A son's tribute

Bansuri guru
Director: Rajeev Chaurasia
Rating ***

Unfortunately, such is the stranglehold of mainstream! As a result, documentary as a genre continues to remain restricted to film festivals and private screenings. Much against this dismal scenario, a documentary on Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia titled Bansuri Guru was released amidst much fanfare last week.

Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia with his grandchildren in Bansuri Guru

Produced by Films Division and released under the PVR Director’s Rare banner, this particular endeavour, helmed by the flute maestro’s son Rajeev, comes across as a celebration of dedication and success. With a runtime of about an hour, Bansuri Guru tries to capture the celebrated flautist’s journey from Allahabad to Cuttack through Bombay and ultimately back to Bhubaneswar, to set up a long-cherished Gurukul. In the meantime, we understand the trajectory — a mix of classical and popular music — he not only walked on but also accomplished.

As the story picks up pace, the realisation sinks in on how our classical exponents ‘silently’ build cultural bridges between nations. There’s splendour in almost every shot as not a second is wasted in reminding the audience about the musician’s greatness. However, this particular effort restricts itself to conversations with Chaurasia’s long-time collaborator Pandit Shivkumar Sharma and Ustad Zakir Hussain.

Despite the celebrated flautist’s contributions to Hindi cinema, fellow musicians from Bollywood are conspicuous by their absence. On the brighter side, there is Amitabh Bachchan’s baritone voice narrating a tale here and a poem there.

All in all, Bansuri Guru is a son’s tribute to his dad. Rajeev Chaurasia, who is more of a musician than a filmmaker, took it upon himself to provide an insider’s view. Though he manages to cover several chapters of his father’s illustrious life, the film seems to be wrapped up in a hurry.

The take-it-home moments, interestingly, occur when Panditji unleashes his self-effacing humour and allows a rare glimpse into the humble person behind the gifted personality that he is. 

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