It was the tenth of December yesterday, and I look back on how quickly time seems to have flown. It seemed just like yesterday that I was laughing at a WhatsApp forward, a GIF of a happy Santa Claus holding a vaccine syringe and dancing to ‘Jingle Bells’. The jubilation around the vaccine and the expectation of a ‘final solution’ to the covid pandemic seems like just a recent event. I almost need to pinch myself to be reminded that a full year has passed, and a very eventful one at that, with the second wave, vaccinations and a multitude of variants of the virus springing forth all over the world, Omicron being the latest.
Time is such a curious thing. Sometimes one wishes it moved faster and got us out of sticky situations soon. Sometimes one wishes it moved slower so that good times can be relished slowly. And sometimes one wishes time could stand still and show us the experience of eternity. Classical music can help you experience the third.
It was just recently that a friend of mine called me excitedly, exclaiming that he was listening to a film song in Raag Yaman, and for those few minutes had the experience of complete timelessness. A feeling of being in a totally different plane of existence where there was no past, present or future. It was, he described, one of the closest experiences of eternity that he had ever had. I smiled quietly because I knew exactly what he was talking about. Very often during my Riyaaz or during my concert and even sometimes during a session with a student, I have experienced this timelessness. And with extensive experience of this phenomenon, I can say that music has the capacity to take you to this priceless state of bliss with relative ease. If I were to describe this state further, I would say that it is an experience of being transported to a different world, like a beautiful dream where time stands still. Almost like one is watching a beautiful sunrise at its most beautiful point and has frozen there. One loses connection with everyday life and the drudgery of living life in the real world and has been transported to an ethereal place.
It’s a way to experience ecstasy without the escapism of drugs or alcohol. It is a way of feeling the wonder of love without needing to be in love. It is a way to see beauty without actually having to see it.
The reason, I believe, classical music Raagas have this power is because, in essence, Raagas are connected to the ultimate and liberating spiritual truth of life that can set us free. This deep connection is hidden in the pursuit of Sur or divine sound in every Raaga. I can imagine a Raaga of Indian Classical music as a ladder, with one end firmly placed on the symbolic ground or in the harsh reality of our inner emotional state, and the other end at the doorway of heaven, holding the magical keys to fulfilment and bliss. This connection between the earthly and the divine is what we experience when we engage deeply in classical music. The timelessness comes from being able to finally bridge this gap between reality and divinity, and traverse that distance through the magic of Indian classical music.
This friend of mine who experienced this timelessness was elated as this is the closest that we can get to experiencing the divine on this earth. When this happens, it touches our very soul and allows us to weep in delight. Weep because we can finally catch a glimpse of God. We can finally be sure that there is a truth out there that is more real than our reality and yet so blissful and perfect.
Music is a stamp of God on earth. The subliminal spiritual undertones of Indian Classical music are what enable the experience of timelessness. It is there for every troubled or restless soul on the earth to experience, so accessible and yet so profound. It is time the world takes notice. Because making time stand still can never be easier.
The writer is a vocalist of both Hindustani and Carnatic Classical music, with over three decades’ experience. She is also the founder of Music Vruksh, a venture to make classical accessible for its aesthetic and wellness benefits.
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ARJUN MATHUR TO ADARSH GOURAV: HERE’S LOOKING AT THE TOP THREE OTT NEWSMAKERS
MUMBAI: The past few years have been a revelation for Indian cinema with the influx of OTT content. From handling an out-of-box idea to bringing forth a crucial issue in the limelight – our actors are going all out with their digital ventures!
While we saw some of the finest performances on the streaming platforms last year, there are a few names that define the space with their path-breaking performances, unconventional takes, and impeccable cinema sense. So, here’s rounding up the top four OTT newsmakers.
ARJUN MATHUR: You cannot have a list of the ground-breaking stars without Arjun Mathur. The international Emmy Award-nominated actor has pushed the boundaries with his non-conformist choices, like playing a gay wedding planner in Made In Heaven or shooting a show in a lockdown with The Gone Game. Now, he has Made In Heaven S2, Gone Game 2, Lord Curzon Ki Haveli, and Lionsgate Play’s next series.
PRATIK GANDHI: Pratik Gandhi became a household name with his blockbuster series, Scam 1992. The actor earned massive acclaim for his apt and flamboyant performance of Harshad Mehta. Later, he stunned the audience with his brave selections – Bhavai and Shimmy. Coming up next for the actor are Atithi Bhooto Bhava, Woh Ladki Hai Kahaan?, and Six Suspects.
ADARSH GOURAV: With his solid performance in The White Tiger, Adarsh Gourav has made it into everyone’s watchlist. The new-age actor bagged the BAFTA nomination for his performance and is all set to step into Hollywood with his next venture, Extrapolations, starring Meryl Streep.
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NEW DELHI: Behind every successful person, there are unfailing efforts of teachers. Kathak legend Pandit Birju Maharaj played the role of that guru in actor Madhuri Dixit Nene’s life.
