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The family better known as the Mangeshkar family and the first “Musical family” have never missed any anniversary of their father, Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar. His anniversary was first observed and organised by Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar when she was thirteen (or may be fourteen) and she has been organising a musical festival in gratitude and as a tribute from the Mangeshkar family, herself, her sisters Meena, Asha Bhosle, Usha and their brother Pandit Hridaynath Mangeshkar.

She has been taking active interest in this annual musical ritual for more than seventy-three years. It was only this year that she couldn’t be as active as she always was and could not even make it to the venue at the open grounds of Parle Tilak Vidyalay in the suburbs of Mumbai where it has been observed during the last three years. The grand musical function spread over two long evenings has been organised by the Deenanath Smriti Sansthan and Hridayesh Arts with thousands of people thronging the grounds to be a part of the festival of music.

It all began on the evening of April 23 when a number of some of the leading singers sang their hearts out at what some of them called the most wonderful and marvellous festival of music. It started with the “local boy”, Hrishikesh Ranade who has now made a name for himself on an international level and what followed was one great and mellifluous voice after another. Among those who sang all kinds of popular songs were Bappi Lahiri who could still sing and make the audience sway and ask for more with his voice as young as it was when he made his debut at twenty-three with the song “Chalte chalte” followed by hundreds and thousands of other songs sung in Hindi, Bengali and other languages. The other singers who regaled the hearts of music lovers were Kavita Krishnamurthy, Sadhna Sargam, Bela Shende, Tulsi Kumar (sister of the head of T-series, Bhushan Kumar), Himesh Reshammiya and Amaal Malik, the son of Daboo Malik and the nephew of Anu Malik who stole the hearts of the audience and added a dash of emotion wh en he sang “Saaranga teri yaad mein” composed by his grandfather Sardar Malik. The big surprise of the evening was Raja Hassan who had that touch of class and the classical about the most difficult to sing songs which he made look so effortless and easy. Hrishikesh Ranade who started off the evening also brought it to a close with two songs, one in Marathi and one in Hindi. The next evening, April 24 was a celebration of another kind. It started with the Deenanath Awards being presented by Padmavibhushan Asha Bhosle to personalities from different walks of life. Among those honoured were writer and poet Arun Sadhu. The noted journalist, editor and writer of international repute Dileep Padgaonkar was the next to receive the award and he donated the prize money of Rupees one lakh to “Naam” the organisation started by Nana Patekar to help farmers facing drought, famine). His announcement was followed by Pandit Hridaynath announcing a donation of Rupees five lakhs to “Naam” on behalf of
the Mangeshkar family. Among the other personalities who were honoured by Asha Bhosle with the Deenanath Award were singer Ajay Chakravarty, actor Jeetendra, filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali and actor Ranveer Singh who spoke on video about the honour done to him by the prestigious award and promised Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar that the award would encourage him to work better. He seemed to be moved as he spoke. Lataji who could not make it to the event spoke on the mobile and wished all the winners and made it a point to remember the day when Jeetendra was standing outside the Famous Recording Studios where she was recording a song and how she had stroked him on his back and asked, “Kyu chupke se shaadi kar li aur mujhe bulaaya bhi nahi”, Jeetendra who is seventy-five now but looks hardly fifty looked as he was trying to remember that incident. Lataji’s voice even though on the mobile while speaking to her nephew Adinath Mangeshkar received a tumultuous ovation. Asha Bhosle remembered her father as a young and handsome man in Goa who had a voice that could touch any heights. She spoke about how he inculcated the love for music among his children and wanted them to always be the best. The awards function was followed by a musical concert. It opened with a duet by Kaushiki Chakravarty and Rakesh Chaurasia and the festival that was so very different from so many other festivals was nearing the end. The concert reached crescendo when Ustad Rashid Khan and singer Hariharan engaged in a musical performance that changed the colour of the night. All credit for organising this kind of a rare festival goes to Mr. Avinash Prabhawalkar, Chairman Hridayesh Arts who works like a man possess d days before the concert can start. I must also thank all the sponsors because it is extremely difficult to find sponsors who can be involved in an event which can only be described as “an event among events”.

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