Bhendibazaar Gharana - Profiles of Senior Disciples

Shivkumarji was born in 1918 in Gondal, a tiny state, near Rajkot in Gujarat. He loved music from childhood. He started his intial training in music when he was only 9 years old under the guidance of Pandit Baburao Gokhale, Mumbai. Maharaja of Gondal was pleasantly surprised to see his progress in music in a short span of 7 years and appointed him as the court Musician of Gondal state in 1934 when Shivkumarji was barely 16 years old. Shivkumarji however, preferred to pursue study of music under Pandit Omkarnath Thakur in 1935, relinquishing honourable post of Court Musician of Gondal state. Shivkumarji's extraordinary performance at a concert in Karachi in 1936 impressed Pt. Omkarnath Thakur so much that he honoured Shivkumarji with the title "Sangeet Rasraj". Shivkumarji had, in the meantime , commenced performing on All India Radio since 1932.

In 1941 when Shivkumarji had come to Mumbai, he heard Ustad Aman Ali Khan and was so influenced by that novel style, that he became a disciple of Ustad Aman Ali Khan. Within few years he mastered the style and came to be known as the leading singer of Bhendi Bazaar Gayaki. Being a secluded person, Ustad Aman Ali Khan rarely sang in any public concerts. However, Pt. Shivkumar Shukla sang in many conferences all over India and also gave performances of music on All India Radio. After the death of Ustad Aman Ali Khan in 1953. AIR wanted to transmit a recording of U.Aman Ali Khan. Since such a recording was not available, Pt. Shivkumar Shukla received the honour of performing at the memorial programmes as foremost disciple of U.Aman Ali Khan.

In 1951, Pt. Shivkumar Shukla was invited to teach as Professor of Music, in the college of Indian music, Dance and Dramatics under Maharaja Sayajirao University at Vadodara. When he was at the pinnacle of his performing career in 1960, his voice suffered a serious setback and it could not be restored which prompted him to concentrate on teaching profession. He retired from service in 1978 as Principal, Faculty of Performing Arts. His leading disciples are Late Dayanand Dev Gandharva, Bipin Patel, Sangeeta Pandharpurkar, Indira Thapa, Late Anil Vaishnav, Mukund Vyas, Vasanti Sathe Suresh Trivedi, Daughters Kiran and Neelam Shukla, Prof. Dwarkanath Bhonsle, Prof. Ishwar Chandra Pandit, and Mitali (Mukherjee) Singh.

Pandit Shivkumar Shukla was honoured for meritorious service to Indian classical music and he received the following prominent honours :

Award and medal from Government of India (1951) at the hands of the 1st President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad.

Gujarat Rajya Sangeet Academy Puraskar (1971).

ITC Sangeet Research Academy (Kolkata) Award-1980.

Gujarat State Pt. Omkarnath Puraskar (1990-91).

The Sangeet Natak Akademi Award- 1992.

Sangeet Rasraj Pandit Shivkumar Shukla devoted whole of his life to classical Music, following the footsteps of his Guru, Ustad Aman Ali Khan. Sangeet Rasraj Pandi Shivkumar Shukla's journey of Naad Yoga worship came to an end on 31st December, 1998.

Master Navrang was born in the year 1919. His name 'Navrang' was selected by his mother since he was born during 'Navratri Festival. He proved his name worthy, by acquiring nine skills namely, very high level of proficiency in playing instruments, such as Sitar, Violin, Harmonium, Jaltarang, Dilruba, Sundri and Tabla, as well as, singer and music teacher of rare calibre and a talented composer of Bandishes.

His father Shri. Jogeshwar Nagpurkar was, not only interested in music, but he had learnt music under the guidance of Pt. Bala Guru of Gwalior Gharana. Master Navrang was a child prodigy and he used to take part in Jalasa parties since age of six years and he used to tour with the parties allover Hindustan. He used to sing in the party of renowned singer Peara Sahib in his programmes in Mumbai. Master Navrang learnt music under the guidance of Pt. Krishnarao Shanker Pandit for 2 years at Gwalior, Pt. Narayanrao Vyas, Pt. Shankerrao Vyas (Ahmedabad) and Pt. Narayan Moreshwar Khare. In 1940, Master Navrang became a disciple of Ustad Aman Ali Khan and in few years he mastered the nuances of Bhendi Bazaar Gayaki.

