New Delhi: The year was 1931, when the radio listeners of Bengal were first greeted by the classic composition, 'Mahishasuramardini', setting the tone for Durga Puja festivities. The ritual has since continued, and this is the 90th year of the 90-minute masterpiece created by Bani Kumar and played on the dawn of Mahalaya every year. It is still popular with people from all walks of life — irrespective of age, gender, political orientation. The composition comprises a narration depicting the creation of Goddess Durga for the annihilation of Mahishasura, the buffalo demon who was believed to have the divine blessing that he could not be killed by a man or a god. Also part of the recital are 20 devotional songs in Bangla, sung by top artistes of the time and set to tune by legendary music composer Pankaj Mullick. But what makes the recital come alive is the spirited Chandipath in Sanskrit in the rich baritone of Birendra Krishna Bhadra, a name that is almost synonymous to Mahalaya as far as Bengal and Bengalis are concerned. Who Was Birendra Krishna Bhadra? Born in Ahiritola locality of north Kolkata in 1905, Bhadra had learnt Sanskrit from his grandmother, according to… Read full this story
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