Panchatatva: A soulful rendition

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Indian Classical Music has come a very long way. With each era having incorporated something new and refreshing, giving the age old renditions a modern twist, this genre has become more presentable and attractive to the modern generation. Panchatatva is one such step in that direction.

Panchatatva literally means the Five Elements, Pancha meaning Five and Tatva meaning element. It is believed that the universe and everything in it is composed of five basic elements. Even our body is composed of the same. They include Aakash (sky), Agni (fire), vayu (wind), jal (water) and prithvi (earth). The performers explained the form of each element in a musical rendition and everyone who graced the stage on the event that took place on Sunday at Ganesh Kala Krida Manch, was a master of his own art and instrument.

The event brought together the great maestros like noted singer and doyen of Mewati gharana Pandit Jasraj along with the great flutist Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasiya. U Shriniwas (known for creating amazing sounds with the mandolin), Selva Ganesh (noted Khanjir player), Sridhar Partasarthy (mridunga), Ramkumar Mishra and Shubhankar Banerjee on tabla were also present on stage. Together, they created an atmosphere that took ‘Panchatatva’ to a whole different level. Durga Jasraj, daughter of the great singer, was the narrator for the event.

There is a reason I find myself out of words writing about such musical programs. The heavenly sounds and melodious ‘naads’ cannot be replicated using words. One had to be present for the event to realise the magnanimity of the event. The artistes played separately, each showcasing their mastery in their chosen art and the jugalbandi too made everyone present cheer and clap in appreciation. Pandit Jasraj’s voice was met with a mesmerised audience, who kept chanting ‘waah’ for his every soul-stirring melody. Hariprasad’s flute made one imagine it was Lord Krishna himself playing his wonderful basuri. U Shriniwas with his mandolin did what he does best, create sounds one cannot even imagine while the ‘taal’ department took the stage by surprise. The tabla players were wonderfully talented and their beats had everyone clapping. The mridunga and the khanjir, too evoked a similar response as it had the audience on the edge of their seats. There wasn’t a single dull moment as everyone showcased their best with ease.

Another reason this program reached an all new level was the visual effects. The use of visuals for the performance was something refreshing and helped the audience connect and understand the essence of the program better. Each element and its form was presented by the performers using ‘sur, taal and sangeet’, while the visuals in the backdrop helped recreate their physical form. It transported the audience in a world consisting only of the elements and the mesmerising ‘naads’.

The beautiful Durga Jasraj must be thanked for coming up with this concept and bringing together such great performers. Everyone present was on their feet, giving the greats a standing ovation. So was Suresh Kalmadi, who was present throughout the program with wife Meera. It was one of the most eventful Sunday nights and the program was one that will stay in the minds of the audience for decades. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Image Credits: Sana Sohoni

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