Wednesday, September 17, 2008

TUGGING ART STRINGS - DR. SOMA GHOSH


Dr Soma Ghosh ropes in actor Priyanshu Chatterji to join her quest to
revive endangered musical instruments and setting up a musical
village, Surgram. And the actor is a willing student…

When actor Priyanshu Chatterji took on the role of a musician playing
the esraj in Rituparno Ghosh's Nauka Dubi, little did her realise that
he would soon be instrumental in spearheading the revolutionary
cultural movement to revive the endangered musical instruments of the
nation. The actor who post Bhootnath as Bachchan's son, is playing the
lead in the film based on a Rabindranath Tagore novel, wanted to
actually learn the esraj to lend authenticity to his role set about
searching for a guru and realized that the instrument was no almost
obsolete with just a handful of musicians in the country.
Nevertheless, his quest led him to Dr Soma Ghosh and her passion for
music led him to stand by her cause. Today, Priyanshu Chatterji is Dr
Soma Ghosh's brand ambassador for Surgram, a musical village being
constructed in the Maharashtra-Gujarat border to revive musical
instruments.
Says Dr Soma Ghosh, "I got a call out of the blue from Priyanshu one
day enquiring about an esraj teacher. I set about helping Priyanshu
find a guru whose timings would suit Priyanshu's shooting schedules,
simply because he was genuine and really interested in learning"
It did not take Dr Soma Ghosh long to discover that Priyanshu hailed
from a musical family and soon the actor found himself being bound by
Dr Soma Ghosh's cause. "Acting is my passion and I was touched by the
plight of the artistes who were descendents of great musicians, but
live in dire poverty today. These instruments could well soon become a
thing of the past. Seeing Soma di's resolve to sing alongside these
instruments and how these instruments lent the melody for so many
timeless films, I wanted the era to come back. And I felt the desire
to contribute to the movement."
Today, Dr Soma Ghosh's movement Surgram has become a reality and with
its foundation, Priyanshu is a happy man. "Soma Di's social
organisation Madhu Murchana was already doing so much for the
artistes. Now, with Surgram, we will take it one step forward with her
not just reviving the musical instruments but immortalizing them
through the pupils who will learn it the traditional gurukul way. We
need more women of resolve like Soma di."