INDIA. MUMBAI: Santoor maestro Padma Vibhushan Pandit Shivkumar Sharma (84), who breathed his last on Tuesday, was cremated with full state honours at a crematorium in Vile Parle in northwest Mumbai on Wednesday afternoon.
On Tuesday morning, the noted musician died following a heart attack at his Pali Hill residence at Bandra in northwest Mumbai.
His body was shifted to the Abhijit Cooperative Housing Society located at Juhu and was kept to enable people to pay last respect till 1 pm on Wednesday. A guard of honour was accorded to the maestro by the Mumbai police. Then his mortal remains were taken in a flowerbedecked vehicle to the crematorium at about 2.30 pm.
Sharma’s family members- wife Manorama and sons Rahul and Rohit, and his friends from the musical field, including Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia and tabla maestro Zakir Hussain, were present at the funeral. His son Rahul lit the funeral pyre.
The celebrities include Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Shabana Azmi, lyricist Javed Akhtar, music composer duo Jatin-Lalit, TV serial maker Asit Kumar, and singer Ila Arun paid their last respects at Abhijit Cooperative Housing Society earlier in the day.
Speaking to the media, Akhtar said Sharma’s name will always be synonymous with Santoor. When a musician learns to play an instrument like no one else, he becomes a maestro. But when Shiv Ji picked up the Santoor, the instrument got respect worldwide. In the future, whenever Santoor is mentioned, it will remain incomplete without Shiv Kumar Sharma. Akhtar had penned songs for “Silsila”, for which the music was scored by ‘Shiv-Hari’.
Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma was born on January 13, 1938, in Jammu and was the first musician to have played Indian classical music on the Santoor, a folk instrument from Jammu and Kashmir. His father, Uma Dutt Sharma, was a vocalist and a Tabla player who started teaching him vocals and tabla when he was just five.
He introduced him to the Santoor, a hammered dulcimer, a folk instrument that traced its origins to ancient Persia. Sharma started learning Santoor at the age of thirteen. Soon he got a chance to work as a broadcaster with AIR’s Jammu station. He gave his first public performance in Mumbai in 1955.
In 1967 Shivkumar Sharma, Hariprasad Chaurasia, and Guitarist Brij Bhushan Kabra recorded the light-classical album –“Call of the Valley” for the label EMI. The instrumental album followed a day in the life of an Indian shepherd from Kashmir. The album was immensely popular.
Pandit Sharma was one half of the famous ‘Shiv-Hari’ composer duo and flautist Pt Hari Prasad Chaurasia. They composed music for Hindi films like “Silsila” (1991), “Faasle” (1985), “Chandni” (1989), “Lamhe” (1991), and “Darr” (1993). He received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1986, followed by the Padma Shri in 1991 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2001.
Amul Dairy made a special doodle with the tagline “Unke her Saans Mein Saaz Tha” as a tribute to the maestro.
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