Thursday, January 15, 2009

मुनीमजी (१९५५ ) (हेमंत कुमार और कोरस )

शब्द : शैलेन्द्र संगीत:..सचिन देव बर्मन

Sachin Shankar and Salil ©
Salil's compositions for Sachin Shankar's Ballet Unit
A few years back Salil started writing his autobiography in a Bengali monthly magazine "Protikkhan". Unfortunately he could not complete it but whatever he wrote was later published as a book called "Jibon Ujjiban" (Life and Regeneration). Its a wonderfully candid book. Salil talks about his childhood, his musical influences, his romantic involvements, his struggles etc. Its a must read for anybody who wants to know more about Salil. In this book he writes affectionately about the biggest musical influence in his life - his cousin Nikhil Chowdhury. At his cousin's place Salil learnt to play various musical instruments and understand each instruments character and role. Later, when he was a college student he played flute for a travelling female dancer. He got paid for that which helped him to pay for books etc. After that he travelled with another dance group, more professional and gained invaluable experience in composing music for dances and ballets. At this point he started studying about western harmony, use of counterpoints etc and his understanding and knowledge of different instruments became more thorough. This knowledge of composing music for dance dramas and ballets made Salil an expert in composing background music for films and documentaries. In this book he also talks about his role in composing music for Sachin Shankar Ballet Unit.
To find out more about Salil's relationship with Sachin Shankar I decided to find out more about his work with Sachin Shankar Ballet Unit and that brought me to Kumudini Shankar, Sachin Shankar's wife. Sachin Shankar died on May 10, 2005 but Kumudini with her son Shashank still run Sachin Shankar Ballet Unit.
So, who was Sachin Shankar ? Ravi Shankar, Uday Shankar, Devendra Shankar and Rajendra Shankar were four brothers. Their father and Sachin Shankar's father were brothers. So, Sachin Shankar was Ravi Shankar and Uday Shankar's cousin. Obviously he was very much influenced by his exceptionaly talented cousins. Sachin Shankar became the president of the communist party of India (Western Provinces) sometimes in the mid '40s, just after IPTA was formed (1943). IPTA became an important platform for people all over India to promote and perform the rich heritage of Indian folk music and dance. Sachin Shankar had met Salil at IPTA meetings and a few years later, in 1953 Sachin Shankar had formed his own Ballet Unit in Mumbai to propagate an unique dance form created by the great choreographer Shri Uday Shankar and with the blessings from people like Shri Chinmoyananda, Mulk Raj Ananad, Harindranath Chattopadhyay, V. Shantaram, Pandit Narendra Sharma, Pandit Ravi Shankar and Salil Chowdhury. In the following years Sachin Shankar's Ballet Unit created a number of unique Dance Ballets and toured around India. Music for these ballets were composed quite often by Pandit Ravi Shankar. In the picture to your left you can see Uday Shankar, Sachin Shankar and Kumudini (front right) with the other performers.The first ballet was "Fishermen and Mermaid" for which the music was composed by Hemant Kumar. Salil's involvement with the Ballet Unit started quite late in 1971 with "Boatmen of East Bengal" . Below is a list of all the ballets for which Salil composed the music :
The music of all these ballets is preserved at the Sangeet Natak Academy. Please remember that all the music samples given here belong to Sachin Shankar Ballet Unit and not for distribution or any commercial use. As you must have gathered, I am not authorised to publish the full music on this website. So enjoy whatever I ccould get.
