Posts Tagged ‘Pandit Ravi Shankar’

The Ravi Shankar tune India once woke up to

12 December 2012

It seems so long ago that television stations began their day at a particular hour in the morning and ended it at a particular hour in the evening allowing us to go to sleep peacefully.

Back in the days before satellite TV, Doordarshan began its proceedings at 6 am with this signature tune, a variation of  Iqbal‘s Saare jahaan se achcha, composed by Pandit Ravi Shankar with Ustad Ali Ahmed Hussain Khan.

Rest in peace.

Also read: How a TV station was launched with Rs 4 lakh

At 8th Cross, Vontikoppal, a 24-day extravaganza

6 September 2011

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes:  Life in Mysore is mostly on the quieter side but come September, the City wakes up from an extended siesta, as it were, and slips into a period of intense cultural activitiy that borders on the frenzy for a couple of months.

There is, of course, the grand Dasara festival where there is a State-sponsored programme in every nook and corner of the City. Depending on your age, either you could quietly sit in the main Amba Palace and listen to nonagenarian R.K. Srikantan, who is still in fine fettle to give a 3-hour Carnatic classical receital, or dance to the popular hits in Kannada or Hindi by Sonu Nigam at the Yuva Dasara in Maharaja College Grounds.

But the musical extravaganza that really gives a headstart to the cutural calendar is a private one.

The Sri Prasanna Vidya Ganapathi Mahothsava Charitable (SPVGMC) Trust on 8th cross road in Vontikoppal, brings classical music to everyone’s doorstep during Ganesh Chathurthi.

Under the art patrons K.V. Murthy and R. Vasudeva Murthy and their tireless man for all seasons, secretary Himamshu, the 8th Cross Ganesha music festival is usually a no-nonsense ten-day feast, but this year, on the occasion of its golden jubilee, it has been extended to an amazing 24 days.

The who’s who in Carnatic music vie with one another to come to sing in the permanent pandal erected on the tiny stretch of the 8th cross between fifth main and sixth main roads.

Padma Vibhushan Umayalapuram Shivaraman, who has a law degree from Madras University, left his preparation for the IAS to take up law practice, and left that too to learn percussion instruments, is coming again this year. He has taken his mrudangam to concerts with Pandit Ravi Shankar, Hari Prasad Chaurasia and recorded for ECM in a new age jazz direction with L. Shankar.

So are veterans, Padmabhushans both, T.V. Shankarnarayana and T.N. Krishnan, who will rub shoulders with software techie kids like Saket Raman and Pattabhiram Pandit, and Soumya who holds a masters degree in chemistry.

Local violinists Mysore M. Nagaraj and Mysore M. Manjunath, who are now bracketed with international performers, somehow find time to be in Mysore to accompany the stalwarts as it happened when Pandit Rajeev Taranath came to perform here from the United States last year.


What is it here at 8th Cross that attracts performers and rasikas alike?

We discussed it at length last year, but it bears repetition: the absolutely informal ambience.

Life goes on in the narrow space on the two narrow footpaths, where chairs are put up for the swelling crowds. In this needle eye-hole, students walk back from their inevitable private tuition, dogs which come running in the middle of the road suddenly remember it is music time, walk back and use the needle space to amble along.

There is a flamingo tree in the middle of the foot path with roots spread all around. The tree is probably 60 years old and must have been a small plant when the SPVGMC Trust started.

Both have grown together and have not come in each other’s way. The organizers have not, thankfully, made any effort to remove the full blown tree and this is the crux of the matter. Co-existence is a better alternative for people who hanker for development at any cost.

This year the renowned neurosurgeon Dr V. Bhaskar gave a fantastic Hindustani classical recital.

This year is also the centenary anniversary of the Carnatic music singer who sang English notes. Yes, that’s Madurai Mani Iyer, whose rendering of ‘Sarasa Saamadhaana’ still has no parallel.

This year, Dr L. Subramaniam, the violinist, has been felicitated.

8th Cross Ganesha brings old memories back to those who have grown and left Vontikoppal. But they can be sure of one thing. Himamshu and his band of enthusiastic friends will always ensure music flows here year after year, to places that were once their homes.

For those who can’t make it, the entire programme can be seen by visiting

Also read: At 8th Cross, even Ganesha wants a good concert

Once upon a time, Govinda, Venky, Seshu, Gundu…

One room, four cameras and four lakh rupees

17 September 2009

How The Hindu reported the birth of India’s public television broadcaster 50 years ago. The terrestrial station went on air on 15 September but the report appeared in the newspaper two days later.

“The experimental television service of All India Radio, inaugurated by President Rajendra Prasad on September 15 at the Vigyan Bhavan is the first in South-East Asia. The TV station, equipped with four cameras, a 500-watt transmitter and other apparatus costing about rupees four lakhs, is housed in a single room on the fifth storey of Akashvani Bhavan, an annexe of the radio station, from where the programmes will be relayed twice every week within a radius of twelve miles.”

Launched under the banner of All India Radio (AIR), it later attained its own brandname, Doordarshan. DD’s trademark signature, first brought to life by Ustad Ali Ahmad Hussain Khan, was later improvised upon by the sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar.


As a broadcaster mandated to serve the public cause, arts and culture, especially high arts and culture, was the backbone of both AIR and DD till the arrival of satellite television set DD on a hunt for young eyeballs.

Below is the theme music of Surabhi, Doordarshan’s weekly arts and culture show, which used to be hosted by Siddharth Kak.


Also read: On India’s TV anniversary, no monkeying around

Pratima Puri: India’s first TV news reader passes away

Tejeshwar Singh: A baritone falls silent watching the cacophony