Indian classical music has given our country a unique identity in the world’s cultural sphere. In order to spread its charisma and to educate the masses and young folk about this rich heritage, a lot of classical music concerts are being held. The recent one took place yesterday, 14th May, at the Shankmukhananda Hall in Sion, Mumbai featured the greatest classical artists our country has ever seen. Conceptualized by Suresh Wadkar’s Ajivasan Music Academy, the concert celebrated the centenary of Ajivasan’s founder Guruji Acharya Jialal Vasant.

The grand four and a half hour event began with an introductory speech about the history of Ajivasan and the highlights from the life of Guruji followed by the lighting of the lamp by Suresh Wadkar and Guruji’s daughter Prem Vasant. Soon, audiences were treated to a galore of spectacular classical music performances by the students of Ajivasan and the principal artists of the evening namely Rahul Sharma who replaced his father Pandit ShivKumar Sharma for the evening, Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, Smt. Girija Devi and Smt. Hema Malini.
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I was already mesmerized by the awe-inspiring performances by the young students whose alaap and taans just set the tone right for the evening. Personally, I considered it to be an honor to watch the masters of classical music perform live on stage. When Rahul Sharma played his 100 stringed Kashmiri santoor beginning with Raag Bhopali, the audience kept applauding at the end of every raga that he played. This was followed by the felicitation of and speech by Maharashtra’s Education Minister Vinod Tawde. The event also unveiled the statue of Acharyaji by celebrated sculptor Bhagwan Rampure, who has the grand one-tonne bronze bull outside the Bombay Stock Exchange to his credit.

Then came in Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan awardee Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, the world renowned flutist whose outstanding performance made every classical music enthusiast jubilant. The extraordinary man enthralled the audiences with the bansuri. The next in line was the thumri exponent belonging to the Seniya and Banaras gharanas, Padma Vibhushan Girija Devi. With a pinch of humor in her talks and evergreen intensity in her singing, Girjia Devi’s rendition of Manna Dey’s classic Jhanak Jhanak Tori Baje Payaliya changed the hall’s maahol completely.

The concert beautifully ended with the graceful Bharatanatyam performance by none other than Bollywood's dream girl Hema Malini. With a presence of talented singers like Sonu Nigam and Hariharan among the audiences, the event was a perfect treat for aficionados of pure music.

It was truly an evening that I will cherish forever. If given a chance, don’t forget to miss such musical extravaganzas. Check out the BookMyShow site for similar musical concerts for the coming weekends.

Photo Courtesy: Suresh Wadkar's Ajivasan Music Academy`s Facebook Page