The story of Tansen is a universal reckoner for musical virtuosity. His ragas are believed to be at the foundation for Hindustani music that forms the identity of India’s classical traditions. Even though he lives on as a legend, his life is a concoction of fact and fiction.
Of the many people who have examined the times of Mian Tansen, one such person is Sudheer Rikhari, the Director of Tansen, a classic drama presentation, that has been performed 37 times since its first show in 2017.
Here it is one more time with new deliberations.
It has been an unending search for meaning, according to Rikhari. “What was the purpose of Tansen’s life? What can we learn from it? How did his talent come to be honoured, what made him a great human being… were are some of the questions we posed to ourselves.
The answers have eluded us and I am very glad at this. That’s precisely the crux of Tansen’s life. It is the thing that took him from normal to great: an appetite for knowledge and its never-ending chase.
We highlight that relentlessness through this play,” he says.
When you find that perfect answer, another journey emerges from within it. The former meaning that made perfect sense seizes to sustain for long. A new question begins to penetrate.
Only when you drop your sense of self, do you come near the answer. “Tansen always remembered an important lesson that his guru Swami Hari Das gave him. He said the actual journey of an artist lies between two surs (musical notes).
The duration between the two is when time seizes to exist, you drop everything you know about yourself and your music to attain creative salvation. The search begins and ends there,” says Rikhari.
Tansen’s greatness didn’t have a benchmark. It was timeless. Keeping that in mind, the drama improvises with every staging. “It is a chance for us to read more into his life, to Tansen’s context better. Maybe next time we can try giving a name to what that perpetual search that haunted him.
Anything is a possibility in our imagined world and who knows, perhaps one day, we will be closer to the answer,” says Rikhari.
On: September 14, from 5 pm to 7.30 pm At: Shri Ram Centre Auditorium, Mandi House.