En route to a devotional journey


Your attitude when you are at the top determines how long you will stay there and how you channelise your success determines your future course.

Being internationally acclaimed for one-man-musical-theatre acts – directed, composed, written, sung and enacted by him – Shekhar Sen has remained humble and easily accessible to those who love him for what he does.

Hailing from a musically rich background, Sen brings alive the early medieval India. He was born and brought up in a Bengali family of Raipur, Chhattisgarh. His father, Dr. Arun Kumar Sen, was the Vice-Chancellor at Indira Kala Sangeet Vishwavidyalay, Khairagarh, Chhattisgarh, and mother Dr Aneeta Sen belongs to the renowned classical singers of Gwalior gharana and musicologists. “My parents are my inspiration. They were my teachers and had great expectations from me. I always look in the mirror and pray to them as I am trying to follow their path,” he says.

Though now accustomed to standing ovation each time after his acts, Shekhar has had to struggle hard to achieve this appreciation. He started as a singer, composer and lyricist and is now credited with more than 200 cassettes and CDs and over 1200 performances across the world. Shekhar has carefully preserved Indian culture and exposed the world to its rich heritage.

It was his quest for self-discovery that made him craft something that defines him today – the musical mono-acts on the Bhakti poets – Soordas, Tulsidas, Kabir, Swami Vivekananda and Sanmati. What followed were deeper improvisations of Indian culture. “Being a student of music, I always wanted to portray the best representatives of Indian culture. I thought I should bring drama and music together. This will be more effective and leave an impact on the soul,” Shekhar says.

“One couplet of Kabir or one bhajan by Soordas can tell you a lot about our country. This was the golden period of Bhakti Movement which saw the presence of great poets.”
Shekhar started with Tulsidas in 1998, and conceived Kabir in 1999. Then in 2004 he wrote a play on Swami Vivekananda. This was followed by Saahab in 2010, which presents, in a more conversational manner, the relationship between a father and
a son.

Soordas, Sen’s latest creation, tells the tale of the blind poet whose vision for his sakha or friend – Lord Krishna was all encompassing. The play was staged for the first time in Delhi at Kamani Auditoirum recently.

Having gained a deep insight into the vast expanse of Indian culture, Shekhar remembers the challenges he faced initially. “Our history talks about kings and kingdoms but not about our poets. There are many stories about them which have to be carefully weighed. Whenever I am doing a character, I always read their creations, which tells me a lot about them.”

Shekhar has remained deeply rooted in his past and that is what keeps him grounded. “Our customs and values are attached to our past. If we are not learning from the past, we will not have a good future,” he wisely opines.

His melodious voice resonates the spirituality that surrounds his acts and life. “Whenever there is unrest in society, spirituality will take over. India was always a spiritual land. We are very content with whatever we have. And that idea of being content emerges from spirituality.”

“What these poets have blessed me with is that they have made me courageous. Now I can say NO. In today’s times if you do not say NO at the right moment, you have deviated from your path,” Shekhar shares, talking about the influences of his act on his own life.

Spreading love and harmony wherever he goes, Shekhar will be performing his famous mono-acts of Soordas, Kabir and Tulsidas at FICCI auditorium over the next three days.

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