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A musical soiree

Music lovers can rejoice as The Fine Arts Society, Chembur is not only bringing together acclaimed musicians including Santoor maestro Pandit Satish Vyas, vocalist Ashwini Bhide Deshpande and Pandit Ajay Pohankar to perform but also promoting young talent like sitar player Chirag Katti in Panchashatotsava — a weeklong Hindustani classical music festival to celebrate its golden jubilee anniversary this year.


Twenty seven year-old  Chirag Katti plays the sitar during a stage performance

An extremely thrilled Katti says, “I am very honoured that I am playing alongside stalwarts such as Satishji and Pandit Pohankar. I have grown up watching them perform. I am happy that The Fine Arts Society has been kind enough to give me an opportunity to perform at this platform.”

The 27 year-old sitar player has been a recipient of the prestigious ‘Surmani’ award and is a scholarship holder for sitar by the Ministry of Culture (New Delhi). He has also performed on many television and radio channels and at concerts in India as well as in the US, Japan and South Africa
Katti learnt to hold the sitar even before he could walk, thanks to his father and Guru Pt Shashank Katti who encouraged him to learn the instrument and was also his worst critic. “I used to watch my father perform on stage. He has been my harshest critic but that has helped me to improve constantly. The instrument interested me and I wanted to get my hands on it. My uncle gifted me a small sitar and that’s how my relationship with the instrument began,”
he reminisces.

His first break came at the age of 12 when he performed at the Tilak Mandir Hall in Vile Parle. He explains, “I was nervous to see so many people, but was also excited at the same time. I got a good response and that urged me to play the sitar seriously.”

The highlight of the event today will be the different ragas that Katti is going to perform. But he wants to keep it a surprise. “I am going to perform Raga Puriya Dhanashree and Raga Vachaspati with my own unique rendition. I don’t want to disclose more as it may let out the surprise element that we have in mind for the audience.”

So how many people is he expecting for the event? He quips, “I really don’t know. There are not many people who enjoy the pure form of classical music anymore. But I am happy that it is happening in Chembur, which has a rich crowd that knows the history and culture of classical music.”

Commenting on his future plans, Katti says, “As a young artiste, I just want to learn and discover new things. I want to create a niche for myself, create good music and perform in more places in India as well as abroad.”

Until: December29
At: Sivaswamy Auditorium, Fine Art Society, Fine Art Chowk, Chembur
Call: 25222988
Entry: Free
 

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