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RARE PICTURES: The life and times of Pt Ravi Shankar

Last updated on: December 13, 2012 13:37 IST

RARE PICTURES: The life and times of Pt Ravi Shankar

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Legendary musician Pandit Ravi Shankar passed away in San Diego on Wednesday. He was 92.

Even before he broke down East-West music barriers and earned international recognition, Shankar was a prodigious talent with a lengthy resume. He studied under the legendary Allauddin Khan, worked as a music director for All India Radio and composed the highly acclaimed music of Satyajit Ray's Apu Trilogy.

Rediff.com beings you some of his rare photographs from our archives.

Ravi Shankar following the world premiere performance of his Sitar Concerto No.2 by the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Music Director Zubin Mehta, in 1981. Ravi Shankar teamed up with Mehta for many memorable performances.

Photograph: Marianne Barcellona/India Abroad archive

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In this picture, the maestro anoints the forehead of his Spititual Guru, Tat Baba on a hillside in Pune.

Photograph: Eric Hayes

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Shankar concentrates as he tunes his sitar, in this undated picture.

"With growing health concerns in old age, he was having difficulty in handling the sitar. So over the years we have been reducing the size and weight gradually, as per his requirement," said instrument maker Sanjay Sharma, who has been designing all his sitars.

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Shankar performs at a concert in this undated picture. The sitar exponent perhaps could be called India's musical ambassador, and was responsible for making Indian classical music popular in the West.

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Shankar hums a ragini in this undated photograph. In 1966, turning his sights outward, he famously tutored The Beatles guitarist George Harrison for six weeks, an experience that led Harrison to pen two songs explicitly influenced by Indian music, 'Within You Without You' and 'Love You To'.

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Shankar shares a tender moment with wife Sukanya, a Carnatic vocalist. Shankar was 34 years older than Sukanya when they married, and the bond remained strong until he passed away on December 11, 2012.

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Shankar with tabla maestro Alla Rakha in this undated picture.

The venerable master achieved world renown as Ravi Shankar's chief accompanist during his apex in the 1960s, delighting audiences in the West with his percussive wizardry, not only as an uncanny accompanist with flawless timing and sensitivity but also as a soloist where he was a master of improvisation, a prolific composer and an electric showman.

Photograph: Sue jones/India Abroad archive

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Shankar talks to Muscovites during his walk around the soviet capital as part of the India festival in the Soviet Union. Shankar first performed outside India in the Soviet Union in 1954.

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A 1984 newspaper cutting announcing the maestro's performance at the Felician College in New Jersey, United States.

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Pt Ravi Shankar performs with daughter Anoushka Shankar in this undated photograph. Anoushka began training on the sitar with her father as a child, with practice consisting of just a couple of sessions a week at the age of 10.

Shankar gave her first public performance at the age of 13 at Siri Fort in New Delhi. By the age of fourteen, she was accompanying her father at concerts around the world.

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Shankar with Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev (left) in this undated photograph. Nuryev was one of the most celebrated modern dancers of the 20th century.

Nureyev's artistic skills explored expressive areas of the dance, providing a new role to the male ballet dancer who once served only as support to the women.

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Shankar performs a jugalbandi (duet) with Hindustani classical musician and sarod player Ustaad Ali Akbar Khan.

In 1944, both Shankar and Khan left Maihar (Madhya Pradesh) to start their professional careers as musicians; Shankar went to Bombay, while Khan became the youngest music director for All India Radio, Lucknow and was responsible for solo performances and composing for the radio orchestra.

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Shankar with former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in this undated photograph.

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Shankar practices with wife Sukanya and daughter Anoushka in this undated photograph.

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An undated portrait of the sitar maestro.

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Shankar strikes a classic pose for this undated portrait with his sitar.

As evidence of his staying power, consider that Shankar received India's three highest civilian honours -- the Padma Bhushan in 1967, the Padma Vibhushan in 1981 and the Bharat Ratna in 1999 -- each in a different decade!

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Shankar shares a sweet moment with daughter Anoushka in this undated photograph.

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To briefly touch on a career choc-full of highlights: Shankar won three Grammy Awards, performed at the famous Woodstock Festival in 1969, published a best-selling autobiography, opened educational institutes and taught Indian classical music in America, was honoured by the prestigious UNESCO International Music Council in 1975, was an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and received the 1997 Praemium Imperiale for music from the Japan Art Association.




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