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21st February 2003 - Page 3

He won the Grammy and the Padmashree. His music was used in the movie “Dead Man Walking” and he invents his own instruments. Our school had a privilege that very few have and an opportunity to interview Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt- weaver of dreams and sweet melodies... 

Q1. What did other instruments lack that you decided to invent the Mohan Veena and the Vishwa Veena?
It isn't that the instruments lacked anything, inventing these was just a way of expressing myself and my emotions. I wanted a sound that was vibrant and powerful.

Q2: You are already a pioneer in the field of music. Is there more to come?
Yes. Definitely….it will never stop.

Q3: Do your sons also plan to follow in your footsteps?
Yes, Sahil, my elder son, is in fact, presently with Spic Macay, and performs with me on many occasions. My younger son, Saurabh, composes music for Balaji Telefilms.

Q4: How is your experience in performing abroad different from that in India?
The American audience is more disciplined and quiet. They don't talk or move in between the show. The auditoriums are better and things are more organized and clean. In India, however, people don't listen, there's not much respect for the performer. For instance, today no one seemed interested and people were talking and moving through out.

Q5: Out of all the numerous awards you have won which is the closest to your heart?
The Grammy award for its international acclaim and the Padamashree for its national significance. It was very satisfying to win such prestigious awards from not only India, but abroad as well.

Q6: You are a role model for many but who inspired you?
My guru- Pt. Ravi Shankar, Mother Teresa and Vivekananda 

Q7: In your career you have had a chance to work with a variety of renowned artists. Are here any special memories or interactions you would like to share?

While recording "Meeting by the River" with Ry Kuder, which won the Grammy, We recorded the entire track without any retakes or rehearsals as we had a great rapport from our very first meeting. 

Q8: Is there any special reason as to why you decided to incorporate the features of a Western instrument like the Guitar with those of Indian Origin like Sitar, Sarod and the Veena?
I wanted to express my individuality and wanted to explore new vistas. Someone had to do it and God chose me. 

Q9: Do you feel that after a while awards lose their significance?
We are musicians devoted to music. We don't perform with the idea of winning an award. We should be sincere and committed not for the award but for ourselves. The award comes but it isn't the objective. It is true though, that each award does have its own significance.

Q10. How is it different to perform for an adult audience as compared to a child audience?
The music I play does not change if I perform for an adult audience or if I perform for a child audience. In actuality, I am more sincere to the child audience.

Q11. Is there any message you would like to give to the upcoming musicians in our school?
Yes. One should be sincere, disciplined and patient to succeed in not only this career but any other as well. Of course, a good guru can help the student to focus on a goal. Also, respecting elders and seniors is a must and will get you far in life.

By Hemangini Dadwal, Sheenum M. Kumar and Mihika Acharya

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