Tunes from the Ganga – The New Indian Express


Express News Service

BENGALURU: Traveling happens to be an activity that, in many ways, sparks imagination, inspiration and resolves the clutter in our minds. While driving, looking outside the train window or trying to decipher the region beneath sitting in a flight that emotion and feeling erupt giving shape to some undefined subject, swarming our consciousness. It is one of those journeys across the river Ganga, its unforgettable sights and unique sounds which have been captured in the six-episode series of Songs of the River Ganga on Disney+Hotstar, which was released recently. The life of a music composer and his struggles during the adventure-filled journey were the primary fuel behind the scenes.

“There is no better inspiration for creating music than life. The four walls of a music studio cannot do justice to the same,” says producer-presenter of the show Shantanu Moitra. “A new composition comes to mind when a person is traveling,” explains Moitra, adding that any new atmosphere propels ideas to create music. Recalling his days in Bollywood, the Parineeta, Lage Raho Munna Bhai-fame composer said there was no time in the fast-paced Mumbai life to travel and compose, which compelled him to go back to it and pursue his passion. “I will always be stuck and will be feeding off of myself with nothing new coming out, if I don’t go back to traveling now,” he says.

The fascination of discovering the multifaceted Ganga dragged him to embark on this journey. “I set out on this journey thinking about myself, my accomplishments, my fathers’ loss, and as a tribute to all others who lost their loved ones to Covid-19. I wanted to pay a tribute to them and include them in my journey,” he notes, and the experiences formed the foundation of the Songs of the River Ganga”.

Singers Mohit Chauhan, Ambi Subramaniam, Kaushiki Chakraborty, Bombay Jayashri, Taba Chake, Maati Baani, Sid Sriram collaborated with Moitra for the series to churn out six six beautiful compositions. The singers were selected because they cannot be classified as only artistes but were among those people who had tried to help others in need during the pandemic, Moitra said. Ambi was the only non-vocalist on the show. While sharing his experiences with CE, he said the song he had composed was starkly different than what he would usually do.

“We shot in Murshidabad. The place has lost its glory but it was prosperous before the British Raj,” he recalled. The crew had an opportunity to stay on a boat which entailed existing in stunning silence, and sharing stories with each other was an experience he would take home from the show. “It was a huge healing aspect of the trip. It changed my entire mental framework amid what was happening at that time during Covid-19 pandemic, and proved to be extremely helpful.”

To start off, Moitra traversed 3,000 km on his cycle to Gangasagar, continuing to Uttarkashi encountering torrential rain. From there, he arrives at the land of salvation in Varanasi, and in Bihar he battles health agony. At Farakka Barrage, he faces an unexpected setback. In the last episode, he reaches Mayapur in Nadia district of West Bengal.

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