When Vishwa Mohan Bhatt plays his instrument – the Mohan Veena, a Hindustani slide guitar – he sends us all into raptures. We praise him and his music, and bestow honours upon him. Rightly so. But, do we ever ask who made the instrument with which the musician makes such divine music?
A musician and the music he/she produces is only as good as the instrument he/she plays: a single string not tuned properly, a single piece of material chosen wrong, the size of the hollow not exactly right….and the game is over.
Making an instrument worthy of a master calls for a unique skill and a calibre of a very high order.
The Mohan Veena that Vishwa Mohan Bhatt plays is made by this man. He wears a singlet and a pair of white pajamas most of the time, and works out of a tiny shed in a crowded part of Calcutta. Sipping tiny cups of tea and smoking Navy Cut, he supervises and guides his team of four, and ensures that every instrument that comes out of the shed is a work of art.
He has been at it for 46 years now. If anything, his passion for his art and his appreciation of music have only grown in all these years.
Meeting Bhabasindhu dada recently was a high point for me.