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Music from the soul

He is a versatile artiste - a theatre personality; composer of title tracks for popular soaps and a renowned singer. A peek into the persona of Nandu Bhende, who was in town recently.


Nandu Bhende sings to his heart's content.

"IT HAS been a very enthusiastic crowd and the response was phenomenal," says Nandu Bhende during his recent concert in the twin cities as he performed music that he grew up with - the classic rock of the Sixties and Seventies. His primary sources of music influences have been the legendary Eric Clapton with the evergreen `Layla'. In fact Claptons' incredible performance at Woodstock encouraged him to take up playing guitar. The other has been Carlos Santana. He is as enthused about the 1969 Santana hit Evil Ways as the 1999 track Smooth. "If there is one rock musician who comes close to the Indian ethos and achieves the eclectic mix of spiritualism, intellectualism and emotion, it is Carlos Santana-with his blend of exotic, Latino rhythms and exquisite bluesy melodies bathed in an environment of hypnotic trance," he says.

Bhende finds the significance and meaning that music held for the young in the Sixties and Seventies disappearing in the present times. He blames it on the current times, "the synthetic fast-paced lives of the young, busy trying to get into colleges and computer courses. And when they get the time, they listen to the music flashed on the television. Unfortunately people are watching music and not listening to music these days."

Like book reading, you form your own imagery that is exclusively yours and not of a director giving you what the idea is all about. Today a song comes with the imagery that has basically killed the medium of music. "Music helps films; it also exists independent of the films as in the US," he says.

A versatile traveller, he has represented India at the Festival of India in the former USSR in 1988 where he sang in Hindi, English, Marathi and Russian to the delight of the audience as also in1997 where he visited Korea on an ICCR tour. Apart from music performances and playbacks such as for Disco Dancer, a Hindi pop album Tere Liye and his first English album `Get Organized' featuring his original compositions and songs written for him by Nissim Ezekiel, there is the actor part of him.

A multi-faceted person, Nandu Bhende is the son of Marathi actor-director Atmaram Bhende. His role as Judas in the 1974 production of Alyque Padamsees' `Jesus Christ Superstar' has been highly acclaimed. The Indian production that ran for a year has been said to be on par with the Broadway version. He went on to do the `Mack the knife' role in Dr Jabbar Patel's Teen Paischacha Tamasha - a Marathi musical adaptation from Brecht's Three Penny Opera, remembered for its music score composed partly by Bhende. With numerous title music credits on the television such as for Kohra, Chandrakanta, Yeh Hai Raaz and Chamatkar, he is not enthused. "I am not enamoured by television," he says. This apart, he owns the state-of-the-art recording studio, the `In Sync' Studios at Juhu, Mumbai, apart from his production companies which are involved in production of music albums, FM shows, TV jingles, theatre productions and documentaries. Today, he is back to do what he likes the most, singing. "I want to do films, compose new music and sing," he says in an unabated style standing for what he is - the multi-talented Nandu Bhende.

For the young who would want to take music as a career, he says, "Passion is the prime requisite for those who wish to be a musician because music as a profession involves a lot of hard work and has no place for the glamour struck. It is the time when you have decided that you want to make music your career."

SYEDA FARIDA

Photo: P.V. Sivakumar

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