Pandit Bhimsen Joshi: The Enduring Musical Legend
Pandit Bhimsen Gururaj Joshi, an Indian vocalist from Karnataka in the Hindustani classical tradition is lauded for his devotional songs or bhajans. Born on 4 February, 1922 in Karnataka, the legendary Khayal singer Pandit Bhimsen Joshi is the exponent of the Kirana Gharana.
The versatile singer nurtured the aspiration to become a vocalist since the age of 11. He captured the imagination of the TV generation with Doordarshan’s Mile Sur Mera Tumhara. The Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour was conferred upon him in 2009.
Over the years, his repertoire embraced in its fold complex and serious ragas. He was commended for his surprising turns of phrase with the use of boltaans.
Bhimsen Joshi served as a playback singer in many movies including Basant Bahar and Birbal My Brother.
With music by Shankar Jaikishan and lyrics by Shailendra, this song from the 1956 film Basant Bahar was sung by Pt. Bhimsen Joshi with Manna Dey. He went on to lend his robust voice to a song for the Bengali film Tansen (1958).
Pt. Bhimsen Joshi’s flair for devotional songs is evident in this sublime song from the 1973 Bollywood film Ankahee.
The celebrated vocalist bagged the National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer for the song Thumak Thumak from Ankahee.
His song Bhagyadalakshmi baaramma, a Purandara Dasa composition, was used by Anant Nag and Shankar Nag in the Kannada film Nodi Swami Naavu Irodhu Heege.
Two legends came together in the Marathi movie, Gulacha Ganpati - Bhimsen Joshi and Marathi writer, humorist, stage actor and music composer, P.L. Deshpande. The music was composed by Deshpande in the film directed by him and Joshi lent his voice to the song.
Listen to this jugalbandi of two maestros - Joshi and Pt. Jasraj, in this song from the film Birbal My Brother.
(The Quint is republishing this piece from its archives on the occasion of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi’s birth anniversary. It was originally published on 24 January 2018.)