The show “Tridhara,” at Shanmukhananda hall on the 5th of February celebrated Jagjit Singh’s 70th birthday with the magic of Indian classical music. It brought together three forms- vocals by Jagjit Singh, the tabla by the adored Zakir Hussain and the flute or basuri by the eminent flautist Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, in the most delightful and entertaining way. The organizer of the show was Perfect Harmony Productions and the main sponsor was Gitanjali Lifestyle. From the time the show commenced till the very end, the audience remained glued to its seat and hummed along throughout. For me, being a part of that audience, on that evening, felt like a gift from god.
6:30 pm was the time for it all to start, but the three geniuses of music appeared together only an hour and a half after that. But the wait was worth the experience. Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia inaugurated the show with raag lathangi, which he performed along with his nephew Rakesh Chaurasia and two others, who are a part of his group. From the moment he started I felt myself being intoxicated by the power of beautiful, melodious music. The flute has a peculiar quality that gives you a sense of divinity. To see the fingers of Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia move over the flute is like watching a magic show. The experience and expertise flows out with each note played. As I had never before watched the flute being played live, my happiness seemed like that of a child tasting chocolate for the first time.
To add to the on-going magic, the clearly adorable Zakir Hussain joined Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia in his music, with his tabla. Known for his surprising jokes and entertaining comments, Zakir Hussain managed to entice the audience, giving them exactly what they expected. During the duo’s performance, there came a part which to me seemed like a battle of the two instruments- the basuri and the tabla. Each time a note was played by the flute, the tabla translated it. The tabla managed to translate every complex note played by the flute into its language. The audience was most amused and entertained by this part.
The climax of the show was the entry of the birthday boy- Jagjit Singh. The organisers prepared an audio-visual for him that was screened in the hall. He began with a prayer and then went on to sing a few of his greatest hits. The audience enjoyed every line of his beautifully sung ghazals and hummed and tapped their feet along.
In the end, for the first time in the history of the auditorium, a cake was brought and a candle was lit on it. To do this the hall staff had to turn off the smoke detectors. His birthday was celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm and affection.
The event was certainly a grand one and it created in me a new-found love and respect for Indian classical music that takes music to a level that I have never seen or experienced before.