Habitat World Online Culture Calendar

Vanraj Bhatia was a composer par excellence. He is famously credited with his enriching and expansive contributions to the New Wave Cinema in India. From Govind Nihalani in Tamas, to Shyam Benegal in Ankur; from Aparna Sen in 36 Chowringhee Lane to Vidhu Vinod Chopra in Khamosh, and with Vijaya Mehta, Kundan Shah, Prakash Jha; you name it, his music deepened the debuts and the corpus of many up and the coming filmmakers. With a formal training in Western music (he was a student of the legendary French composition teacher, Nadia Boulanger), he is the best-known composer of Western classical music in India. Bhatia composed music for some of the iconic plays that were produced at the National School of Drama, such as Brecht‘s Chalk Circle, directed by Carl Weber, Three Penny Opera directed by Fritz Benniwitz, AndhaYug and Tughlaq directed by E Alkazi. “None of us were trained singers but the genius in him made us sing the most complex compositions, enjoying and acting.  There were musical scores available for each Brecht play by Hans Eisler, but Vanraj refused to take a cue from these composers and designed his own new compositions which were fresh and out of the box,” shares actor MK Raina.

Needless to say, we feel the loss, but to cherish, and celebrate the legacy of Vanraj Bhatia, we have curated a small programme of his films as homage.

Last fortnight, we heard the devastating news of the demise of Pandit Debu Chaudhuri, and his son Pandit Prateek Chaudhuri. We are in mourning with the music community, and with a heavy heart bid adieu to the gifted Sitar duo through a reminiscence of their performance.

We also pay our respects to Dr. Ashish Ganju, and Anshuman Pandey. Both were long-time supporters and collaborators of IHC, who regularly brought speakers, lectures, and programmes, Dr. Ganju through GREHA, and Anshuman through Spandan Communications. Almost every monthly, or bi-monthly calendar had their mention.

Our weekly updates of the Metropolitan Opera, New York, Films.Dance, Rang Smaran and Another Screen continue.