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I had to practice seven to eight hours as a punishment by my father for breaking flutes” – Pandit Ronu Majumdar

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By Suman Doonga-

Ronu Majumdar is a noted Indian outstanding and unique Flautist in Hindustani Classical tradition with deep roots from the Maihar Gharana and Ronu Majumdar is responsible for popularizing Indian flute in the younger generation.

Ranendranath Majumdar, popularly known as Ronu, was born in Varanasi on and initially trained under his father, Dr. Bhanu Majumdar who was homeorpathic doctor by profession and disciple of Shri Panna Lal Ghosh. Later Ronu Da learned vocal music from late Pt. Laxman Prasad Jaipurwale, Pandit Vijay Raghav Rao, a music scholar, who groomed Ronu into a concert flautist. He received training from talented musicians’ Grand guru Pt. Ravi Shankar jee.

Ronu never forgets one memorable incident from his childhood and recalls that “When I was six years old I used to play with flutes as a toy and broke a number of them, my father got so angry with me that he said you have broken seven to eight flutes so now your punishment is that you have to practice for seven to eight hours a day. And I started practicing my first lesson.” He adds, “This is how I fell in love with instruments”.

By virtue of Pt. Ronu Majumdar’s phenomenal talent, he and the Bansuri are literally synonymous. If the flute is likened to a temple, he would be its foremost worshipper.  Pt Ronu Majumdar is continually popularizing Indian Flute (Bansuri) in the younger generation. He has been felicitated with numerous remarkable accolades for his mesmerizing performances worldwide including teaching flute by lecture demonstration in many colleges and schools consistently.

Pt Ronu Majumdar has been felicitated with the ‘Sangeet Natak Academi Award’ in 2014 for his contribution to Hindustani Instrumental Music – Flute. Films Division of India has produced a documentary film on him called ‘Bansuriwala’. He is a style maker and has invented a unique style of flute playing and rendering the raga, which is a mixture of ‘Drupad Gayaki’ with ‘Laykari’. A concert which was conducted by him included 5,378 flautists on one stage called “Venu Naad” under the banner of ‘Art of living’ and this event got a place in Guinness Book of World Records.

 

Awards bestowed on Pt. Ronu Majumdar as India’s star Flautist has been the recipient for various prestigious awards for his journey of music some of them are  -All India Radio Award {1981} Aditya Vikram Birla Award {1996} National Kumar Gandharva Award {2006} and  Lifetime Achievement Award by Navbharat Times.

 

Pt. Ronu Majumdar was fortunate enough to get his training from grand guru Pt. Ravi Shankar. He narrates a memory here, “I went to Moscow in 1988 with Pt. Ravi Shankar ji and we were practicing orchestra with Moscow chamber orchestra, there was a portion of Russian folk chamber orchestra and the Russian conductor wanted the Indian artist to play their piece as well because they were playing our piece.” He continues, “I raised my hand and guru ji could feel the confidence in me. I played the piece without any rehearsal and got a standing ovation from the whole auditorium.”, which teacher won’t feel proud in having pupil like him and so was Pt. Ravi Shankar.

He never thought of playing in Bollywood, and says “when I retained my first award in All India Radio competition in 1981 late Pancham da called me in the studio and I played a number of memorable songs with him after that.” His albums like Bagala Mukhi Dhyana, Moksha, Banarasi Kajri and bollywood songs like Jaan-E-jigar Jaaneman, Main Duniya Bhula Dunga, Tu meri Zindagi hai, Yadd Aa  Rahi Hai and Kuch na Kaho etc., gained public attention as well as enormous popularity. Pt. Majumdar gets emotional while sharing one of the incidents, “In Varanasi Pt. Kishan Maharaj ji wanted to play tabla with me during Shivratri Mahotsav and I was not able to believe that he wants me to play with him. I still cherish those moments.” This proves that in spite of the success he got he is still down to earth and is connected with his birthplace ‘Dev-bhoomi’ Varanasi.

Pt. Ronu Majumdar is such a multi-talented personality, we could rarely come across a person like him. Apart from flute, he loves playing cricket; we can imagine his love for cricket by knowing the fact that he still tries his hands over bat. He was a big fan of Kapil Dev, and now after that Mahendra Singh Dhoni is his favourite. He loves cooking and whenever gets a chance he cooks. He’s a great writer and writes spellbinding Hindi Poetry. We are privileged to have him an Indian musician and he has given a meaning to the music with his flute.

Ronu is a very warm, loving and emotional person he always says that love for classical music and culture is  equally important as the love for our country, India. His sense of humor and Hindi poetry has managed to win the heart of many people during his concerts.

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