Pandit Arun Bhaduri, one of the maestros of Indian classical musc, unfortunately passed away in a hospital in Kolkata on December 17 at the age of 75. With his demise, an era of North Indian Classical Music came to an end. I had the fortune of witnessing his glorious performance live, when he came to Bangladesh.
It was a cool February evening of 2013, when I met the senior ITC-SRA (Indian Tobacco Company-Sangeet Research Academy) Guru Pandit Arun Bhaduri for the second time, who, along with renowned Indian and Bangladeshi singers, performed in the nine-day Bangla Gaaner Utshab, organised by Bengal Foundation in association with ITC-SRA in Kolkata. This was, for the first time in history, the stalwarts of Indian Classical Music performed Bangla songs at the ITC-SRA premises.
He first came to Dhaka in July, 2012 to perform in two consecutive programmes -- one held at the District Shilpakala Academy in Mymensingh and another took place at the main auditorium of Bangladesh National Museum. Bengal Foundation hosted both the programmes titled Mayar Madhuri to promote classical music in Bangladesh. With a smile, the maestro mentioned that he had been hearing the triumph of malhar for a long time and renamed the soiree as Malhar Festival. He also performed a khayal based on Raga Mian Ki Malhar elaborating a meditative vilambit bandish and the beauty of monsoon in drut bandish.
An artiste with great depth and vision, Pandit Arun Bhaduri was gifted with a deep and sonorous voice, a brilliant range and a rare fluency. Born in Murshidabad, West Bengal, on October 7, 1943, he was initially tutored by Mohammed A Daud. He later acquired a wealth of learning from Mohammed Sagiruddin Khan on the finer points, nuances and embellishments of Hindustani Classical Music. His talent won him a place at the ITC-SRA as a scholar musician.
At ITC-SRA, Arun Bhaduri received training from the Late Ustad Ishtiaq Hussain Khan from the Rampur-Sahaswan Gharana. Padmashree Pandit Jnan Prakash Ghosh subsequently taught him both classical and semi-classical music, and made him aware of the nuances in lyrics. In his pursuit of musical excellence, he had also been greatly influenced by Ustad Ameer Khan and had imbibed the late Ustad's aesthetic qualities. Arun Bhaduri had beautifully combined all the styles to create an inimitable style of his own. He also rendered Bengali songs and Bhajans with equal ease.
As a top grade radio and television artiste, he had made his mark in the world of music with his effective blending of imagination and organised demonstration. He received many prestigious awards including Banga Bibhushan Samman in 2014.
Pandit Arun Bhaduri's legacy will remain alive and be carried forward through his disciples from all over India and abroad. Some of his notable disciples are Koushik Bhattacharjee, Kasturi Bandopadhyay, Pandit Tushar Dutta (Bangladeshi born-Indian), Indrani Mukherjee and Priyanka Gope (Bangladesh).