How ‘Bandish” came into play Anirban Bhattacharya

Priyasi Parmar

Every Raga defines a mood; it can be sad, happy, emotional, or romantic! An accomplished composer can use it to portray different kinds of timelines, tempos, and articulations.

Anirban Bhattacharya, an accomplished vocalist and musician, a gold medallist and mentored by none other than the Gods of Raga themselves, Pandit Ajay Chakrabarty and Pandit Birju Maharaj, majorly spoke about how “Bandish” came into play, what was Raga and how it defined any music composition and Indian Classical Heritage.

Enlightening the audience at the Yogananda Webinar, he began with sharing that Raga was a principle that bound all musical notes in a scale — in simple words — a visual, an imagination, and an emotion. Seasoned musicians realised the potential of Raga but they were of the view that it could not be passed on to the generations, as there was a vast variety of Ragas and every Raga had a different relationship between notes. The question was, how to pass on the knowledge that had been gathered through generations and keep it alive forever? This is when “Bandish” came into play.

“Bandish” has been derived from “Band”, meaning close, but Anirban preferred to call it a closest, just like a safe, where essential qualities and principles and the essence of Raga was preserved.

“Bandish” was like another sound but it carried all the qualities and essential rules that a particular Raga preserved into it, and indeed, all true properties of Raga were presented by “Bandish”.

At the start of the Indian film industry, music and film directors recognised the true and exact potential of “Bandish” and started making more sound sequels of it, so as to spread the richness of the great Indian Classical Heritage. This was how “Bandish” became a part of films and music composition. Giving an instance, Anirban conveyed how great films like Rani Rupmati (1957), Sur Sangam and Amar Prem got instant fame through the composition of “Bandish”.

He further spoke about “Raga Smaj” and its arrival in the Hindi Cinema by giving the most prominent example of Kishore Kumar in the film Amar Prem (1972). “Kuch toh log kahenge, logon ka kaam hai kehna, Choddo bekar ki baton mein khahin beet na jai Raina”.