I have written in the past about PanchamMagic.com’s two events every year to celebrate Indian music director R D Burman aka Pancham. These two events take place on his birthday in June and January on his death anniversary. Folks are die hard and crazy about Pancham. I am fortunate to be associated with school-mate Mahesh Ketkar, one of the founding members of this group. They began on this way back in 2000, it is amazing to see that taking such shape and form now. It has turned into cult dedicated fanatically to Pancham, which meets physically twice a year. These programs house-full with roaring audience, so that the group advertises proudly in the newspapers about the event that there not tickets available! Though these events, PanchamMamgic has taken music appreciation to a very different level. Since last 15-16 years, with over 30 events, Pancham and his creations have been examined in different fashion, different perspective and by different personalities who have been associated with him. The title of this event was inspired by TV serial Subah’s title song which was sung by Pancham.
This year’s event was titled Pancham Ek Toofan, which took place on Jan 4, 2016 at Tialk Smarak Mandir in Pune-the usual venue. The event had three guests on the list. Pandit Hariprasad Chourasia-renowned flute player, Salim Marchant-young music director, Udaykumar Dubey-dholak player. First name was a big surprise to me at least-but then I had forgotten that he (along with Pandit Shivkumar Sharma-famous santoor player) have played role music director during R D Burman’s days as Shiv-Hari, and prior to that, particularly, Hari ji, was part of Pancham’s ensemble playing flute. His interview was the longest, and impromptu, spontaneous, lively, with Hari ji enjoying every big of it, sharing various unique moments with Pancham and also with his father S D Burman.
The next one was interview with Salim Marchant, about whom I did not much, not sure how much he was associated with Pancham. The last one was also interesting, which had aging dholak player Dubey ji, sharing famous rhythms which he had played for various songs with Pancham, and also talking about his association with Pancham. The event also saw the release of video titled The Unsung Hero, which traced life and music of Homi Mullan-famous musician of Pancham’s group. PanchamMagic group had very special moments with him since early days of the group’s activities, as he took keen interest in it.
Since last few years, I have also started noticing other positive things PanchamMagic is doing, and I keep wondering about the possibilities are created and the extent of impact a simple idea can make. Apart from bringing the Pancham fans together all over the world, dissecting Pancham’s creations, and helping fans understand him as man and as artist better, the group has also revived lives of many of those musicians who were associated with Pancham during his hey-days and brought them the respect and lime-light. They also have brought out various books to the market, helped launch products related to Pancham from other parties, and more importantly, this year, bringing out the documentary of Homi da, just in time. Though he was not around to see the day, due to his sad demise last month.
It would be interesting, for sure, to watch the group over next few years as to how this might meta-morph and impact it might create further.