A prize distribution programme that was to be held on the death anniversary of renowned sangeet natak singer-actor Narayanrao Rajhans alias Balgandharva last week did not take place because the organisers decided to push the event back 14 days to accommodate a busy Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar.
The 45th death anniversary of Balgandharva was on July 15, but following a request by Pawar the prize distribution will now be held on July 29. The Balgandharva Sangeet Natak Rasik Mandal (BSNRM) had announced its eighth prize distribution programme for meritorious sangeet natak actor Rahul Deshpande would be held on July 15, when other theatre personalities like playwright Meena Nerurkar, singer Dr Sadhana Shiledar and tabla player Sai Bankar were also to be feted by Pawar, who is also NCP chief. Pawar was also to release a magazine on Balgandharva and the Marathi musical drama tradition.
Actor Suresh Sakhwalkar, the president of BSNRM, said the death anniversary of Balgandharva was the day the organisation had been paying tributes and distributing prizes in his name for seven years now.
“For the first time we are changing the date of the function,” Sakhwalkar said. “The reason is Pawarsaheb doen’t have time. We opted for July 29, which was convenient for him. The new date was finalised on Pawarsaheb’s suggestion.”
Sakhwalkar said Pawar was invited because he was a Maharashtrian leader who was continuing the legacy of his mentor, former defence minister Y B Chavan, who was known for his deep interest in Marathi dramas and literature. Chavan was invited to the city on the 75th birth anniversary of Balgandharva in 1962.
Anuradha Rajhans, the granddaughter-in-law of the actor and vice-president of BSNRM, said: “We changed the date only because Pawarsaheb did not have time on July 15.”
Noted writer and sangeet natak buff Bharati Pande said: “There should not be any compromise about the date of Balgandharva’s death anniversary. The day is as important as any other commitment the minister might have had.”
The other side
Pralhad Bhagwat, PA to Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, said, “The opening of Maharashtra Bhawan in Delhi was planned before the Balgandhharva death anniversary programme on July 15. The programme was in the presence of President of India and, as per protocol, the Agriculture Minister was supposed to attend the function. Therefore, we requested the organisers to postpone the prize distribution programme that was to be held on the death anniversary of Balgandhharva. We also had given them the option of continuing the programme without Pawarsaheb.”
Significant year for Balgandharva fans
>> City sangeet natak groups celebrated the 125th birth anniv of Balgandharva on June 26, and the entire year is being celebrated as the 125th birth anniversary year
>> Sangeet Vidyaharan, a play in which Balgandharva acted, is celebrating its 100th year
>> Gandharva Natak Mandali, a sangeet natak group estd by Balgandharva, is in its 100th year