The term, ‘jugalbandi’, cannot be used while describing a programme featuring vocal recitals and the tabla. The tabla is essentially an accompanying instrument. But the organizers committed this very mistake while bringing together the two eminent artists, tabla maestro Ustad Zakir Hussain and classical vocalist Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty, on the same stage in the Science City auditorium.
The term, dhrupadi jugalbandi, written on the hoardings and on the advertisements that dotted the city was a pain to the eyes. But the public response to the event provided a positive picture.
After 23 years, these two famous artists performed on the same stage together. Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty started his performance with Raga Shyamkalyan. However, this was the only raga he presented during the evening. There is nothing new to say about Chakraborty’s singing style. A sincere follower of the Patiala gharana, he was able to create the perfect ambience for this raga. After the vilambit in ektaal, he presented Kheyal Madhyalay in jhanptaal. The vistaar in the lower octave was interesting. But it would have been better if the participation of his students was curtailed during his performance.
Chakraborty continued that particular raga for a long time with numerous bandishes written by himself or by his gurus. The rendition was stretched a bit too far. Consequently, there was hardly any time left for the presentation of other ragas. Chakraborty’s voice also got mechanical as the performance progressed. He concluded with a thumri.
It is difficult to describe Ustad Zakir Hussain’s performance. His exclusive touches were definitely missed by the audience. After the vocal recital, he got a chance to play a tabla lahara for a very short period of time. The performance demonstrated the fact that the people had made a blunder by putting their trust in the misleading hoardings and advertisements. Their expectations remained unfulfilled even after the conclusion of the evening’s performance.