The Partap Brothers have been nothing short of an institution when it comes to the Indian classical music, especially Gurmat Sangeet. Over the years, the siblings – Davinder, Mohinder and Ravinder – have been credited with preserving and reviving the Puratan Gurmat Sangeet. They have amassed legions of fans across the globe and created a legacy that needs to be celebrated and cherished.
It was this thought that prompted New York-based Kabir Partap, son of Mohinder Partap Singh, to conceptualise a documentary series chronicling the four-decade journey of his father and uncles. With the unfortunate demise of his father in February this year due to Covid, Kabir realised the scale of their music and how impactful it has been over the years.
The documentary series is in the pre-production stage and Kabir Partap is leaving no stone unturned to make it a one-of-its-kind series that blends the best elements of documentary filmmaking – raw footage, intense reality moments and unique stories. The film will be in English and translated into Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu.
For Kabir, the documentary is a love story. “This is a tale that will resonate with all of us, as it focuses on trials and tribulations of our daily lives — family struggles, political and social events that impact us personally, expectations from our closed ones that we struggle to meet and the fight between the old and the new,” he quips.
Ravinder Partap hopes that the documentary will inspire the audience to carry forward and preserve the rich treasures of the classical Gurmat Sangeet. “We hope that after having seen the film, the new generation with keen interest in classical kirtan will reach out to us with questions. The youth must know that we are a resource for them,” he says.
For Davinder Partap, the documentary is a medium to relive the moments spent with Mohinder Partap, who, in his words, “brought a very unique element of artistry in tabla”.
“Mohinder had his own presence on stage, his own energy and flair. We will never be complete without him, but we will try our best to make him proud every time we perform on stage,” says Davinder Partap with his voice cracking.
What kept the three brothers going for more than four decades? “The passion for Gurmat Sangeet,” Ravinder says and adds “when we are performing together a spiritual, transcendental bond is created. This bond transcends worldly relationships”.
Probe the brothers about the difficulties in keeping the classical/traditional music alive today, Davinder Partap admits that there are a myriad of barriers to enter the arena, but he remains hopeful.
“My greatest hope is that parents in our community will encourage their children to pursue Gurmat Sangeet. We, as a community, must encourage and support creativeness and artists,” he says. Davinder’s hope stems from the resurgence of interest in classical music globally, especially the Puratan Gurmat Sangeet. Ravinder, the youngest of the Partap Brothers, nods in unison and adds, “A lot has changed in the past few years. For example, social media and streaming platforms have brought together fans of classical music from around the globe. The younger generation has especially taken a keen interest in reviving the Indian classical music.”
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