Pandit Dr. S. Ballesh Bhajantri to perform amidst cacophony
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Pandit Dr. S. Ballesh Bhajantri to perform amidst cacophony

September 29, 2022
  • Stage near Chikka Gadiyara for his live performance riles music lovers
  • ‘Shehnai Chakravarthy’ to perform today from 8 pm to 9.30 pm

Mysore/Mysuru: Thanks to last-minute preparations, hurried arrangements and eleventh-hour scouting of performers of cultural programmes, this Dasara has come under intense public criticism. On many occasions, the organisers have not applied their mind while planning the programmes and also while inviting reputed artistes and allotting places for their performance.

In the process, internationally acclaimed artistes have been treated casually, said connoisseurs of music who are upset. They are surprised at the sheer ignorance of event organisers and also their lack of knowledge about the artistes and their reputation. 

Music lovers in Mysuru were elated when they heard that internationally celebrated shehnai artiste and (Patiala Gharana) vocalist, ghazal singer, ‘Shehnai Chakravarthy’ Padma Shri awardee Pandit Dr. S. Ballesh Bhajantri will perform in Mysuru on Sept. 29 at 8 pm. But their happiness was short-lived when they came to know that the Pandit had been allotted a stage set up near Chikkagadiyara next to Devaraja Market, the busiest area of Mysuru, in the Central Business District. Yes, it is a place for conducting orchestra music during Ganesha Festival, said a connoisseur.

The place attracts people from the wee hours till beyond midnight and the cackle sound dominates the area at every moment by vendors, buyers and casual walkers. Music lovers told Star of Mysore that shehnai music can be heard best in an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity and not amidst din. Shehnai music is a divine experience, some said. Market place is not where it is to be performed.

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Who is Dr. Ballesh Bhajantri

Pandit Ballesh Bhajantri is a disciple of world-renowned Shennai Maestro Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismilah Khan.

Dr. Ballesh hails from M.K. Hubli town in Belagavi district and the Karnataka State Government honoured him with the Karnataka Kalashree in 2019. He was conferred with Padma Shri in 2022. He has a performing career of 45 years and has played shehnai since the age of 11.

He is also a renowned Hindustani classical vocalist and ghazal singer and has been the preferred musician for many music directors and all languages across India such as maestros Naushad Ali, M.S. Viswanathan, Ilaiyaraaja, Oscar winner A.R Rahman and M.M. Keeravani.

Mysore Palace or Ganabharathi suitable

According to music lovers, either Mysore Palace or Ganabharathi with their peaceful ambience and good acoustics was suitable for his performance and definitely not Chikkagadiyara.

Shehnai is loved by one and all, especially the elderly. Pandit Ballesh Bhajantri’s programme has been fixed from 8 pm to 9.30 pm. How can senior citizens come to the programme and is it advisable for them to stay that late? What if it rains? How is it possible to hear the music amidst loud sounds including the sound of vehicle horns and other blaring music in the area? These are some of the questions that are bothering those who love to hear his performance.

Music must reach masses

The venue of Chikkagadiyara has been selected as Dr. Ballesh Bhajantri’s music must reach more and more people and the masses. All arrangements have been made for a splendid shehnai performance and 500 chairs have been put up at the venue for the first time. Our only intention is that music must reach many people.”

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— Nirmala Matapathi, Assistant Director, Kannada and Culture Department; Working President, Dasara Cultural Programmes Sub-Committee

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