Interview: Chandrachur Bhattacharya - North Indian Hindustani Classical Sitar Player and Composer

By Hirak Bhattacharyya

Chandrachur BhattacharyaWashington, DC, Jan 28, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) Hirak Bhattacharyya talks to North Indian instrumental Sitar player Chandrachur Bhattacharya in this informal and candid video interview also featuring some live and extempore Sitar performances by the artist.

Hirak had been trying for a while to record this interview, since Chandrachur travels extensively with his Sitar. For the last few months, Chandrachur was traveling with Pandit Birju Maharaj, and before that, he was busy in the UK with his workshops and shows.

Chandrachur grew up extremely modestly, with his parents, two brothers and a sister living in one small room. His parents worked hard and provided for their education and developed their interest in music. His father was deeply involved in music, and studies and music were equally stressed upon by his parents.

Chandrachur started learning to play the Sitar from Debi Prasad Ghosh in Barrackpore, and continues to learn under the tutelage of Pandit Subrata Roy Choudhury.

Chandrachur is a professional Sitar player from 1985. He expresses disappointment in the lack of financial opportunity for a classical musician in modern India, and stresses on diversification from being a solo Sitarist as one of the options. He has been involved with Indian Classical Dance for around fifteen years, and is currently working with Katthak and Odissi dances. He considers himself fortunate in having an opportunity to work with Padma Bibhushan Pandit Kelu Charan Mahapatra and Padma Bibhushan Pandit Birju Maharaj. 

Chandrachur has performed all over India and across forty countries across the world. He has worked with Saswati Sen, composed music for Bhaswati Mitra, worked with Chitra Jalan of Padatik, Malobika Mitra, Amita Dutta and Pandit Vijoy Shankar. He is attached with Rajendra Gangani, the famous Jaipur Gharana Dancer. From 1997 he is  attached with Pandit Birju Maharaj and has thus played the Sitar many times with Ustad Zakir Hussain, beginning with a show in San Francisco. He met Pandit Ravi Shankar recently and remembers the meeting fondly.