Vasant Desai was an outstanding composer in Chitrapat and Marathi drama. He had great knowledge of classical music, and used it to create some immortal compositions. It is one to create a classical composition, but another to invite some of the most respected performing artistes in Hindustani classical, be it gayaki or tantrakari, and earn their respect. Vasant Desai regularly partnered with these stalwarts to produce some great gems.
This post is a humble tribute to his collaborations with the greats of his time.
In this post, I am posting the images of the artistes in question, rather than the screencaps of the video.
Jala Vihara – Pandit Ram Marathe
This creation is from a Marathi movie Baap Majha Brahmachari released in 1961. Pandit Ram Marathe was one the most distinguished classical artistes in Marathi stage, in the ranks of Bal Gandharva, Vinayakrao Patwardhan , Master Krishnarao, Master Dinanath and other Maestros. Here Panditji has given a great account of Hamsadhwani-notice the intricate taans and the free flow of ideas. There are several delightful moments in the composition itself, which bring out the beauty of the raga.
Jugalbandi – Ustad Bismillah Khan and Ustad Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan
Two stalwarts of Hindustani music, Ustad Bismillah Khan on the shehnai and Ustad Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan collaborate to produce this gem in Chandni Kedar for the movie “Goonjh Uthi Shehnai“.
Abdul Halim saab was a part of some of the greatest musicals such as Anarkali, Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje , Goonj Uthi Shehnai, Kohinoor. He has collaborated with other renowned music directors as Naushad, Anil Biswas, C.Ramachandra and Madan Mohan. For example, the sitar taans in “Madhuban Mein Radhika” are unmistakably his.
Vandana Karo – Pandit Jasraj
“Ladki Sahyadri Ki” was directed by Shantaram and the movie is scarcely heard of. There were some lovely songs in the movie and this rendition of Ahir Bhairav by Panditji is superb. A rather young Pandit Jasraj, the voice is extremely sweet, and the Mewati gharana shines all through the rendition. Pandit Jasraj was Shantaram’s son-in-law by 1966.
Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje – Ustad Amir Khan
A great rendering by a great musician. This song from “Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje” has already been featured in my blog on various themes, and I am certain this will not be the last time.
A quintessential Adana, this song was initially composed in Darbari by Vasant Desai, and it was rejected by Shantaram! Desai then added spark to the composition by changing the notes to the effervescent Adana, and it was instantly approved. This shows the great musical sense of Shantaram too. Amir Khan Saheb, of course, made this an immortal.
Bandish in Yaman – Ustad Salamat Ali Khan
A soulful rendering in Yaman from an unreleased movie “Amar Samadhi” , a highly subdued Ustadji, but there are glimpses of greatness. The compositions captures some magical pakads of Yaman.Hats off to Vasant Desai.
Incidentally, Lata has chosen this song in her album “Aapki Sewa Mein Main Aur Mere Saathi”. The link is here.