Mukta Maushi and my Aai, being twins had a lot of similarities, they still have, especially for the music! On their 60th birthday, I wanted to surprise them with something unique. I thought of many things which would be useful to them, and make their life happy. However, I was not convinced with the options!
At one point it flashed to me, that the best thing for them could be to gift memories! I took up this challenge, and started to look for smaller details from their passion for music, if I could create a unique memory. I was told that one of the initial music Guru, in Nashik, was Pt. Kamlakar Joshi. He was visually impaired, but extremely passionate about music! They used to have a music group, where one day a week they would have a performance by the members. Also, the interesting rule was to present a new raag every time! I am sure that these performance (although, in front of smaller and known audience), gave them the confidence and the presentation skills, much needed for a performer.
I began the search for him, and asked all my ‘musical’ contacts for the information. My sister, Neelima Bhagwat and my brother in law, Rajesh Bhagwat, asked Umesh Purohit (renowned harmonium player) about it, and he seem to know Pt. Joshi, who stayed in Pune now a days!. Finally, we could find him, leading a retired (but not at all tired) life with his two daughters, Mrs. Shubhada Athavale and Mrs. Sampada Thite. We contacted her, introduced ourselves, and asked for a permission to video record Panditji! They cooperated happily, and I planned a proper interview! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it to Pune that particular day, and since the deadline (birthday), therefore, decided to request my friend Kishor to help me out. Kishor Khoje is a renowned cinematographer and runs a full fledged film production house: New Golden Art (preferred by the biggies of film industry for their shoot in Pune). He was thrilled about the topic, and went with his team to the venue.
Panditji, was extremely happy to know about the context of the video recording. He wished Mukta Maushi (her name was Tara earlier to rhyme with Meera), and Aai on their birthday. What followed later, was a flurry of memories, which he described with exquisite details, recreating the enjoyable musical period all of them shared. Apart from Mukta Maushi and Aai, he was associated with the entire Manohar family (My Mama, and elder Maushis too!). He also sang a few music pieces, he was referring to! Kishor recorded the whole interview in a very candid, yet professional quality finish, and sent the tapes to me. I edited a short video out of that, which I share with you all!
After I showed this clip, on their birthday, they were thrilled to see/hear him after so many years. None of them were aware of his whereabouts, and because of this, they could have a chat with him after many many years!
PS: It was unfortunate to know that Pt. Joshi passed away within a year, after we recorded this video. I added few other shots, and made it in to a short film about him, which I shared with his daughters, who were extremely pleased to have a video memory of the great father and a devoted musician. I am thankful to them for permitting me to share it online!
For the music lovers: The collection of the bandishes composed by Pt. Joshi (Swarkamalanjali) is published and available online.