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Friday, 2 May 2014

Celebrating the GEMS & ICONS of ART!!!

Vasantrao Deshpande (May 2, 1920-July 30, 1983) was a renowned Hindustani classical vocalist who was also a great performer of Natya Sangeet. In 1982, he was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, given by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's National Academy of Music, Dance & Drama. Vasantrao Deshpande was born in Sawlapur, District Amravati, which belongs to Vidarbha region of State of Maharashtra, in India. He started his musical training in his home town Nagpur under Shankarrao Sapre from Gwalior, who in turn was a disciple of Vishnu Digambar Paluskar

At the age of eight, Bhalji Pendharkar perceived his musical talent and launched him in the role of 'Krishna' in Hindi movie Kaliyamardan. He had received the training under different gharanas (schools or styles of music): Patiala, Bhendi Bazar, Kairana; yet he did not receive the stamp of any particular gharana.

He was also an accomplished tabala and harmonium player. He was equally at ease with the thumridadra and ghazal forms. These find their origins in countries like Iran and AfghanistanHe had picked up the original style and nuances of the thumri and ghazal while studying at Lahore. He also learnt quite a bit of Urdu to elevate his ghazal performances. Another area of music where he made his mark was "Marathi Natyasangeet".

He acted in movies like "Kaaliya Mardan"(he was just eight), "Dudh Bhaat", "Ashtavinayak" and many more. He gave playback to more than 80 Marathi films. Besides pure music, he also put together the history of Marathi music plays, from origin showing their evolution up to the present stage. This is how he presented his brainchild, his tour de force, "Marathi Natyasageetachi Vaatchaal" (the evolution of music in Marathi music plays). In this he would first explain the socio-cultural influences that shaped the musicals as they stood in a particular era and then demonstrate the evolution through its music. The concert was first held in Delhi. It stretched for three days, six hours each day. The experiment was bound to be a winner with the audience.

He was a thinker and he blended these styles to develop a style of his own. He did not believe in imitation. Considering the timbre of his voice, pitch, range and expressive capacity, he forged his own characteristic style. His development of the khayal was always full of such tensions and releases, which pleased the audience. He had an equal command of both common and uncommon Ragas and a large repertoire of compositions. He presented them judiciously, considering the type of audience before him.

Dr. Vasantrao Deshpande was an academic, earning himself a PhD in "The Transformation of Hindustani Classical Music". He was also invited to several educational institutions to deliver lectures on music, quite often with live demonstrations. Vasantrao has had several commercial releases under his name. Among them, the more famous are his LP of Marwa and a two-cassette interview, conducted by Va Pu Kale, about the history of Marathi Natya Sangeet which showcases the breadth and depth of Vasantrao's knowledge about the art form.
Vasantrao also conceived Raga Raj Kalyan, a Yaman variant with 'Pancham' dropped altogether. "Katyaar Kaaljaat Ghusli" was a successful play in his carrier.

Satyajit Ray (2 May 1921 – 23 April 1992) was an Indian filmmaker, regarded as one of the greatest auteurs of world cinema. Ray was born in the city of Calcutta into a Bengali family prominent in the world of arts and literature. Starting his career as a commercial artist, Ray was drawn into independent filmmaking after meeting French filmmaker Jean Renoirand viewing Vittorio De Sica's Italian neorealist 1948 film Bicycle Thieves during a visit to London.

Ray directed 36 films, including feature films, documentaries and shorts. He was also a fiction writer, publisher, illustrator, calligrapher, graphic designer and film critic. He authored several short stories and novels, primarily aimed at children and adolescents. Feluda, the sleuth, and Professor Shonku, the scientist in his science fiction stories, are popular fictional characters created by him.
Ray's first film, Pather Panchali (1955)won eleven international prizes, including Best Human Documentary at the Cannes Film Festival. 

Ray did the scripting, casting, scoring, and editing, and designed his own credit titles and publicity material. Ray received many major awards in his career, including 32 Indian National Film Awards, a number of awards at international film festivals and award ceremonies, and an Academy Award in 1992. The Government of India honoured him with the Bharat Ratna in 1992. 

Ray's father; Sukumar Ray died when Satyajit was barely three, and the family survived on Suprabha Ray's meager income. Ray studied at Ballygunge Government High School, Calcutta, and completed his BA in economics at Presidency College, Calcutta, though his interest was always in fine arts.

 In 1940, his mother insisted that he study at the Visva-Bharati University at Santiniketan, founded by Rabindranath Tagore. Ray was reluctant due to his love of Calcutta, and the low opinion of the intellectual life at Santiniketan. His mother's persuasion and his respect for Tagore finally convinced him to try. In Santiniketan, Ray came to appreciate Oriental art.

In 1943, Ray started work at D.J. Keymer, a British-run advertising agency, as a "junior visualiser," earning eighty rupees a month. Although he liked visual design (graphic design) and he was mostly treated well, there was tension between the British and Indian employees of the firm. The British were better paid, and Ray felt that "the clients were generally stupid." Later, Ray also worked for Signet Press, a new publishing house started by D. K. Gupta. Gupta asked Ray to create cover designs for books to be published by Signet Press and gave him complete artistic freedom. 

French director Jean Renoir came to Calcutta to shoot his film The RiverRay helped him to find locations in the countryside. Ray told Renoir about his idea of filming Pather Panchali, which had long been on his mind, and Renoir encouraged him in the project. In 1950, D.J. Keymer sent Ray to London to work at its headquarters office. 

During his three months in London, Ray watched 99 films. Among these was the neorealist film Ladri di biciclette (Bicycle Thief) (1948) by Vittorio De Sica, which had a profound impact on him. Ray later said that he came out of the theatre determined to become a film-maker.