Devaki Pandit could not perform yesterday because of a sore throat. Instead of her, her gurubandhu* Mohan Darekar took to the stage. He started off with Raag Gavati. I left when he started. I sorely missed Malinitai Rajurkar's performance alongwith her unusual taranas :(
The day before, i.e 11th was the day of Ajoy Chakravarty! The first three performances of the day were average. Pt. Shivkumar Sharma then beautifully draped Durga in his scintillating santoor. It is indeed amazing and, at times unbelievable that, an instrument as simple as a santoor can be so enthralling! Yogesh Samsi was at the tabla and did a fabulous job as usual. The only thing that marred the performance was sound system problems, a rather rare occurrence at Sawai.
And then came the unbeatable Pt. Ajoy Chakravarty! In my opinion, he was miles ahead of everyone who performed that day. His experience and tayyari* shone magnificently from the asthayi* to his ati-drut* taranas. For the first time in life, i heard a khayal in Raag Khamaj. Conventionally, Khamaj is employed when singing light classical such as thumri or in Dhrupad gayaki. Ajoyji with his honey like smooth voice, moved freely around in all the three octaves. He presented some amazing taans starting low in the kharaj and ending somewhere up in the taar saptak* (reminded me of Pt. Jasraj). The best part of the performance was a whole sentence he sang in kharaj. That was the deepest kharaj i've ever heard!! And, to maitain it for that long is more than remarkable. As with all good things, his performance seemed to end quickly :( But, on public request he sang a Bhairavi. Never have i heard such an energetic Bhairavi! It has permanently altered the impression of that raag in my mind. Amongst Pune Police's warnings of 'time over' he ended the Bhairavi with a sacred Sanskrit shloka. Such awe-inspiring was the performance that, people were loathe to get up and go home for the night...