Look hue's making music

Updated: Jan 14, 2020, 22:15 IST | Shunashir Sen | Mumbai

A unique weekend concert will see artist Paresh Maity paint live to Ayaan and Amaan Ali Bangash's tunes, and you are invited

Ayaan and Amaan with their instruments
Ayaan and Amaan with their instruments

There was a rather unique concert that had taken place in London over two decades ago, which featured two of India's biggest cultural icons. It involved Ustad Amjad Ali Khan doing what he does best — weaving magic with his sarod. But there was also a non-musician accompanying him on stage. MF Husain was creating a work of art on the spot based on the strains that emanated from Khan's instrument. It was the perfect jugalbandi of music and painting, with the artwork being completed from start to finish to coincide with the duration of the concert. Later, it was auctioned off, and the episode has gone down in history as an example of two diverse artistes at the height of their powers joining hands to complement each other.

Similarly, two years ago, master painter Paresh Maity joined forces with tabla virtuoso Bickram Ghosh for a similar gig on a jetty stationed on Kolkata's Hooghly River. The programme was organised to raise funds for the Tata Cancer Hospital, and even today, Maity remembers the evening fondly when he recounts it to us. 

Paresh Maity at work

Now, he will have the chance to reprise that experience at a concert where he will again be painting live based, coincidentally, on the music that Amaan and Ayaan Ali Bangash — Amjad Ali Khan's sons — will perform. It's scheduled for this Sunday at The Royal Opera House, and Amaan explains, "It is going to be an audio-visual experience, and we are going to reinterpret the nine moods that the navras ragas embody. Paresh ji will translate the music into a painting, and people will get an understanding of how a particular melody informs his strokes."
He adds that it won't be a typical classical concert, though. "We are going to play the ragas according to our own convenience. So, there will be nine short pieces that won't have the usual aalaps and things like that. We are clear that we are there to entertain and not educate, so that the common man can enjoy himself," Amaan says, adding that Maity's work, too, is such that it's accessible to even the lay person. "He's also an amazing host," the musician reveals, ending with, "We had gone to his [Kolkata] house the other day, and he treated us to wonderful jhaal muri and chai."

Ayaan, on his part, adds that the artistic confluence between music and painting is such that one completes the other. Music without colour is almost like life without a soul, he feels, saying, "Likewise, a painting without music is, in ethos, something unappealing as well. Any painting we see does something to our senses, and even silence is a form of music. It has some sort of energy around it and that's why I think that a world without art, or music for that matter, is lifeless."

Maity finds a similar correlation between songs and paintings. Art is something where the mother is basically milk, he reasons, while music is like curd and painting like paneer, in the sense that they come from the same base source. He adds that he already has a modus operandi in place for painting live. "See, you have to be really clear in your head for something like this. So, I am mentally prepared about where I will start from and where I will end. But you only have a certain amount of time to express everything you want to, and what happens in between is where the impromptu part comes in," he says of the work that will be auctioned off for charity immediately after the gig.

This, then, is going to be somewhat of an offbeat affair since even though such an event isn't unprecedented in Mumbai, it's a rarity in the city's cultural calendar. The calibre of the performers is also top-notch, and both Maity and Ayaan and Amaan have admitted respect for each other. We are also assuming that Amjad Ali Khan must be happy that his sons are recreating an event similar to the one he had performed in all those years ago. And as for the late MF Husain, his blessings will have to be showered down from a different realm altogether.

ON January 19, 6.30 pm
AT The Royal Opera House, Charni Road, Girgaum.
Log on to bookmyshow.com
Cost Rs 500 onwards

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