Raga Unveiled – Screening

Raga Unveiled Movie by Gita Desai

I had the wonderful opportunity of watching the movie/ documentary Raga Unveiled on big screen! Thanks to Indian classical music circle for arranging this movie show.

As I learnt towards the end by Gita Desai herself, the original movie is 4 hours and 20 min in length. However the one that we saw was an edited version..much shorter…about 2 hours.
But in that period of two hours, very systematically and aesthetically, the presentation of Indian classical music, more specifically the Hindustani music was completed.

The documentary covered various topics – Origin of Indian classical music, concepts of Raag, Taal, Rasa, types of compositions, types of musical instruments, Guru-shishya tradition, were well elaborated with expressions from various top notch musicians of India. The concepts were presented in an interesting way with a number of examples. Some of the key points that were driven –

1. Treat a Raag like a living being with its distinct mood and qualities.
2. Concerts are performed with spontaneity where one performer trusts and anticipates the other performer’s music. And at that moment, they come together to bring forth unique and intellectually simulating music on the spot.
3. Guru and his/her student have a unique relationship, where the Guru nurtures and shapes his disciple with his knowledge and the student honors and receives all that the Guru has to offer with utmost humility.

These and much more unique concepts are wonderfully explored and presented in the movie. The concepts are neatly interwoven with the life in India.

After the movie, Gita Desai graced the stage for questions and comments. During which she talked about her experiences in making the movie that took 4 years. She talked about the advent of the electronic media era where there is so much noise created with cell phones and computers. Her words were that “This is a storm. we have to get through this storm and see what happens..”. Very true. Within a span of a few years the world is bombarded with a highly sophisticated media current. It is a great and much needed effort to bring forth in front of the world, to think through, meditate, contemplate and appreciate our age old ingenious music which strives to bring peace.