Day 1: Several transformations at venue, but music pure and unchanged

In no mood to miss the first day of the 60th edition of the Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav on Tuesday, the crowds started streaming through narrow streets into the grounds of the New English School at Ramanbaug in old city area from as early as 3 pm.

The day saw the debut performance of shehnai duo Sanjeev and Ashwini Shankar at the Mahotsav. Their opening performance did not fail to leave its mark on the crowds slowly filling the grounds. They were visibly mesmerised.

There were many changes and additional attractions to the festival this year, but the same seating arrangements for spectators were carried forward from the previous years. One of the novelties this year, giant LED screens, were, however, an added delight for those in the Bhartiya Baithak section who could catch the expression of the artistes while enjoying the music.

Octogenarian Meenal Joshi, who has been a regular at the festival, was in the Bhartiya Baithak section. The 85-year-old said, "I have been attending the festival for the last 35 years. It has changed a lot now. Many people come but the music is still very pure. I will be coming for all the six days and hopefully if I am able, will attend even next year."

Anand Deshmukh, who has been compering the festival for well over a decade now, said that this being the diamond jubilee year, a lot of changes have been brought about.

"Technologywise, the big screens will be accessible to everyone. We hope people coming for the six-day festival will enjoy quality classical music as has been the case for over the last 60 years."

The first day also saw a performance by Meena Faterpekar of the Kirana Gharana, and Pradnya Deshpande while Rahul Sharma, son and disciple of Pt Shivkumar Sharma performed on the santoor.

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