Want to Meditate for PEACE? ...Listen to Pt. Ronu Majumdar’s Flute
Pt. Ronu Majumdar
Proudly says ‘imd1’ for
Flautist - Music
A style maker through his flute, Pt. Ronu Majumdar believes in creating new blends of music with his flute. He is famous for blending the Dhrupad Gayaki with Layakari. A scintillating performer, Ranendra Majumdar, popularly known as Pt. Ronu, can make anyone addicted to the serene sound of his flute. By virtue of being able to play the bansuri in a manner so transcendental, he can be considered synonyms to the instrument itself.
Team imd1 was mesmerized by the symphony of this artist and couldn’t resist noting down his life journey! Read on to know this ‘Bansuriwala’…
We are really keen to know, how did your journey begin?
My father, Shri Bhanu Majumdar plays the flute very well. As a child, I used to fidget with it a lot. Once accidently, I broke it and as part of my punishment I was told to learn to play it in order to understand the importance of music. Needless to say, my father was my first teacher. Later as my interest developed, I started my training with Pt. Pannalal Ghoshji. During the entire progressive session, Pt. Vijay Raghav Rao also gave me guidance. I was fortunate to get trained from the grand guru Pt. Ravi Shankarji also. Later, I started training for vocals from Pt. Laxman Prasad Jaipurwale. It has been a very fruitful journey with so many mentors around.
Quote for Life
“Enjoy Music and Live Music”
Kapil Dev, Dharmendraji, Amitabh Bachchan, M.S. Dhoni
Pt. Ravi Shankarji, RD Burman, Kishor Kumar
Food I love
Gujarati recipes include Dal Dhokali and Kadi Chawal, Bengali dishes like Shukto and rasgullas
Food I hate
Had I not been Musician then…
Like Vacations at
Best place Home with family, Switzerland, Manali
Favorite Past time
Like to write Poem and Watch Live Cricket
Mere pass Maa hai”, “Aaj Tum Khush to bahut hoge” – film Deewar
‘Maharana Pratap’ and ‘Yeah jo hai zindagi’ as series and ‘Pyaasa’, ‘Mother India’, ‘Deewar’, ‘Tare Jameen Par’ as Movies
‘Amitji’, ‘Dharamji’, ‘Ajay Devgn’, ‘Nargisji’, ‘Madhubala’, ‘Nutan’, ‘Kajol’
What’s your success mantra?
Work is worship. Doing things with sincerity and full honesty will surely give good results.
What were the hardships that you encountered and the way you overcame in your journey?
Being compared constantly to Pt. Ravi Shankarji always bothered me. It was hard for people to understand that I am a style maker. Acceptance was just not easy. Somewhere around 1973, I had a recording with R.D. Burman but, due to the difference in my style, I wasn’t accepted. However, words of Acharya Rajneesh i.e. Osho always motivated me - “You are born unique and you are no resemblance to anybody in body as well as your work.”
Success is incomplete without its share of failures. How should one overcome them to move on?
There is nothing called struggle or failures. You are bound to learn from your failures and those little hurdles are the struggles. As much as they are uncalled for, they are extremely mandatory to make you learn. If you achieve success in your initial phases itself you might lose out on basics which will be troublesome later. Chances could be that you have a greater failure later. You need to struggle first in order to succeed. People are usually afraid of their competitors and they feel that competitors will destroy their career. This is not true. You are the creator of your own career and no one else. All you need to do is believe in yourself and not be afraid of competitors. Cherish the struggle as a natural learning process.
Do you think Music and its learning can be helpful in life even if one does not want to consider it as a career goal?
A hobby is necessary to enrich one"s life. Music can be a hobby which can make one feel very peaceful. It is okay to not see a career out of it. For instance, playing cricket is my hobby. It isn’t my career yet it makes me feel good!
Who has been your influencer in this journey & how?
Pt. Zakir Hussain has always been a big support system. Apart from being a guru, he is like an elder brother to me. He was someone I always admired as a child. R.D. Burman has also been a big inspiration. Playing with his troupe is still something I will always remember. Kishore Kumar never failed to amaze me with his simplicity and ability to sing effortlessly.
Which was “that” moment when you considered yourself as “I am the 1”?
In 1988, at Moscow, a Russian piece was required to be played on Indian Flute. Pt. Ravi Shankarji called me by referring to me ‘Computer’ and asked me to play the flute piece which nobody else was able to play. Getting that kind of acknowledgement by Pt. Ravi Shankarji, at the age of 24 in huge public front made me feel that I am really the one for this space.
Did you get any formal training and how was that journey?
My father Shri Bhanu Majumdar was my very first teacher. For further training, I was sent to Pt. Vijay Raghav. Finally, I got trained by Pt. Ravi Shankar. Moreover, my vocal training was under Pt. Laxman Prasad. All these gurus have distinctive roles in my life. I learnt a lot from all of them in my entire journey. I never asked them what they were going to teach me but, just let them bestow their knowledge upon me. In current times, people and in particularly parents, ask what the gurus are going to teach. That shouldn"t be the case. When you go to a guru, you should just learn what guru teaches you and return home with their teachings by gathering what we call "Gyaan."
