Music on the mind

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By TT Bureau
  • Published 3.09.05

This is a biography with a difference. It is a musical one tracing the lifetime achievements of sarod player Ustad Amjad Ali Khan. Biography, the four CD premium pack, was released by Jaipal Reddy, minister for Information and Broadcasting, recently at the Hotel Taj Man Singh. The event was marked by the presence of Amjad Ali himself and his wife Subhalakshmi and former cricketer Kapil Dev.

Released by Saregama, the album has ragas from the late ?60s to the ?90s. Disk 1 in the album is Roots. The first track in this compilation has music by Amjad Ali?s guru and father, Ustad Haafiz Ali Khan. A few rare recordings include Chandra-Bhankar and Khan?s first live performance, Raag Desh. Disk 2 has ragas Bihag and Bageshwari followed by the rare Nand Kauns. It is concluded with an attractive Dhun.

There is a raga composed by the maestro in memory of Indira Gandhi?s untimely death called the Priyadarshini Raag. ?It touched me very deeply,? said Khan who also decided to make a Taj Mahal in melody for his wife. This was named the raag Subhalakshmi and is to be found in Disk 3 itself that is called the Maestro?s Choice. The final disk, Footprints, represents Khan?s foray into new ground whether by combining with other musicians, art forms or restructuring popular tunes.

At Rs 900, this is a must buy for any classical music lover. And as Reddy said, ?It?s not as if classical music doesn?t have its patrons. When I went to launch M S Subbalakshmi?s album in Chennai, 6,000 copies were gone in the twinkling of an eye. What should be preserved is not originality but virtuosity. And the ministry is all agog to promote classical music.?

Going places

Designer Ashish Soni is getting ready for his big trip to the New York Fashion Week and he celebrated by throwing a big party for Delhi?s Page 3 crowd at the Maurya Sheraton.

Soni said he was overwhelmed when he received a call for the event and he wanted to put together an entirely new collection for it. But Fern Mallis, vice president, IMG, told him that it would be best to retain the Lakm? Fashion Week line. So Soni?s changed a bit here and a bit there and chose 40 outfits for the occasion. IMG is one of the key backers of the New York Fashion Week.

The bash, of course, was overflowing with Page 3 people like designers Ranna Gill and Ritu Kumar, socialites Devi Cherian, Shalini Passi and Timsy Anand and foodie Marut Sikka. But there was plenty of serious discussion on Indian fashion going abroad. Officials from the Union Ministry of Culture, Amitabh Kant and Rajiv Talwar, talked about taking India global with the Government?s Incredible India campaign. ?Ashish is the cultural ambassador for brand India,? said Talwar. Ravi Krishnan, managing director, IMG/TWI South Asia, added, ?We are proud to be associated with this venture of Ashish. It is good news for the entire fashion circuit.?

The curtain raiser also saw the unveiling of a specially designed unisex yoga outfit, yoga towel and shoulder strap bag that will be given out to the media and celebrities at the Olympus Fashion Week to promote Incredible India.

Serial thrillers

Clearly television sagas don?t come with sell-by dates. After Balaji Telefilms tom-tommed the completion of Kyunki Saans Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi?s 1,000 episodes in April, it was the turn of UTV?s television content division recently. Two of its hit serials achieved landmarks: Bhabhi, an afternoon soap slotted on Star Plus?s ?housewife? band, completed 750 episodes, while Meher, which airs on prime time on Doordarshan, completed 250. They are among the company?s longest running serials to date

Not surprisingly the entire cast of both serials came together to celebrate their success at Zenzi, a hotspot at Mumbai, recently. There was Dolly Sohi, who plays the title role in Bhabhi, along with her male lead Manish Gohil. The latter came with wife Poonam Narola, also a television artiste. Other actors from the serial like Raymon Singh, who came with her husband, were also present.

Among Meher?s cast, there was protagonist Shilpa Shinde with Mohit Raina and Punit Sachdev, who have recently been introduced as the new generation characters in the serial.

From UTV, there was Monisha Singh, the vice-president, television content. Singh has just moved back after a three-year stint at Balaji Telefilms. The creative directors and the technical teams of both serials joined in the fun as did the folks from Star TV.

The party drew a host of television stars like Swetta Keswani. After the usual cake-cutting session, it was not left to the DJ to draw the stars on the floor ? rather, traditional dholak players set the beat for the party, which went on till the wee hours of the night.

Delhi photographs by Rupinder Sharma and Prem Singh