Bengaluru's IME Museum hosts a virtual exhibition on Indian music legends like Bismillah Khan and Ravi Shankar
The late maestro, Bismillah Khan, referred to his shehnai as his begum (wife). The late pandit Ravi Shankar played a modified sitar that was made to suit his frail frame towards the end of his life. If trivia such as this interests you, then you can discover more anecdotes about some of the legendary musicians of India through the ongoing virtual exhibition Legends of Indian Music and Their Memorabilia.
With this exhibition, the Bengaluru-based Indian Music Experience Museum (IME), debuts on the Google Arts and Culture page where some of the most well-known museums such as The Met and British Museum are listed. The IME has been shut since the lockdown but it went virtual with its online classes and cultural activities a few weeks earlier. This is the first time that their prized collection of exhibits is being showcased on the world wide web. “Ever since IME’s inception, we thought of going online, and the pandemic just propelled us to take the decision,” says Manasi Prasad, director, IME.
For the current exhibition, that’s live, Manasi says, they curated a list of names that included four Bharat Ratna awardees and other noteworthy musicians who have played a role in putting Indian music on the world map. Instruments used by these musicians are on display with detailed notes. Bismillah Khan, Bhimsen Joshi, Ravi Shankar, MS Subbulakshmi, Zakir Hussain, and folk singer C Ashwath are the featured names.
“Bismillah Khan played the shehnai at the Red Fort on India’s first Independence Day in 1947, Ravi Shankar composed a special raga and tala for the Golden Jubilee of Indian independence, MS Subbulakshmi was associated with the freedom struggle, and Bhimsen Joshi was the face of the popular song Mile Sur Mera Tumhara,” explains Manasi.
While this exhibition will be live, IME is curating a few more exhibitions on themes such as classical and folk instruments of India, contemporary musicians of India, and an in-depth exhibition on pandit Ravi Shankar to celebrate his centenary year.