Comments (0)
Interviews |  26 Oct 2017 13:48 |  By Mihir Samant

There was legacy but I was not a part of it: Shashi Vyas

Shashikant Vyas or the name by which he is fondly called, Shashi Vyas has been a pioneering personality in the field of music. His vision and his way to look at things have given the classical music industry some outstanding properties.

Vyas is the youngest son of Late Padmabhushan Pandit CR Vyas thus, one would expect music to come to him naturally, but Vyas had to figure out things on his own. Despite having a musical background he chose to pursue a career as a Charted Accountant. He successfully pursued as a CA  for more than two decades. It was an inner calling that later led him to music and this gave birth to classical music label Pancham Nishad Creatives.

In an exclusive interview with Vyas talks about his journey and about how he made it so colossal. Excerpts.

You belong to a musical family, what made you choose a different path?

I never wanted to do anything close to classical music. It did have a great influence on me and there was legacy but I was not a part of it. I just happened to be a member of a family with a classical background. When you’re part of such a family, you are involved in some way or the other, but my participation was limited to being a listener. I attended all the concerts. So, though I had plans of staying away from the field the almighty had different plans.

How did music happen?

I was practicing as a Charted Accountant (CA) when I felt the inclination towards music. But, I did not have the time to balance it all back then. Incidentally, one of the senior members of my profession then told me that he would take care of my practice. In return, all he wanted me to do was to contribute something great to the world. I personally felt that quitting was a better option and I tried, but I could not. There was a lot of work in my hands and I had to complete that. But, over a period of time, things did fall into place and I took up music.

How did the idea of Pancham Nishad Creatives come to you?

I had always been a part of the classical music fraternity and I had clearly seen the leaks in the field.  I knew that it was not a clearly defined industry. There was a prominent music circle that was dying away. The youngsters were not getting the experience that was required. The need of the hour led me to ‘Pancham Nishad Creatives’.

You also ventured into publication with ACE publications & Promotions Private Limited in 2006. How did that happen?

I was inspired by The Illustrated Weekly Of India, where M. V. Kamath was the editor. Our country needs such illustrated weeklies it conveyed so much. Inspired by that we started a weekly. Unfortunately, the logistics did not work because of our shortcomings. We had almost 500 subscribers which I feel was a good beginning; they thinned out because we failed in our marketing and sales. My team was very good and even rest of the writes were doing an excellent job. It was the management of the company that failed.  We had a substantial loss in the first six months, and finally, we decided to stop it. We are now working towards restarting it. We want to start it with art, culture and entertainment, and that is what ACE means.

How did the ‘Bharat Bhagyavidhata’ documentary happen?

Fundamentally my life has been quite unplanned, once a particular idea comes to my mind then my next passion is to execute it if I am convinced about it. I had read in a newspaper that Jana Gana Mana had completed 100 years and I had read controversy about it. This is when I felt that we have been dwelling in the past unnecessarily, have misused history and misquoted it. So, I decided to make a documentary called ‘Bharat Bhagyavidhata’.

You’ve also written a book on Warkari Sampradaya of Maharashtra titled ‘Bolava Vitthal’.

This is genes, my whole family, my ancestors and everyone is a Vitthal devotee and our village is close to Pandharpur. So, I thought of doing something on Vitthal and while doing that we all just went into the colour of Vitthal with different perspectives. He was the first deity to cut across the caste system. This is how the book ‘Bolava Vitthal’ came into existence.

You’ve also been releasing music under Pancham Nishad Creatives. Tell us a bit about it.

Through our label, we just want to promote good music. We have been doing classical as well as devotional music. We want an audience that is looking out for good music.

There was also ‘Remember Shakti- where jazz meets India’.

The artiste and the programs in the west are so qualitative and immaculately done because they believe in rehearsals they believe in achieving results. They are passionately involved in their work, they just don’t do it for money and they don’t do it for the sake of showcasing their talent to the public. They enjoy because at the bottom of their heart they want to give the best to their audience. That is why I planned to start ‘Remember Shakti- where jazz meets India’; here we do a fusion of Indian music with western.

You started with a foundation called Arohi in 2002, to promote youngsters. How did the concept come to you?

We wanted to give a proper platform to the young and catch them young, even the slogan was, 'Catching Them Young'. It has been sixteen years since we started and every year we present six artistes, till now we have presented 96 artistes and we have never repeated any of them.

How do you manage it all?

Does a mother ever feel that she has struggled to raise her child? No, she doesn’t feel any pain in raising her child. As Pancham Nishad Creatives was my baby there was no struggle for me, I thoroughly enjoyed its journey. Difficulties, ups and downs are a part of life, so we have to take it in a different way.