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Bollywood Gharana: Seamless blend of popular songs and classical raagas

BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE

Atlanta, GA, July 12, 2019: The very cozy, elegant Buford Community Center, Town Park & Theater reverberated to a fine blend of Bollywood hits and Indian classical raagas, presented by Abhijit Pohankar’s Bollywood Gharana on June 23rd, 2019.

Presented by ARS Capital and Investment in collaboration with Can and Did Life Coach, Bollywood Gharana is a synchronous amalgamation of artists who brim not just with talent but also bear exceptional legacies, including their lead, Abhijit Pohankar, an ace keyboard artist and singer, son of renowned classical maestro Pandit Ajay Pohankar.

Gandhar Deshpande is a trained Hindustani classical vocalist, and the son of Pandit Dr. Ram and Archana Deshpande, both expert vocalists. Rahul Deo, the bass guitar player works with the legendary Asha Bhosle. Sourabh Joshi, on the acoustic guitar and vocals plays in all of Vishal Bharadwaj films, and the energetic drummer Keyur Barve, a regular in Yash Raj productions has played percussion in movies such as Thugs of Hindusthan, Kalank, to name a few. Lead female vocalist Bhavya Pandit is a playback singer, an Indian Idol winner and YouTube sensation.

Bollywood Gharana team members with Anand and Reva Banka (center) and Lakshmi Rao.
Photo by Vinod Sharma, SFA Productions.

“Bollywood Gharana is a crossover of India’s two most distinguished yet popular genres of music – Bollywood and Indian Classical,” said Pohankar. And true to his word, each of the pieces presented, a medley of melodies including ‘Do Naina’, ‘Meri awaaz hi pehchaan hain’, ‘Yeh moh moh ke daage’ among others, offered an immersive experience par excellence, a fine illustration of how Pohankar upholds his musical heritage with aplomb.

The band had the audience spellbound with the very first rendition of a song from Dil Padosi Hain originally in classical Thodi Raaga infused with rich instrumental music of harmonium, guitar, and drums.

Anchor Priyanka Aggarwal didn’t have to ask the audience for a second round of applause as each rendition prompted rich accolades as Bhavya Pandit’s mellifluous renditions of Omkaara, Pari Hu Main, Har Kisi Ko, Tum jo mil gaye ho, Dil Se, to name a few, with seamless classical infusion and rich vocals of Gandhar Deshpande and Sourabh Joshi seemed to emerge from a bottomless pit within, and soared effortlessly above the crowd to reach the ears and hearts of its listeners.

Anand Banka, a childhood friend of Pohankar said music has been his friend’s passion since very early on. Anand and Reva Banka thanked all the sponsors and Mustafa Ajmeri for his selfless service. Sheehan Banka performed a song with accompanying music. Consul Shailesh Lakhtakia and his wife, also present at the event congratulated the team on its outstanding performance.

Pohankar complimented Atlanta’s music aficionados, adding that their US tour ended on a high note with the love of its supporters, the Atlanta audience in particular.

Most of us went into the show barely knowing anything about the band, only to return home with the most memorable melodic experience by a band that truly lives up to its name, in all aspects. Bollywood Gharana is a celebration of music of the best of genres,’ and if I may say so, has created a magical genre’ of its own.

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