ĎAt Woodstock, who was listening to music? They were all stonedí


Pt Ravi Shankar: Then their sons and shagirds made it a little better. Things have changed gradually in a better way, so that we have larger audiences today and more people can appreciate it.

Shekhar Gupta: But I've heard that you get impatient when your audience doesn't have that same tehzeeb.

Pt Ravi Shankar: In the beginning, I had to go through a lot of problems because I started the whole performance style. How to drape the platform, place the carpet, fix the mic, the lights. This wasn't done before. Then time: the show is at 5, people trail in at 5.30, or when they please. Some walk out, some chat in the middle about business or whatever.

Shekhar Gupta: I know Kishori Amonkar has also acquired this reputation of ticking people off. She once ticked me off for sitting cross-legged.

Pt Ravi Shankar: (laughs) Bless her. But gradually things have become better. But this is the other side of it. I am talking about the musical side also, from the artiste's point of view. It is much better in a way for a large audience, to give them things that they can really take.

Shekhar Gupta: So you shortened the process. You made it more market-friendly.

Pt Ravi Shankar: It is editing, like in films. We love our Indian films, but why aren't they taking off in the West? They're too long, we need song and dance. It's the same with music. When it is completely foreign and if you go to hear an opera, you will have the same problem. I cannot go to a great Wagner opera because I think it is too long and too much for me to understand.

Shekhar Gupta: But when you first started this comprehensible format, there was a lot of criticism from old-fashioned people. They said you'd made it into western music.

... contd.

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