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Music icon Nandan Mehta hands Saptak legacy to GenNext heirs

DNAHM27091 | 1/2/2010 | Author : Priya Adhyaru-Majithia | WC :434 | Art & Culture

2010 edition of Saptak, which turned 30 last year, is underway at Kashiram Bhavan

Saptak, the magical, endearing brainchild of the remarkable couple Nandan Mehta, 68, a tabla maestro and Manju Mehta, 60, noted sitarist, turned 30 in 2009. It is the country’s most celebrated Indian classical musical festival and attracts aficionados from all over India and abroad each year.
While this annual music feast has today reached new heights from its humble beginnings, the founders too are ready to pass the baton to someone else to carry on this magnificent I heritance. Who will take up this onerous challenge? The ailing Nandan Mehta has the answer.
He notes: “Yeh sab chalta rahega, kyoki mere bachche etne layak hen.” And Saptak 2010 is the milestone on which both the generations have worked together.
While Mehta’s daughters Poorvi, 39, a sitarist and Hetal, 30, a tabla trainer at Saptak Music Institute, have taught new students who will be presenting their compositions at Saptak 2010, the finest details of this festival have been planned by Mehta himself.
“Both my daughters have been thoroughly trained to carry forward this legacy,” says proud mother Manju Mehta. Poorvi’s students will be presenting her compositions in sitar ensembles.
“My students are ready to mesmerise audiences with the tabla’s thaat,” says Hetal. Nihar Mehta, 34, Mehta’s nephew — who has initiated a Saptak India chapter in Nice (France) and has trained about 35 French and Italians -- is also working hard towards carrying forward the Saptak legacy.
The annual music festival began in 1980 with a one-day programme by two artistes, Pandit Ravi Shankar and Pandit Kishan Maharaj.
Today it has become a unique platform presenting about 130 musicians in about 15 sessions. This has been possible because of the commitment and hard work of the Mehtas and a few of their colleagues that include Bharti Parikh, DD Trivedi, Himmat Kapasi and Praful Shah who comprise the Saptak’s pioneer members and key supporters.
The Saptak fest is a unique experience. The programme always begins with an emerging talent. With quite a few music luminaries in the audience listening, this is a grand stage for young performers. As the evening progresses, some of the most renowned performers in Indian classical music take the stage. The rasikas often leave in the early hours of the morning with a raag baghesri, malkauns or lalit still humming in their ears.
This rich bouquet treats the audience to vintage khayal performances from established maestros. They also experience the dhrupad gayaki, thumris, Rajasthani folk music, instrumental recitals of sitar, sarangi, flute, the mohan veena, rudra veena and percussion recitals on the tabla, pakhawaj and even the mridangam. In sum, it is an unparalleled experience.

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