Biography

Musical Style
 

In addition to the main gurus, Asit has been fortunate to receive talim for brief periods from quite a few very knowledgable and gifted musicians belonging to different gharanas and styles. For example, Asit in his mid-twenties was fortunate to provide vocal support to Pandit Firoz Dastur of Kirana gharana and Pandit V.R. Athavale (disciple of Pandit Vinayakrao Patwardhan of Gwalior gharana and Ustad Vilayat Hussein Khan of Agra gharana) among quite a few others and also receive talim from them for a limited time. Asit has tried to use all this diverse experience to form his own way of singing Khayals

 

Of course, the most important theme of Khayal is the raga in which it is performed. Khayal is just a form or a way to bring forth the melodic structure called raga. As a result, not just the aochar or the bol-vistar that are traditionally used to express the melody, the total presentation including the fast laya parts like taankari  is also to express the same thing, the melody. Hence, anything and everything that may interfere with the purpose of exposition of the raga is to be strictly avoided. There is no reason why ragas that are melodically close to each other cannot be distinguished in all segments of the Khayal presentation, including taankari. Asit subscribes to the view that the purpose of those specific parts or the angas of Khayal that are apparently to do with only virtuosity, for example, fast taankari, is not for showing off technique and riyaz. In fact their purpose is the same, and that is to bring about the mood of the raga. Khayal is a very rich form of vocal music, and several angas that use different ornamentations and embellishments can be used for the purpose of raga-exposition. Doing riyaz for a better technique is a means to reach the destination, and not the destination itself.

 

Asit has come to realize that purity of vandish is very important, That includes vandishes of all layas: vilambit, madhya and drut. Asit prefers mostly traditional vandishes (that is, compositions of Niyamat Khan Sadarang, Firoz Khan Adarang, Bhupat Khan Manrang etc.), although at times it becomes very difficult to ascertain the lyrics uniquely. In addition, Asit also likes to sing vandishes that are composed in more recent times, for example by such personalities as Ustad Vilayat Hussein Khan, Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Ustad Amir Khan, Pandit Jnan Prakash Ghosh, Pandit Gajananbua Joshi, Pandit S.N. Ratanjankar, Pandit V.R. Athavale, Pandit Jagannathbua Purohit (Gunidas), Pandit Tansen Pande (born as Husseinuddin Dagar) and Pandit Ramashreya Jha. Asit prefers to sing vilambit vandishes mostly in Jhumra and Tilwada, and only occasionally in other talas like Ektal, Teental or Jhaptal. A melodious vilambit vandish, rendered in perfect tune, using minimum number of breaths, and  in one or two cycles of the tala where at the end of the asthayee, the mukhra arrives smoothly without any stutter or hesitation, sets up the whole presentation of a Khayal.

 

For such a dynamic vocal form of raga-sangeet such as Khayal, Asit has come to realize that pure shuddh vani (as in Dhrupad) during aochar, vandish and bol-vistar is not fully appropriate. Hence shuddh vani needs to be modified appropriately to some extent, while care should be exercised so that tonal depth of the notes is not compromised. 

 

Asit also prefers that there should also be a smooth transition from the calm and contemplative mood of raga-vistar to taankari. Asit tries to avoid sudden transition from raga-vistar into sargams and taans. There are several angas of a traditional Khayal that helps to build up the climax gradually from slow layakari to full-throated aa-kaar taans.

 

For most ragas, the mandra saptak holds a special charm for Asit. He has carefully developed most angas of Khayal including different varieties of taans deep in the mandra saptak as well.