna Ke Teer by Sawai Gandharva, a tune made famous by his guru, Ustad Abdul Karim Khan.