India Mourns Ravi Shankar
As news broke here of the passing of legendary sitar artist Pandit Ravi Shankar (as he was traditionally addressed), celebrities shared their condolence messages on one of India's greatest classical musicians.
“Pandit Ravi Shankar completely abandoned himself to creativity in his art. Living in vibrations, his was a spirit then, and a spirit now. When I first went to London as a student (in the sixties), Pandit Ravi Shankar was a rockstar. That I knew him personally made me one in the eyes of all the girls :),” director Shekhar Kapur (Elizabeth) posted on his Twitter account.
“Indian classical music has lost its chief ambassador and India it's Bharat Ratna (National Treasure) ...May God bless his soul! ” tweeted Oscar winning composer A R Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire).
“The end of an era in music. We have lost too many legends this year (such as Bollywood star Rajesh Khanna and recently, iconic film-maker Yash Chopra). My condolences to the family. R.I.P. Pandit Ravi Shankar,” tweeted top Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra who is also foraying into music. Signed to Universal Music / Interscope / DesiHits!, Chopra recently released her first international single “In My City” off her forthcoming debut album.
“Ravi Shankar’s sitar played for our souls. His music helped us sooth our nerves. His smile was like his music - Divine. R.I.P,” tweeted veteran actor Anupam Kher (Silver Linings Playbook).
"It is a great loss, not just to Indian music but to world music. He was a world musician,” leading classical Indian musician Shiv Kumar Sharma told a news television channel.
"The world's best-known exponent of Indian music, he influenced the Beatles, and hence everything since!” tweeted top Bollywood composer Vishal Dadlani who also fronts rock band Pentagram.
"He was a worshipper of Lord Krishna and was like the lord for us. We used to talk about everything. The classical sun of India has set and a darkness has come over. There is no artist who spread Indian music this rapidly across the world. He was unique and was a blessed soul,” said acclaimed female vocalist Lata Mangeshkar.
“This is the saddest day of my life. I was one of his closest... he was a fatherly figure to me and took care of me. He was one musician with whom every artiste wanted to collaborate. He was so energetic and enthusiastic about life,” said Indian classical artist Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt who won a 1994 Grammy for his album A Meeting By The River featuring Ry Cooder.
Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan posted a blog entry just a couple of days ago sharing the surprise phone call he received from the sitar maestro who was in the US where he was under medical treatment.
"Strangely, and for the first time, I had a call from the house of the great sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar. His wife Sukanyaji wanted to talk to me to get me to talk to Ravi Shankarji, because he had expressed a desire to speak with me,” Bachchan posted on his blog. “To get a call from this great master, this legend and icon of Indian music, must go down as one of my most privileged moments. He just wished to speak to me... He said he and his wife loved my work... whew !! ...and then he blessed me!"