Sitar maestro Pt Ravi Shankar, who was unwell for quite long time, surprised Amitabh Bachchan by mentioning his wish to speak to him, the shahenshah of Bollywood recalls the moment and says that he was very astounded to receive Ravi Shankar’s call for the first time before the sitar maestro demise.
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Amitabh Bachchan has been closely associated with the Shankar’s family over the years.
”An entire life, an era, a most incredible period in the history of classical music in India has come to an end. Pandit Ravi Shankar’s sitar spoke when he played it, and from today it can only be heard through his countless recordings and performances. It shall never speak again – metaphorically,” wrote Big B on his blog.
”A strange feeling crawls within me. Just last week his wife Sukanya ji had sent a message to me on my mobile, while I transited from Marrakech, Morocco to Florence in Italy. It was the first time ever that I had received a message from her. She had requested a time when she could call back as Ravi Shankarji had wanted to talk to me,” He mentioned.
Amitabh Bachchan spoke to the legendary musician the next day after receiving the message. ”He was keeping unwell she had said and was to undergo a surgery on the Thursday. Due to the time difference I was unable to connect with her immediately and it was only the next day when I called back that she spoke most endearingly and put me on to the great maestro! I was speaking to Pt Ravi Shankar for the very first time ever on the phone,”
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”We knew each other, there were strong and long family relationships, a few casual meetings, but nothing more. Why was he wanting to speak to me now? I was puzzled. But he came on the line, spoke with great warmth, on seeing me on the television often, of my films and my fans in the house, informed me that he was going in for a surgery – ”Aap se baat kar ke bahut achcha lag raha hai … pata nahin aapse phir kab baat ho sake ..Thursday ko meri surgery hai … dekhiye kya hota hai !,” wrote Amitabh.
The 70 year old actor, who was grieving the demise of Pt Ravi Shankar said, ”I had wished him well and after the phone call was over, sat for long, wondering how what had transpired had actually happened. Our families know each other. My Father’s association with him his work and that of his elder brother the equally great and iconic Uday Shankar’s dance troupe was often the dining table conversation at home.”
Mr. Bachchan says, Ravi Shankar spoke to him with great warmth and also appreciated his work. He also reminisces the wonderful time he spent with the Sitar maestro’s company. He states, ”Today all that remained in the mind was those wonderful evenings spent in their company and art, and the lasting impressions it left behind.”
”But Pt Ravi Shankarji , a Bharat Ratna, the highest honor of the country, was always a most gentle and kind hearted individual. His efforts to bring the Indian Classical sitar on an international podium of appreciation, was a pioneered effort never attempted before. Right from the Beatles to that incidental player at restaurants in most European countries, the West was in awe of this man and his stature as a most accomplished creator. The Western audience was completely ignorant of his instrument, his music and indeed the music of India,” Amitabh Bachchan concludes.
The Sitar maestro passed away on Tuesday, 11 December 2012.