Master Navrang also worked as Assistant Music Director for films in 1939. However he started an Institute of music by the name "Sangeet Mandir" in Girgaum, Mumbai in 1944 and he continued to teach music for more than 50 years. The tonal quality of his voice got affected after 1960, perhaps due to strain of rigorous teaching activity. The list of his disciples is given below and it includes many highly respected names : Asha Bhosale, Pt. Jitendra Abhisheki, Pt. V.R. Athavale, Suman Kalyanpur, Neelatai Navarang (Masterji's wife) Purushottam Upadhyay, Nalini Dhurandhar, Madhura Jasraj, Kusum Saguna, Sharada Rao, Usha Pandit, Meera Hattangadi, Pramila Datar, Mandakini Gadre, Meenakshi Kadam, Meera Nadkarni, Upendra Kamat, Vyankatesh Pai, Anant Vartak, Shantaram Velu, Ratnamala Kaushik, B.K. Kulkarni, Natwarlal Nayak, Jagannath Prasad, Anjuben Rajul, Harendra Khurana, Shubha Joshi, Pankaj Udhas, Uday Muzumdar, Kaumudi Munshi, Rajul Mehta, Mohantara Ajinkya, Govindrao Modak.

Master Navrang used to sing from All India Radio, Mumbai since 1935. Fortyfive Bandishes composed by Master Navrang are available and are included in this website. He chose 'Amarpiya' or 'Amardas' as his pen name and included it in most of the Bandishes. Master Navrang had received ITC Award, Mumbai in 1994 for recognition of his outstanding contribution to Indian Classical Music.

Master Navrang maintained excellent health and was active till the last day and suffered a massive heart attack while he was speaking over telephone with a disciple in 1998 when he was 79 years old.

Janorikar was born in Ahmedabad in 1921. He lost his mother in childhood so he was sent to Pune, his Grand father's place. Everyone in the family liked music, T.D. Janorikar was, therefore, sent to Pt. Vinayakrao Patwardhan's music school and he learnt Gwalior Gharana style of singing for 12 years.

He happened to listen to Pandit Shivkumar Shukla at a monthly concert held in Prof. B.R. Deodhar's school of music in 1946. He was so impressed by the style that he became a "Gandaband" disciple of Ustad Aman Ali Khan in 1948 when Ustad had shifted to Pune. He learnt from the Ustad for about 5 years with great devotion and determination. After death of the Ustad in 1953, he also received training from Pandita Anjanibai Malpekar for 5 years. Thus, he was the only artist who received training from the two stalwarts of the Bhendibazzar Gharana. He amalgamated the special features of the styles of both the maestros. Due to various reasons the Bhendibazzar Gharana Gayaki had faded out from the concert dais and common listeners were not even aware of the name of this Gharana. Pandit Janorikar felt sorry for this situation and devoted his whole life for popularising Bhendi Bazar Gayaki.

He presented successful concerts at many places all over the country. He was a top grade Artist on All India Radio and his programmes were transmitted from AIR Pune, as well as, Delhi in National programme of Music and also on Doordarshan. He was invited by ITC SRA, Kolkata as a Guru of the Bhendi Bazaar gharana and he imparted training of this Gayaki to the scholars of the Academy. Special Archival recordings of his vocal recitals have been preserved by Sangeet Natak Academy, Delhi and Omkarnath Thakur Trust, Banaras.

He taught Bhendi Bazaar Gayaki to many disciples, prominent among them are given below : Sadhana Joshi, Dr. Suhasini Koratkar, Padmakar Kulkarni, Shreekant Pargaokar, Sharad Karmarkar, Kumudini Mundkur, Vasundara Pandit, Kedar Bodas, Anuradha Marathe, Anuradha Kuber, Kishori Janorikar, Dr. Kshama Vaidya. Besides giving training of the Gayaki, he infused enthusiasm and urge in the hearts of his disciples to popularise the Gayaki and encouraged them to organise Bhendibazaar Gharana Sangeet Sammelans at various places like Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Pune. etc.

For his outstanding contribution to Indian classical Music, he received wide recognition including 'Maharashtra Government Cultural Award and ITC Sangeet Research Academy Award. In spite of five major operations on the stomach, his voice rendition remained unaffected till he breathed his last on 23rd November, 2006.

Rameshchandra was born in Mumbai in 1921. He spent his childhood at Bankikodla in Karwar district of Karnataka. His mother used to sing devotional songs passionately in a mellifluous voice and that inspired young Rameshchandra to devote his life to study of music.

Rameshji shifted to Mumbai in 1934 when he got opportunity to listen to stalwarts of classical Music, such as Pt. Omkarnath Thakur, Ustad Abdul Karim Khan, Pt. Narayanrao Vyas and other reputed musicians. After having passed matriculation from Mumbai University in 1938 he commenced his study of music under Pt. Baburao Gokhale and qualified for "Sangeet Praveena". He was very much influenced by Pt. Shivkumar Shukla's extraordinary performance in 1945 and he became a disciple of Ustad Aman Ali Khan. Although, Ustad Aman Ali Khan had shifted to Pune, he used to come to Mumbai regularly and teach the nuances of Bhendi Bazaar style to students.

