Nabendu Bhattacharya is a prominent Ghazal singer, music educator and composer of the contemporary generation of Indian Light Classical Musicians. When he was a toddler his mother used to switch on the radio to keep him quiet while she went about her chores. He guesses, somehow this was his introduction to music in its crude form and his mother too recognized the closeness. Cultural functions in school and varied taste in music kept him going and soon he found his calling. Academics were never his forte and he didn’t want it to be either. Gradually as he resolved to take up music as his career, he mastered the subject under the guidance of Pandit.A.T.Kannan, Pandit Sanjoy Bandopadhyay and Acharya Jayanto Bose. At present he is working successfully as a music instructor at I.C.S.E. Kaushik Chattapadhyay spoke to him on behalf of BE.
Q. What is your opinion about the importance of the technical flair of an artiste in Indian Classical Music?
A. Classical music basically functions as the alphabet is the language of music, be it western or eastern. There is a certain framework within which melodies functions beyond lyrics. It is often referred to as an improvisation, goes far beyond mere spontaneous creation of musical thought.
Q. Incorporation of Classical Music in modern cinema:
A. I am absolutely in favour of this trend in the industry as when we were in our formative years, we have had directors doing the same. For example, if we take Satyajit Ray into consideration, he has made extensive use of various ragas to depict situations. It showed how music can speak volumes, how a raag can capture an emotion in its twists and turns, how nature reflects the tone of the raag. The words, the emotions, the sensations that a raag can deliver, I believe equals no other forms of music and their incorporation, albeit in a more urbane way in the film industry is a great news and should be continued by all means.
Q. What is your take on the young aspiring artistes?
A. There have been quite a few new artistes of note. Everyone has undertaken rigorous training and that is quite evident in their works. I personally believe, this is the only branch where you cannot possibly get away by practising less or in an offhand manner. The stream itself demands minute attention. Having said this, we find that many gharanas have or are on the verge of extinction and what we are left with is a potpourri of gharanas with no marked distinction. I believe that the blame falls upon the singers for paying with attention to the norms set by the maestros.
Q. How do you measure the fusion in contemporary and classical styles?
A. This depends on the balance between the two. If a measured balance is struck between the two, the fusion is bound to come out well. Therefore, I don’t think it a cause of alarm or it compromises the originality of any of the styles. In fact, if a person can fuse the two styles in a perfectly tempered, I would definitely be all in for that piece.
Q. What would be your message for the future generation?
A. I have noticed one trait that is definitely a cause of concern and it being the trait of achieving success without having worked for it or to rephrase. There are no two ways about mastering the subject, either you go all in or go all out. However, nowadays artistes with a very constricted knowledge of this vein go on to make it large and there is nothing wrong with that. However one must realize that it is all but short-lived and if my advice be considered, I would always want people to learn more, to explore the arena more, to practise more and the more you do so, the closer to success you are. It takes time definitely but the end-product comes across as fabulous as ever.
I strongly believe that music is God's gift, one have to act the part well and receive approbation and that is the meaning and purpose of life...