Could you reflect on the importance of systematic training in Flute playing?
In yesteryears, there was a parampara of Guru-Shishya in gurukul, where shishya gained trainings from Gurus. Coaching is an extremely modern word which Britishers gave us. The old culture and method of gurukul should be encouraged. It is still followed by a few people in India. Culture is something that will never die. It is bound to emerge again prominently enough, even if it starts fading away.
What are the pre-coaching essentials e.g. Right age, mindset or any other?
There are no such pre-requisites. For instance, Pt. Ravi Shankar started his training at the age of 19 and then achieved his ‘Bharat Ratna’ at the age of 79. One can start his Training from the age of 5 or 6 itself but, there is no harm in starting late too. Passion is utmost important. Some children are god gifted with talent. It needs to be nurtured with parental support. Take the instance of the 5 year old kid, Jayesh who sings beautifully in Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Li"l Champs. He is playful like any other kid of his age but, when starts singing, it is just too blissful.
Technology and scientific training has been changing the way people get trained in Music. What’s your take?
Ofcourse, technology plays a huge role in learning music. I teach Indian classical music to students of Sadhana School which is based in Chicago through Skype. However, it doesn"t require any scientific training as it is not science. It is all about creativity which is taught from the heart and not from the mind. Science is a factual whereas music is abstract.
How can one select an ideal ‘Guru’ for getting formal training for Music?
The toughest job before learning music is to select the guru to learn it from. In yesteryears, gurus used to tell if any of their students is fit to continue his teachings or shall he take the training from better gurus. But, now gurus need to think broadly and beyond monetary gains as they need the honesty to identify their students" talents and give them critical analysis of their skills and capabilities.
What according to you, can be a scope for improvement in training for Music in India?
Not much improvement is needed in the training of classical music. Bollywood and filmi songs need a lot of improvement. The form and structure of the songs needs to be developed so that they have some meaning attached to them. Mixing different kinds of beats and creating a song which is structureless is not music. We need more songs like R.D. Burman"s last song ‘Kuch Na Kaho’ and the song from the movie Parineeta – ‘Piyu Bole’.
What do you suggest for better accessibility of music in remote parts of India?
The presence of gurus in various parts of India is not scarce. But, unfortunately they are paid less in rural areas and as a result they lose the motivation to teach in those areas. During the era of Rajas and Maharajas, the people from the palace used to patronize good musicians. Now, this duty is in the hands of the government. They need to promote music in rural areas. However, it is extremely difficult to do so as they have issues of national importance to cater to. The industry and corporates are next-in-line to be able to do so. Sponsoring gurus in remote areas can help a lot. Also, music should be treated as an essential subject in school and crucial enough when a student shows interest to have a career in music.
In your opinion, what are the basic key traits apart from formal training that make “imd1”?
Now-a-days, people learn music to get fame or simply to come on television. Even parents want their child to achieve fame and hence, keep pushing their child for the same. I won"t recommend this kind of motivation at all. You cannot run behind success before investing enough in the art. You need to love music with all your heart, be passionate about it and only then will you get success.
Your piece of advice to parents and new generation especially when some people are skeptical about career in extra curriculum.
Due to the failures that parents faced in their life, they unintentionally put pressure on their child to be the winner. Parents generally ask their child the reason behind not standing first in a competition. It is the wrong way of dealing with the child. Instead they should ask their child why were they unable to sing a particular "Raag." My advice is to parents is simple - don’t pressurize your children and let their learning be fun. Encourage and support their talent but, never coerce anything upon. Children nowadays are attracted towards glamour and want to make it big faster. They need to focus on learning good music before anything else.
One thing which you feel you want to change from the past while you walk down memory lane…
I wish to engage myself regularly in yoga pranayam but, I am unable to do so. Also, I wish to be more spirituality even though I belong to the glamour world. I know no one else can make this happen in my life but, me. As it is rightly said “Moko Kahan Dhoondhe Re Bande Mein To Tere Paas Mein,” I hope to move towards the path of moksh and achieve it soon.
How can one identify and encourage talent in the family?
According to me, talent cannot be identified. It is very natural and will emerged naturally. Talent is inborn and will be noticed.
Any other thoughts you want to share?
There are some pieces of music that extremely amazing but, they are not known to people. I often ask my students to listen to a pieces of music they have never heard before. Surprisingly, many new singers are unable to sing pieces composed by the older generation of music directors. This is because they know only a few ragas and don"t have an in depth understanding of music. Gradually, they are learning to sing old bollywood songs. We need to promote the training of classical music. Unfortunately, in India music is just restricted to Bollywood songs. Personal music albums are not recognized as in other parts of the world. We are terribly in need of appreciating non–film music. Indian artists need to be given better platforms to showcase their talent.