During 1950 and 1956, Panditji stayed at his native place, Bankikodla, there he concentrated on rigorous riyaaz. In 1956, Panditji joined All India Radio as 'Music Producer' in Cuttak. Later he spent two years at Cuttack and six years each at Indore and Bhopal and 11 years in Mumbai from 1970 to 1981 when he retired from service of AIR. Panditji also had command over many languages, including Kannada, Hindi, Sanskrit and English. He wrote biography of Bhagwan Nityanand which was published in Kannada, Hindi and English and that of Pandit Mallikarjun Mansoor in Kannada titled " Nanna Ras Yatre".

Like Ustad Aman Ali Khan, Panditji also avoided publicity. Moreover, his employment contract with AIR did not permit him to give public performances. So, he did not give any public performances, however, he performed in some concerts of Bhendi Bazaar Gharana.

Panditji was also a composer of high merit and had composed more than 50 melodious Bandishes which are included in this website. He was honoured for dedicated lifelong service to classical music by ITC in 1992 and was awarded a fellowship by Sursingar Sansad, Mumbai. He loved to impart training in music and the list of his disciples includes well known artists such as, Kamal Naik, Shubha Joshi, Shaila Piplapure, Meenaxi Mukherji, Mahendra Kapoor, Mahesh Babu, Sushilarani Patel, Ramkishan Chandeshri (Bhopal) and Shailesh Mavinkurve.

Panditji’s life, full of dedication to classical music as a performer, producer, and teacher, came to an end on 7th September, 1995 when he was 74 years old.

Ustad Muhammed Hussain Khan was born in a family of Sarangi players in 1907. His father Ustad Kader Bakhsha was renowned for his melodious sarangi accompaniment which practically merged into the singer’s voice. Ustad Muhammed Hussain Khan also accompanied Balgandharva and many other reputed musicians.

Ustadji also had a liking for vocal music. He, therefore, learnt vocal music from Ustad Bashir Khan (Gudiyanwale) and his brother Habib Khan of Gwalior Gharana and later from Ustad Aman Ali Khan. He was an AIR artist of Mumbai and Pune radio stations.

His notable contribution to Pune’s music world is “Arun Music Class” which he founded in 1940 where he taught vocal music and sarangi. The tradition is religiously maintained by his son Ustad Faiyyaz Hussain Khan who teaches classical and light classical music and violin.

Ustad Muhammed Hussain Khan has written two books “Upaj” and “Bandish” in which he has given details of Bandishes composed by him.

Ustadji passed away in 1988 after a meritorious career in music spanning nearly seven decades.

Born in 1914, Pandurangji was youngest in the family of five brothers and one daughter. Pandurangji had a melodious voice and used to sing bhajans in a sweet voice in the childhood. His eldest brother, Harishchandra liked music and he noted young Pandurang’s aptitude for music. He heard the name of Ustad Aman Ali Khan from some one of his acquaintances, so he took young Pandurangji, then only 11 years old, to him. Ustadji offered to accept him as a disciple, only if he agreed to leave school and devote all the time for learning music. Harishchandraji hesitantly agreed and sent young Pandurang to Ustadji. Ustadji, after rigorously testing for few months Pandurangji’s intensity of desire for learning music, accepted him as a disciple. Pandurangji, initially worked as a helping hand in Ustadji’s family, however, later Ustadji, after seeing his dedication to learn music, treated him affectionately as his son. Pandurangji, learnt from Ustadji for nearly twenty years, till Ustadji shifted to Pune in 1946.

Pandurangji worked as an Assistant Music Director with Mr. Pheroze Nizami, till the latter immigrated to Pakistan after partition, causing a financial loss of Rs. 10,000/- to Pandurangji, which was the amount due to him. The monetary loss of Rs. 10,000/- was a severe blow for Pandurangji, whose financial position was in bad shape. He, therefore, worked as a music teacher in schools. He was an enterprising teacher who took great pains to make the subject interesting for the students. He composed melodious songs especially for children employing lyrics comprising of simple words and attractive rhythm. As per advice of Ustadji, Pandurangji refrained from taking part in public concerts or cutting gramophone records. Panditji, therefore, though a talented musician, remained out of public focus.

He sang from All India Radio, Mumbai, for many years. He also presented a lecture - demonstration series on classical music on AIR. List of his disciples includes Shubha Joshi, a recipient of Maharashtra State Semi-classical music award and well known classical music singer and a Ghazal singer and Dilip Dholkia. Pt. Pandurangji has composed many Bandishes some of which are included in this website. He continued research in music till he breathed his last on 10th February, 2002.