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TNN: Chandavarkar was an innovative and imaginative composer

Posted by ElJay Arem (IMC OnAir) on July 27, 2009

Chandavarkar was an innovative and imaginative composer

Chitra Nair, TNN 27 July 2009, 03:48am IST

Bhaskar Chandavarkar-Profile-072009-1PUNE: An acclaimed music composer, eminent sitarist, well known theatre personality and a learned academician, Bhaskar Chandavarkar breathed his last in Pune on Sunday morning at the age of 73. He was suffering from cancer. Leaving behind a vast body of work, that most say, is unparalleled, Chandavarkar has rendered music to a number of films across languages including Marathi, Hindi, Kannada and Malayalam, only to name a few.

Some of these films include Amol Palekar’s Aakrit’ and Thoda Sa Rumani Ho Jaayen,’ Girish Karnad‘s Ondanondu Kaladalli’ (Once Upon A Time), Jabbar Patel’s Samna’, Mrinal Sen‘s Khandhar’ and Chitra Palekar’s Maati Maay.’ A disciple of sitar maestro Pt Ravi Shankar, from whom he learned the instrument, Chandavarkar was also part of the faculty at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) for a number of years.

Recalling his association with Chandavarkar which began with his directorial debut, Aakrit,’ actor-director Amol Palekar said Chandavarkar was one of those few musicians who could effortlessly guide from prose to poetry in music. “Our association was beautiful and his music, outstanding. We have worked together for a number of films after Aakrit,’ including Kairi.’ However, my fondest memories with him are when we worked together for the show Nakshtranche Dene’ paying homage to poet Aarti Prabhu which was entirely conceived, designed and produced by him,” says Palekar. It was for this event that all theatre actors and singers came together, the funds generated from which were given to the poet’s family.”

For director Jabbar Patel, Chandavarkar passing is a personal loss. “He was not only a great composer but an extremely knowledgeable person who contributed much to music through the time he spent teaching at the FTII. I met him in Pune and I knew he would be the right person for Ghashiram Kotwal‘,” he recalls.

The Vijay Tendulkar play eventually went on to make a mark all over the world, and Patel says Chandavarkar’s music was an inseparable part of the production. “His work in the play was imaginative and the music was a breakaway from the traditional Marathi theatre. Later, when I was offered my first film, Samna’, I could only think of him,” Patel recalls.

Chandavarkar was equally a big inspiration to the younger breed of filmmakers and it’s little wonder that director Kranti Kanade approached Chandavarkar with what he now calls shaking knees.’ “I wanted him to compose the music for my short film Chaitra’. I remember requesting him to watch the rough cuts and then give me his answer. Despite being busy, he agreed and it was one of the happiest days in my life when he replied in the positive,” says Kanade.

Chaitra’ went on to win the national award for best music direction in the non-feature category for Chandavarkar in 2002. “What was even more remarkable was that when I approached him I had no money. So, he not only composed for the film but also paid for all the expenses incurred during the production,” Kanade says.

Playwright Satish Alekar too has fond memories of Chandavarkar. “He was an authority on traditional music, but had a modern outlook. This was perhaps because he had witnessed Pt Ravi Shankar’s tour with The Beatles abroad. He was innovative and was known to help everyone.”

Film officer at the FTII, Chandrashekhar Joshi, recalls the time when Chandavarkar taught him music and cinema during a film appreciation course. “Folk music was his love and as we can see it, he used them aptly in different films. He was also very appreciative of folk musicians and the sacrifices they made to keep the art alive.”

Palekar, however, rues that he could not meet Chandavarkar before he died. “It was his wish that no one go to meet him and respecting that and his seniority, I did not go. But I do wish I could have met him one last time.”

(Source: 07/2009 – The Times of India)

Kunachya Khandyavar Kunache – Samna (1975)

Lyrics – Aarti Prabhu
Music – Bhaskar Chandavarkar
Singer – Ravindra Sathe
Actor – Shreeram Lagu, Nilu Phule

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