Audience numbers swelled to standing-room-only on the second day of the Saptak Music Festival at LD Arts College on Monday. The highlight of the evening was a performance by vocalists Suman and Apurva Ghosh, who sang a “Jasrangi Jugalbandi,” inspired by Pandit Jasraj. Accompanied by Paromita Mukherjee on the harmonium and Ramkumar Mishra and Sapan Anjaria on the tabla, the father-daughter duo presented a Jugalbandi based on Rag Kalavati, followed by a Krishna bhajan, which had the audience in raptures.
Suman Ghosh is the founder-President of the Centre for Indian Classical Music of Houston and would thus be a familiar face to the many American Gujaratis attending the Saptak Music Festival in Ahmedabad this year.
The evening began with a solo pakhawaj performance by Siddheshwar Undalkar, the winner of the 2022 “Pandit Nandan Mehta Shastriya Taal-Vadya Spardha,” a pan-India tabla/pakhawaj competition instituted by Saptak in memory of its late founder, who was a renowned tabla maestro. Accompanied by Yashwant Thitte on the harmonium, the young pakhawaj player mesmerized the audience with his hour-long performance.
The third and last slot at Saptak is always reserved for a major star on the classical music firmament and on the second day, the star was Shujaat Khan. The affable Ustad was to be found sitting on a gadda with the audience on the first day, but on the second day, it was his turn to ascend to the stage. Accompanied by Amit Choubey and Sapan Anjaria on the tabla, he played Rag Charukeshi (on which the popular song Chhod De Saari Duniya Kisi Ke Liye from the film Saraswati Chandra is based).
Ustad Shujjaat Khan recalled his association with Shivkumar Sharma, Birju Maharaj, Kishan Maharaj and Nandan Mehta, the four artists that Saptak is felicitating this year, saying: “There are many components that go into the making of a performer. For me, they were all a source of comfort support in my early days of struggle.”