Introduction to the Ballets © duration 1 min 16 sec
This short introduction was always presented before an evenings Ballet perfoemance. It starts with a minute of beautiful music immediately recognisable as Salil followed by the commentary. Listen to the introduction
1. The Train (1971) © durartion 41 min 46 sec
This was the first ballet for Salil. The simple story about a long train journey. Sachin Shankar introduces this ballet - " Tale of a train journey...This is a moving train bearing innummerable passengers who now get in and now get off each at their pre-destined station.The ticket collector, the ticketless traveller, a mad woman, a female street singer, a white-capped leader followed by his admirers, fashionable girls are all the characters who enlive and make the journey both colourful and unique. Young moderns from Goa start playing on their guitar singing and dancing merrily while the train goes on and on. The train stops for the last time. The newly wedded copule, the bride and the bridegroom whispering to each other to sweeten the journey. Its so simple to be happy they seem to say but it is so difficult to be simple." Its like the story of our life. The music is wonderful. There's a delightful little folk song of Bihar "tohar mukadmaa laagat bhagalpur" (Sabita and Pankaj Mitra) followed by a young womans singing "O sajnaa barkhaa bahaar aayi" (Sabita). Salil also uses the well-known Konkan folk song "chio chio chi" (Manna Dey and Chorus) which he had used in the film "Musafir" ("munnaa baDaa pyaaraa"). Finally Salil uses the well-known IPTA song "maanbo naa bandhane" (Sabita and Manna Dey). Poet Harindranath Chattyopadhyay wrote some very catchy and rhythmic poetry which he recites as the train races past stations. Must be the first hindi rap !Listen to excerpts from train : harindranath_rap1, undir_mama, harindranath_rap2
2. Boatmen of East Bengal (1971) © duration 8 min 20 sec As the name signifies this ballet was about the life of the Boatmen of East Bengal (now Bangladesh). One of Salil's rarely heard compositions "dayaani koribaa allah re" was beautifulli sung by Pankaj Mitra. Actually Salil's longtime friend and the well-known folk snger Nirmalendu Chowdhury used to sing this song quite often in BYC (Bombay Youth Choir) and at IPTA meets and originally Salil used this song in a Hindi Film "Laalbatti(1957) in which Nirmalendu sang this song in Hindi ("kyaa se kyaa ho gayaa allah re"). Incidently, Pankaj Mitra was a well-known and longtime member of IPTA by then. Salil got Pankaj Mitra to record two very well-known Bengali songs in 1978. Listen to part of "dayaani koribaa allaah re"
3. Naa (1972) © duration 45 min
Naa is an unique and dramatic 45 minute ballet which tells the story about a young man who is sentenced to death by hanging for some crime he had commited. While he is standing on the platform with the noose around his neck he is given just three minutes to make his last wish. In stead, he dreams that he has taken the noose off his neck and he is running free. The music is vintage Salil and is extraordinary. On one hand, the music creates the suspense and the excitement of his desparate run to freedom and on the other hand it captures the surrounding atmoshphere with amazing variety. Salil's use of various rhythm instruments and a rich blend of melodies creates the rapidly changing scenario.One can feel that the yound man is running for his life. At one point the young man enters a church. Here he finds some quiet and peace while the chuch choir is singing a beautiful hymn "lord O my saviour, sanctify my prayer". According to Kumudini, Salil gathered some choir singers from a church in Bandra (Mumbai) and arranged the voices to sing in beautiful harmony. The scenario changes again and after a while we can hear "dhitang dhitang bole" in Bengali. This version is quite different to the well-known recorded version of this song.The music changes again and suddendly we can hear a beautiful classical song "vilo paale madhumilanape ya" composed by Dinanth Mangeshkar and sung by Prabhudeb Sardar, a Saraswat of Kolhapur gharana. Just before the end the hymn returns briefly to signify the end. Listen to some sound excerpts from Naa - naa_01, naa_02, lord o my savior, dhitang dhitang bole
4. Ghost (1973) © duration 34 min 11 sec
Based on a famous short-story by Oscar Wilde, Ghost is the story about a haunted house and all the inhabitants of that house. The resident ghost frightens everyone who comes to live in that house and they promptly leave until one day a child arrives with his parents and that child refuses to get frightened by the ghost. He tells the ghost that he is not at all frightened by his antics and he should stop frightening people for no reason. In fact he becomes the ghost's friend. The child asks him why he insists on frightening innocent people. The ghost replies that all he wants is to be free from his tortured state and he is afraid that he is doomed to remain a ghost for ever. He is afraid of waiting for ever. In a broader context Ghost is about all of us - the humanity. We are all waiting for something. Our waiting is endless and we never seem to be able to reach a state where there is no waiting. We are all like the ghost. Besides some remarkable music for this ballet Salil has used some wonderful songs. He made use of (not composed) two beautiful classical songs performed by Gulam Mustafa Khan - "aayi barkhaa rut" and "jogiyaa mere ghar aa". Pankaj Mitra and Sabita sing "sunoyoni sunoyoni" (previously recorded in 1967 by Nirmalendu Chowdhury) and there are two wonderful folk songs "kai borelo kumblo monzo" (konkan) and "he paaoli deomaajhaa malhaari". Listen to he paaoli, kai borelo
5. Cricket (1973) © duration 12 min
This is a short ballet of 12 minutes covering a full cricket match with all the excitement and suspense. One can only appreciate and enjoy the music when one sees the ballet. This ballet was specially made for Filmfare magazine. Listen to excerpts from Cricket: cricket_01, cricket_02
6. Palki (1975) © duration 12 min 08 sec
"Palki" (Pallequin) is the story about a bride leaving her parental home and travelling to her husbands home. The journey of the Palki with the bride is beautifully presented in the ballet. Hemant Kumar sings the song "Palki chale" in Hindi. The lyrics are written by Yogesh. The original "Palki Chale" (1952) was also sung by Hemant Kumar and it still remains one of the most well-known Salil compositions.Listen to palki chale in hindi (not complete)
7. Waiting (1975) © duration 37 min
This is a short ballet based on Salil's poem "Ak guchchha Chaabi" ("A bunch of keys"). This poem is about a bunch of keys which the poet had found after his father passed away. He tries all the keys to open the doors but none of them fits the locks. His mother tells him that these are the keys which once opened the doors to the truth and trust. They don't anymore. She tells him that his father tried and his grandfather tried to open these doors but it didn't work. However, she insists that he shouldn't give up and throw these keys away. He should pass these keys to his children and the grandchildren. She is certain that one day those doors of truth and trust can be opened by these keys.This ballet is about all of us waiting for something good to happen. We have lost the goodness in us and we are all hoping that one day our honesty and our mutual trust will return and we will again be happy. The music is really wonderful. Classic Salil infact. Salil uses the hindi version of his famous Bengali Mass Song "Pathe ebaar naamo saathi". The hindi version "Tumhe watan pukaartaa" was written by Yogesh. This hindi version was later ('80s) performed in Delhi Doordarshan. Listen to a few sound fragments here : waiting_01, waiting_02, waiting_03.
