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O.S.Arun, Sanjeev Abhyankar serve heady music mix
The jugalbandhi between O.S.Arun and Sanjeev Abhyankar on the third day of the Hindu Friday Review November Fest on 20, 2009 was a special one this time too for the Chennai audience. The jugalbandhis in the previous editions of the Fest saw two musicians of distinct genre from the North and South meet and exchange ideas and exhibit their musical prowess. The maiden edition of the Hindu Friday Review November Fest in 2005 saw Carnatic vocalist Bombay Jayashri from South and Flautist Ronu Majumdar from the North engage in a musical match. In 2006, legendary Carnatic musician Dr.Balamuralikrishna and his disciple vocalist Pandit Ajay Chakraborthy enthralled the Chennai audience. In 2008, star vocalists T.M.Krishna and Bombay Jayashri, both groomed by different gurus, came together for Susvara Samyuta and made telling mark. O.S.Arun, trained by his father O.V.Subramaniam, is rooted in Carnatic music but has captivated music buffs with his Hindi devotional recitals. Sanjeev Abhyankar, groomed by his mother Shoba Abhyankar, is a star disciple of Pandit Jasraj, carrying the torch of Mewati Gharana. Arun and Sanjeev Abhyankar began with a Bihag alap, exploring the rag in their own styles distinctly. Arun introduced a surdas composition “Jasumathi Mann Abilash Kare” based on Vatsalya bhakthi in their concert titled `Sur Sagar'. Lyrics flowed with lovely expression. `Kab Ve Dant dood ke dekhun”( when the baby Krishna will get his first milk tooth) and when child krishna will call ``Baba and ma'' these expressions flowed so well as Arun and Abhyankar sang.

Arun took the lead. With his majestic voice, he made the lyrics familiar to the audience. Abhyankar followed it up nicely with a composition of Surdas “Akiyan Hari Darshan Ki Pyasi”(Mishra Bhatiyar), which means longing for Lord Krishna. Abhyankar sang this so well. His voice was absorbing. And, he showed dedication. In the next bhajan of Sur Sagar, Arun explained how bhaktha Surdas, though a blind, had an insight and could see Lord Krishna and say whether Krishna was wearing a Pitambar or a blue colour dress et al. In a composition, he says “Mere Ankho me basse”(Rakesri rag) mere jiyo me basse, mere ang ang me basse''. Surdas says Krishna is present in his eyes and everywhere. Arun sang this with dedicated bhakthi and Abhyankar joined him and gave a good expression to the lyrics. In one of the compositions “Sab Se Unche Prem Sagai” (Jansamodhini), Krishna does everything for dharma and prem. He helps Yudistir in his Rajasuya Yagna and drives Arjun’s chariot. Though a Prince, Ram eats the fruits offered to him by Sabari. Surdas's composition was well portrayed by Arun and Abhyankar with their melodious merging of voices. There was yet an offbeat composition of Surdas on Kanditha Nayaka (it means angry with the beloved). This somewhat resembled padam and javali of Carnatic music, Arun said. It was full of nayika bhava, Arun added. The song “Mohe chuo Nai”(Abogi) was rendered finely by Arun and Abhyankar after a sumptuous alap by both. Here the beloved says to Krishna ``You are Sarvajna. And, all of us are fools.'' A composition on hatred “Mohe ki Payal and Ab mein nachoon bahut Gopal” saw Abhyankar giving full expression to the beautiful lyrics. This resembled raga Madhuvanthi. Sur Sagar came to an end with a Rasalila composition of Surdas based on the rag Gamanascrama as “Gopi Gopal Baal Raas Mandala” . The audience enjoyed it with claps. The song was quite rhythmic and contained arresting lyrics. Arun and Abhyankar drew the curtain down with Lord Narayan’s namavali, elevating the stage to ecstatic bhakthi. The two percussion artistes on tabala - Sayee Sravan and Arun Gawai - played enthusiastically. Milind Kulkarni on Harmonium gave a good accompanying support.