Pandit Ravi Shankar. A storm that took the world in a whirl with a sitar in his hand and ambitions in his heart.
He was a prodigy, a sitar maestro, a guru, a shishya, a beautiful person who had dedicated his entire life to art. We know him as a pioneer in the Hindustani classical scene and the representative of Indian music to the western world but there’s much more to the man and there are a lot of things we can and should learn from his life.
On his Third death anniversary, we bring you a few lesser known facts about the master and try to reveal the man and the legend behind that soulful music.
His real name is Robindro Shounkor Chowdhary and was born in a Bengali Brahmin family residing in Benares.
He also provided the score for Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali, Aparajito, and Apur Sansaar.
He started his career as a dancer at the age of 10 with his brother, Uday Shankar’s dance troupe but left it for the love of sitar.
His guru, Ustad Alauddin was known to have a fiery temper but Panditji is known to have been an exception for not being at the receiving end of it. He also ended up marrying his guru’s daughter, Annapurna Devi.
The widely loved song “Sare Jahaan Se Accha” was set to tune by him.
Beatles’ George Harrison and Panditji were good friends and have performed together and influenced the way Beatles made their songs.
He has served as an inspiration to a lot of Western bands and was the first one to introduce the western world to Indian music and is credited for popularizing it.
Not many know this, but he was a part of the Parliament from 1986 to 1992, nominated by late PM Rajiv Gandhi to the Rajya Sabha.
He created a new raga which he called Mohankauns (as a dedication to Mahatma Gandhi) due to its similarity to the raga Madhukauns.
And while playing a melody at the death of Gandhi in 1948 on All India Radio.
The 1973 movie, Abhimaan starring Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bhaduri, was loosely based on his life and marriage to his first wife.
Panditji was nominated for an Oscar for the soundtrack he created for the film Gandhi starring Ben Kingsley.
He is also the winner of three Grammys in the course of his 70-year career and the recipient of Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Award.