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Bhowmick’s recital, a revelation

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The Economic Times, September 25, 1988

 Sheer curiosity led this writer to an evening concert at Warden Road last week. It was organized by the Friends’ Circle set up by an enthusiastic, art-loving team of youngsters working the Chartered Bank.

The artiste featured for a full-dress performance was Sudhindra Bhowmick, an IIT-trained engineer who forsook a promising career in a specialized field in favour of classical music, but with a single-minded determination to forge ahead as a performing vocalist. He is presently a member of the senior teaching staff of the Bhavan’s College of Music and Dance in Bombay.

The clear comprehension of the very opening flourishes of the raga Shree, with which Bhowmick started his recital, was enough to mark him out as a perceptive executants with a keen insight into the aesthetics of pure classicism. This is not surprising, for he has had the benefit of thorough grooming from scholar-musicians of the caliber of veterans like S.C.R. Bhat, K.G. Ginde and Dinkar Kaikini.

To this grooming he has lent his inherent talent and imagination. Above all, it is the intensity of this feeling which informed his four-item fare that deservedly brought him applause from his listeners.

Portraying a melody like Shree is not everyone’s cup of tea. That is possibly why most of the present-day performers are seen to shy away from its presentation. Shree, with its profound errie mood, is in fact, the most celebrated, melody from the Purvi group and it calls for a deep sense of introspection to be able to explore its character.

In content and structure, it is an alappradhan raga and the artiste’s musicianship is put to test in the mandra and madhya stages of its depiction. Apart from the extremely skilful use of komal rishabh which, indeed, gives the raga its individuality, the performer has also to steer clear of allied ragas like Puriya Dhanashree while rendering Shree.

Merely to say that Bhowmick stood the test is to leave much unsaid. He came out of it with flying colours, shaping the raga into an imposing majestic structure revealing his keen sense of style and a keener sense of what is subtle, beautiful and emotional. It had all the musical and rhythmical virtues that are associated with a truly involved performance. To this writer, it came as a revelation.

The second piece was a light classical composition based on the raga Des, set to dadra. Here he could achieve a subtle balance between the lyrical content and the musical form, with due regard for the value of words. The same devoutness of temper and depth of feeling was reflected in the Kabir bhajan, heard next. Set to the bitter-sweet strains of the raga Jogia, it conveyed the soulful entreaties of the saint to his Lord in a moving way.

The final Bhairavi number, also a devotional, also came as an impassioned expression of a deeply distraught soul.

Bhowmick had an ideal instrumental ensemble to provide him sangat. While Indudhar Nirody, a senior alumnus of the Bhavan’s College, lent mature vocal support, it was the veteran Tulsidas Borkar’s harmonium and the young Yogesh Samsi’s tabla that brought added colour and sparkle to Bhowmick’s recital.

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