Ragas that are fully filmy

Updated: May 16, 2019, 07:41 IST | Karishma Kuenzang |

A concert will introduce Hindustani classical music to first-timers using Talat Mahmood's Bollywood hits

Talat Mahmood with Lata Mangeshkar
Talat Mahmood with Lata Mangeshkar

If you haven't ever been one to sit through a Hindustani classical concert, but have always wanted to, then a gig this weekend is for you. Aimed at introducing uninitiated listeners to ragas of Hindustani classical music via the medium of old-school Bollywood songs based on them, the evening will feature city musicians Gaurav Bangia and Amruta Natu singing hits of playback singer Talat Mahmood.

Ahead of the performance, 40-year-old Bangia, who started singing when he was 10, says that he gives his father credit for introducing him to these tracks. "He used to listen to a lot of Mukesh and Mohammed Rafi, besides Mahmood's songs. He thought I could sing and would send me for auditions for stage shows," says Bangia, who started learning Hindustani classical in his teens, and continued doing so after moving to Mumbai in 2000.

It was when he performed Mahmood's Phir Wahi Shaam Wahi Gham that he felt he could emulate the legendary playback singer's style. "He did intricate tremolos, and detailed and fine murkis. It's not like Lata ji or Rafi ji's voice where you get a clear grasp of their singing. There's more to his songs if you listen closely," the Goregaon resident explains.

Gaurav Bangia and Amruta Natu

And since ragas may be difficult for first-timers to understand, they will also be sharing a brief about each one and the corresponding Bollywood song. "A raga is a set of notes that creates a mood. These film songs take this as their base and build on it to match the mood created by the raga. And there are very few songs that are based purely on ragas. Many just have a splash of it," he elaborates.

Their set list comprises Mahmood's hits such as Jalte Hain Jiske Liye, which has notes taken from Kafi raga and Nayaki Kanada raga, Ae Dil Mujhe Aisi Jagah Le Chal based on Darbari raga, and Humse Aaya Na Gaya, which features Kafi raga and Bageshri raga.

Bangia is also working on his upcoming album, which will have original compositions in thumri style, but with contemporary elements. Called Thehraav, it's music will be arranged using instruments traditionally not found in the Indian classical music spectrum, such as the guitar.

ON May 16, 6.30 pm
AT Experimental Theatre, NCPA, Sir Dorabji Tata Road, NCPA Marg, Nariman Point.

LOG ON TO www.ncpamumbai.com
COST Rs 300 onwards

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