8. Everybody (1986) © duration 29 min 50 sec
This was the last ballet for which Salil composed the music and I don't really have much details about its theme. The music is nothing special. Its much modern and easily recognisable as Salil composition.
Listen to excerpts from Everybody: everybody_intro, everybody_01

song describes the Marriage of Shiva with Parvati ... Shivji walks as the Bridegroom to marry Parvatiji = the daughter of Mt Himalaya !This song has brought back such old memories but with a powerful force that I had to give it a place here , todaySree UDAY SHANKAR ji has brought Glory to Dancing & to India & to himselfHis younger brother Sree Sachin Shankar ji was married to Kumudini aunty & they often came to meet PapaPapa had even written a Dance ~ ballet for Sachin Shankar Troupe : The name was : "Machera aur Jal Paree " = The Fisherman & the Mermaidwhen Sachin Uncle used to visit i had danced for him on this particuler song ...I had bent my legs from my knees & had walked like that & he had laughed & praised my efforts with his lilting laughter which always emerged in " waves ' ...ha ha ...ha ' ObiTribute Sachin Shankar: 1924-2005 The original grand-master - Ashish Mohan Khokar, Bangalore e-mail: khokar@vsnlnet Photos: Sashank Shankar July 30, 2005 The card simply said Sachin Shankar, choreographer, dada, friend,

सचिन da, kaka, सचिन devji, mama, dadu, kaku, teacher, guruji, peasant, swan, lord rama, shivaji, lord shiva, Gandhi…and the show goes on. It was not easy to make out if it was yet another production by the indefatigable Sachin Shankar who had created many productions in the last five decades or something else. It was only when I saw the fine print "Sachin Shankar 1924-2005," that I was shocked to numbness to realize one of my childhood hero was gone. Sachin da was no more. Upon calling his home in Mumbai, I was not greeted by a wailing family but an artistic one who sympathized with my sense of loss! Kumudini ji his partner in art and life, recalled my visit three years ago to make a documentation on him and fondly recalled his love for our family and without crying or seeking attention regaled how his end moments were: full of life, just as he lived. He was different. A trail-blazer who cared two-hoots for the system or establishment, Sachin Shankar was the most dynamic student of Uday Shankar. He was also his cousin! A long innings in the field of what was earlier called "ballet" and then re-termed "free-dance" Sachin provided the seeds for "contemporary dance" much before the Chandralekhas and Kumudinis arrived on stage. Sachin did not use classical dance styles but had developed his own vocabulary and movements akin to the "style" taught by Dada, who was so great that he did not want any credit for having created a style! Today's talents who tom-tom their little wares with much delight ought to learn from the example of these greats. In the death of Sachin Shankar on 10 May 2005, at Mumbai, due to a heart-attack, India has lost its last link with authentic Uday Shankar style of dance-art. He was eighty plus. Sachin Shankar was one of the first batch of students at Dada Uday Shankar's Almora studio when the institution was set up in the foothills of the Himalayas. He was the brightest of the batch which comprised such able men and women like Guru Dutt (the film-maker); Kameshwar (who married his teacher Zohra Segal); Mohan Saigal (the singer); Sardar Malik Mohamad (poet) and Narendra Sharma, the choreographer. The Almora school closed within years of its opening for various reasons, including of course the temperamental nature of its founder, Uday Shankar. Students had to leave and search for their own paths and this brought Sachin to Bombay after a brief flirtation with Calcutta. The city (of Mumbai) was new and happening; lots of people were making it home. It was the base for IPTA (Indian People's Theatre Association) movement and several leading lights of the theatre world were joining films. The film industry was itself in nascent stage. India was not yet independent! In such a scenario Sachin arrived in Mumbai with only dreams in his eyes and determination in his stout body and zealous mind. Born in Varanasi to Jitendra and Kaliदेव बर्मन i Shankar, Sachin was brought up in an educated environment. His stint at Almora gave him a world-view because quite literally, the world came to Almora. From Almora he went to Calcutta but failing to establish himself there, brought him to the most happening city in India then, Mumbai. IPTA was an all-powerful medium of artistic expression and it was Sachin's association with IPTA that brought him to create works like Gandhi-Jinnah; Discovery of India (immortalized by another giant Shanti Bardhan) and The Kissan Struggle. During his three years with IPTA, he met Kumudini, a theatre actress performing in plays of Prithvi Theatre. She essayed historic roles in Ahuti and Paisa. She