Pune, 3rd March 2022: Bharatratna Bhimsen Joshi was the only maestro, who showed voice to the world. When he used to sing, voice was a tangible material form that could not only be heard but also be seen, expressed Javed Akhtar, acclaimed poet, lyricist, screenplay writer and social activist. He was speaking as a special guest at the inauguration of the 20th Pune International Film Festival (PIFF) held at the Balgandharva Rangamandir.
He further said, “my statement about Pandit Bhimsen Joshi may sound exaggerated, but those who have attended his live concerts would definitely agree with me.”
Along with Akhtar, classical singer Pandit Satyasheel Deshpande, Dr. Jabbar Patel, veteran filmmaker and the festival director of PIFF, Meghraj Raje Bhosale, president, Akhil Bharatiya Chitrapat Mahamandal, Ravi Gupta, secretary, Pune Film Foundation, Satish Alekar, trustee, Pune film Foundation, Samar Nakhate, creative director of PIFF, Abhijeet Randive, member, selection committee of PIFF were present on the occasion.
The 20th PIFF, which is being organized jointly by the Pune Film Foundation and the Government of Maharashtra between March 3 and 10 is based on a theme based on the birth centenary years of 3 great personalities including Bharat Ratna Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, the maestro of Indian Classical Music, Bharat Ratna Satyajit Ray, one of the greatest filmmakers of all time and Padma Shri Sahir Ludhianvi, an acclaimed poet and lyricist.
While speaking about Ray, Akhtar noted that his films are still relevant because they represent the highest values of human life, namely dignity, understatement and nobility. Akhtar also spoke at length about Sahir Ludhianvi and Bharatratna Late Lata Mangeshkar.
He further praised the work of lyric writers like Majruh, Pradeep, Shailendra and Sahir. He expressed that these lyric writers should have received the greatest awards of the world like Oscar or Nobel.
He said, “Sahir was one the greatest lyric writers in the world. His songs had the people’s philosophy and made a great contribution to society.” While narrating his personal experiences of working with Mangeshkar, he said, “There can never be another Lata Mangeshkar in the world, because she was the only singer who could sing the subtext of the poetry. Her voice sang the meaning of the words.”
Akhtar further praised Pune city as the city of intellect and art. He also mentioned that PIFF is one of the very few film festivals that focuses on showing independent world cinema.
Dr Patel spoke about the expanse of the Festival. He said, “Even in the Covid era, we have received 1578 films from across the globe. We will be showcasing 110 films from 65 countries throughout the Festival.” He further informed that the Festival has received 100 Marathi Film entries out of which 7 films have been selected for the competition.
Pandit Satyasheel Deshpande spoke about the greatness of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi. As a musicologist, he gave insights about Joshi’s contribution to Hindustani Classical Music. He said, “India is known by the greatness of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi while we Indians consider him our pride.”
He further added that Hindustani classical music is the only music in the world which is performed by a solo artist with few properties and resources. With the help of very few properties, Pandit Joshi never did any fusion, never bothered about the complexity of the notes. He believed in taking his audience on a journey of his Ragas. “He was the one singer whose notes assured the audience, he always created a musical drama and gave the essence of classical singing to the Bhakti Sangeet,” said Deshpande.
The inauguration ceremony featured a cultural program by artist Sharvari Jamenis, who performed a medley titled ‘Krishna’ dedicating the performance to Late Pandit Birju Maharaj and Bharatratna Lata Mangeshkar. Dr Ganesh Chandanshivey performed the Maharastrian folk music called Gondhal and Yashwant Jadhav performed traditional Powada. Shreya Bugade and Swapnil Joshi were the Presenters of the inaugural session.
The inauguration ceremony was followed by the screening of the Opening Film titled ‘Neighbours’ directed by Mano Khalil from Switzerland.