BENGALURU: ‘Shata Tantri Veena’ or better known as Santoor needs fine-tuning often, and tuning this seventy-two-stringed instrument is not easy. After years of study, Santoor maestro Pandit Tarun Bhattacharya came up with an easy solution that can tune all the string at one go.
“The ‘mankas’ or the fine tuners are attached to every string and that makes fine tuning an easy task,” says, the first Santoor maestro of Maihar Gharana. “The ‘mankas’ are patented and if you find a musician playing the instrument with these fine tuners on then he or she maybe my student.”
Childhood with Music
Having born into a family of musicians, Pandit Tarun Bhattacharya was heavily influenced by his father and guru Robi Bhattacharya. His father was a Sitar player and a guru to 300 students at his music institute Music Academy. His mother Sova Battacharya and sister were trained in music by his father. Young Tarun would sit hours together, listening to students, at his father’s institute.
“When I was five and a half years old, I gave a performance at the institute and people liked it so much that they gave me money and chocolates,” says Tarun. The experience got him started on lessons in music.
Travelling with his father to different countries such as Russia, Canada and America and performing at many venues, young Tarun took lessons in music from his father and learnt basic etiquette, how to give a good performance and read the pulse of the audience, and how to plan a rendering to finish within a stipulated time.
Tarunji says that people and their appearances may differ with every country but the ear for music is common. “I have travelled to different countries and seen that people around the world have great respect for Indian Classical Music,” he says. “People in our country express their appreciation by saying ‘Kya Baat Hai..’, or ‘Wah Wah..’ but elsewhere the audience clap for a long duration, say about ten minutes or half an hour after the concert.”
‘Listen if You Can’t Learn’
Bhattacharyaji runs an institute called ‘Santoor Ashram’ in Howrah, his birthplace, from where he gives free music lessons especially for poor students. Many foreign nationals visit the Ashram to learn music and most of them help poor students through donations. “Each one of us have to be musical, which means, even if we can’t learn music, we must learn to listen to music. It brings us inner peace,” says Tarunji.
Tarun Bhattacharya is to perform at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Kincha Auditorium, Race Course Road on April 1, 6 pm onwards. He will be accompanying Vidhushi Bina Sen.