had also acted in films by Bimal Roy, like Maa, Parivar and Bandini. She was the heroine in Bandish but in real life she became Sachin's heroine in 1952 when they married. "In all the years I was married to him, I was also married to his art" her eyes moist when I drop in on her for offering condolences recently (July 22nd). She is at home remembering him and his work and energy. On the diwan her grandson, the handsome son of Sashank sits and takes notes for his sculpture class but listens intently as his grandmother tells many a tale. She tells of early Bombay days and how Sachinda helped create the Dancer's Guild of India. Sachin Shankar along with Shanti Bardhan, Ravi Shankar and Narendra Sharma quit IPTA due to ideological differences and formed a troupe of their own. Ravi was Uday Shankar's brother, hence also related to Sachin. Soon afterwards, Sachin and Narendra Sharma formed "New Stage" with the assistance of Martin Russel and George Keyt and staged the Ramayana. Kumudini played Sita and Sachin, Ram. Those days such mythological themes were very popular, recovering as India was from foreign rule. Many years later, the same Ramayana became base for Narendra Sharma's work with Bharatiya Kala Kendra in Delhi. Sachin was a lover of literature and strong personalities and both Hitler and Bal Thackeray inspired him! He took to realism on stage because there was so much make-believe happening on stage. Thus, Sachin's work did not have any intellectual pretense some of his associates and contemporaries like Narendra Sharma suffered from. Sachin created human and humane themes, easily accessible and understood. In 1953, Sachin launched his own ballet unit, supported by stalwart movie moghul Prithviraj Kapoor and well-known Marathi writer P V Atre. Sachin created popular ballets, over 40 in the last fifty years, some as vibrant as Cricket, Naa, Train, Kite Flying and some as deep as Shiva-Parvati, Rama, Chhatrapati Shivaji. Top musicians of the times, Vishnudas Shirali, Salil Chowdhury and Vijay Raghav Rao among others created scores for his ballets and Sachin was a much loved choreographer, dancer and leader. More works followed: Ghost, Volga to Ganga, Peasants Dream, Young India…. Sachinda had lasting relationships with many in the field and was not easily swayed. His lights men, his stagehands and his staff hero-worshipped him. His wife, Kumudini was a rock-like edifice in his life and he confessed without her, he would not have been able to do much in his artistic or personal life. Their son Sashank trained under Hrishikesh Mukherjee, no less and Sachinda had a kind word for all. When this author documented him three years ago (under a grant from the Ford Foundation), he found Sachinda in a very expansive mood and with dreams still in his eyes. He inspired those who came in contact with him and the warmth of his heart was genuine and sincere. He gave this author priceless photos and posters for the prestigious Mohan Khokar Dance Collection. That dancers and choreographers trust the family and repose confidence shows true standing that no one and nothing can take away. This evergreen talent of India never won any official national level recognition except from Maharashtra. Delhi disdained over his razz-m-tazz and jazzy dance dismissing it as filmy, if not flimsy! In Delhi, positioning and image being more important than real work or worth, Sachin never won any award from sarkar except from the Akademi belatedly in 1992 when he was well past his prime. In Bombay, he ruled the roost and till his end - the third heart attack - he was scripting, creating and performing Gandhi, his last production. He died standing on his feet, on way to rehearsals. His partner of many decades Kumudini does not shed crocodile tears but continues to love him and love his mission. Sachin Shankar lives on. As I take leave, his grandson gives me a number to call (Alan Nazareth, the former DG of ICCR) in Bangalore. Yes, they are bringing Sachinda’s last work - Gandhi – to Bangalore at Chowdaiah Hall on 2nd October 2005. As Sachin felt and always said "The show must go on" and it does! Sachin da will remain etched in our dance memory for long. He has earned that place of honour and respect. Critic, historian, editor and publisher of dance books, Ashish Mohan Khokar serves dance selflessly and has written over 30 books till date on Indian arts and spirituality. He is a columnist and contributor to many leading publications (India Today; Firstcity; Deccan Herald; The Week) and also dance critic of India's largest circulated English newspaper, The Times of India. He is the editor of attendance, India’s yearbook on dance and publishes dance bios and books. His name finds over 1000 entries under a cursory Google search, a first for any dance critic of India, establishing his work and outrea h, nationally and internationally


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