After learning about the demise of Pandit Birju Maharaj, Madhuri, on Monday, took to Twitter and opened up about her relationship with him. “He was a legend but had a child like innocence. He was my guru but also my friend. He taught me the intricacies of dance and Abhinay but never failed to make me laugh at his funny anecdotes,” she wrote.
“He has left behind grieving fans and students but also left a legacy we will all carry forward. Thank you Maharajji for everything you taught me in dance along with humility, elegance and grace. Koti koti pranam,” she added.
Alongside the note, Madhuri posted a throwback picture of her doing mukhdas with Pandit Birju Maharaj. For the unversed, Pandit Birju Maharaj, who breathed his last on Monday, had worked with Madhuri in films like ‘Dil Toh Pagal Hai’, ‘Devdas’ and ‘Dedh Ishqiya’.
Bollywood in awe of Pushpa & Allu Arjun
Mumbai: Pushpa star Allu Arjun, the talk of the town, has absolutely impressed
his fans,audiences, actors in the South and also many bigwigs in Bollywood. The
stylish star with his emphatic performance has won the hearts of many in the Hindi
speaking regions. Now, Bollywood is all praise for Pushpa Raj aka Allu Arjun and
the movie, reiterate what the stylish star has said in the film, ‘Pushpa is not flower,
it is fire’. Completely entranced by Allu Arjun’s splendid work in “Pushpa”,
and also as the Hindi version in the North belt alone grossed Rs 100 crore
in box office collections in 25 days of its run, actors and big producers
in Bollywood have taken notice, and are now speaking about the
stylish star’s ability to charm viewers.
At a time when Allu Arjun has amassed a big fan following in
Hindi-speaking regions, there are reports of Bollywood producers lining up to cast him in their next Hindi films. Also, many
Hindi actors are showing interest to act in his upcoming pan-India movies. It is also reportedly said that producers are looking
to get Hindi dubbing or remake rights of the icon star’s upcoming films as they feel he will dominate the cinema space now.
The passion Allu Arjun put into his Pushpa Raj character is
so evident that people are just captivated by him.
LATA MANGESHKAR TO REMAIN UNDER SUPERVISION FOR A FEW MORE DAYS
MUMBAI : Giving a health update regarding legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar, her doctor on Sunday shared that the megastar will still remain in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), under the supervision of doctors for a few more days.
The Bharat Ratna recipient was admitted to Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai last week and her treatment is still going on. The 92-year-old star is suffering from corona as well as pneumonia. Dr Pratit Samdani who is treating the veteran singer said that “Lata ji is still in the ICU, she still that is why she is kept under the supervision of the doctor in the ICU.” “Lata ji will remain under the supervision of the doctor for a few more days, it is difficult to say how many days it will last. No one is allowed to meet.” The doctor also said that there is a need for people to pray for her recovery.
MOUNI ROY TO RETURN TO SMALL SCREEN AS A JUDGE ON REALITY SHOW
MUMBAI : After working in films like ‘Gold’, ‘Made in China’, and the yet-to-be-released ‘Brahmastra’, actor Mouni Roy is back to the small screen — the place where she first made her acting debut. Mouni is all set to appear as a judge on ‘Dance India Dance Li’l Masters Season 5’. Talking about the same, she said, “For me, dance is an expression. It is an amalgamation of various art forms. I am incredibly excited to be a part of Dance India Dance Little Masters as a judge. I can’t wait to watch the young kids showcasing their talent on such a huge platform.”
Mouni started her acting journey with TV shows and rose to fame with supernatural ‘Naagin’.
KURUKKU VAZHI IS A CRIME THRILLER: SHIRA GAARG
CHENNAI: What started as a surprising opportunity for actress Shira Gaarg to explore her passion became her career path once she started getting good reviews from reputed film critics for her role in her debut Tamil film Baby. Hailing from Bengaluru, Shira Gaarg was pursuing her college studies when a photoshoot caught the attention of director Balaji Sakthivel and his production team. They were looking for a fresh face for the movie Baby. She did not have any experience in acting then but after motivation from the director and support from her family she accepted the offer. Later after completion of her MBA she decided to take acting as her full time profession. Actress Shira Gaarg has recently completed the shoot for Tamil film titled Shot Boot Three directed by Arun Vaidyanathan and is currently shooting for her next movie Kurukku Vazhi directed by N.T. Nantha. In a candid conversation the actress avers, “Kurukku Vazhi is a crime thriller. It describes about what happens when people take short cut in life and how it would impact others. It is a very emotional role and the character has to go through mix of emotions. The story is about four people and what choices I make while dealing with them.” The film is produced by K Singh and A. Sharma. Apart from writing and directing the film, N.T. Nantha has also handled cinematography and composed the music. Apart from these projects, Shira Gaarg has also played the lead role in a Tamil web series Chewing Gum for Hotstar Network. She further added, “All my roles are unique and distinct. I am looking at playing meaty kind of roles. Fortunately the roles which I have played are all different and diverse.”
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