As the Sawai Gandharva Sangeet Mahotsav readies to celebrate its diamond jubilee next year, Anand Deshmukh, who has been anchoring the show for the past 24 years, hopes to complete the silver jubilee of his association with the fest and make his way into the Limca Book of Records for 'being the longest serving host of any show'.
"I am really happy today that I have completed 24 years of comp ring and have shared the stage with various singers, musicians and dancers of international fame.
"This association has certainly enriched my taste for Indian classical music. As I complete 25 years of comp ring in the Sawai Gandharv next year, I hope to find a mention in the Limca Book of Records for achieving this feat. As per my knowledge, there is nobody who has anchored a show for 25 long years, so there fair of my name finding way to the coveted Licmca Book," he said.
Deshmukh, who worked as a programme executive with All India Radio in the city, said that he used to listen to great Indian classical singers and performers. He was also appreciated for his anchoring skills on musical shows on AIR. "I was given a chance by Pt Bhimsen Joshi, who liked my style of narration and detailed description of each hindustani music performer," Deshmukh recalled.
Deshmukh said that he has has interacted with over 400 veteran and budding artistes. "I have been appreciated by Pandit Jasraj, Sarod player Amjad Ali Khan and even tabla maestro Zakir Hussain. Among all of them, I remember how Pt Bhimsen Joshi appreciated me for my work and assured me that I would comp re in the years to come. He kept his promise till he breathed his last. Pandit's son Shrinivas Joshi has not changed his father's decision," he said.
From host to author
To capture the mesmerising memories of the fest, Deshmukh has donned the mantle of a writer also. "I am writing a book on my memories in fest. It shall be released in the next year," he added. The fest had celebrated its golden jubilee in 2002 is now entering the diamond jubilee in 2012.
"This is perhaps a unique phenomenon in the annals of hindustani classical music in the past six decades. Generations of the city's connoisseurs have grown up savoring the unforgettable performances by great hindustani masters at the festivals, and we are proudly documenting this next year," said Joshi, secretary of Arya Sangeet Prasarak Mandal and son of late Pt Bhimsen Joshi. "The only sorrow is that we will be doing it without Anna (Pt Bhimsen Joshi), who started this musical festival in 1953, as a tribute to his Guru Sawai Gandharv," he added.