Remembering Pt. Ravi Shankar—Sukanya Shankar Talks About Their Love & Other Things

Suruchi Patwary , 20 Apr 2020


2020 marks 100 years since the birth of seminal Indian musician, composer, educator, and sitar maestro Ravi Shankar. Few musicians can claim to have a truly global impact but Ravi Shankar’s influence spanned continents, generations, and genres, and introduced Indian classical music to countless new audiences. And to celebrate and pay homage to the legend of 20th-century music, Panditji Ravi Shankar, we spoke to Sukanya Shankar (wife of late Ravi Shankar) about her fondest memories with him, what music meant to their family and lots more. Scroll down to read the full conversation we had with Sukanya Shankar.

1. Pt. Ravi Shankar was labelled the godfather of the music world, what did music mean to him, if you had to briefly sum it up?

Music was his life. It was like breathing in and breathing out. He performed to a sold-out audience in Long Beach just weeks before he left his physical abode. He was writing the Opera for me even in his hospital bed. If I have to sum it up, there was no Ravi Shankar before, there is no Ravi Shankar now and there will never be another Ravi Shankar!

2. What was being married to him like?

It was a fairy tale and a dream world that I lived in. We were very happy and our life was in tune with each other. We had a lot of fun and laughed a lot too! I pray that I am his wife in all my lifetimes.


3. How do you think is music different today than earlier?

I think it has become more web-oriented and mechanical now. Artists want the sound to be so loud that it actually hurts the ears and it’s all about speed, unfortunately. So rarely when I hear someone sing or play a single slow beautiful note, I am deeply moved.

4. What are some of the things you learned by just observing Pt. Ravi Shankar?

Even our dog Suki who lives with us is so musical and attends all performances and behaves so well. She has sat in the front row in every major concert hall like the Albert Hall, Barbican, Carnegie Disney, Chicago Symphony and several others. So my being with him for so many years is bound to have influenced me tremendously. I am still trying to learn the humility he had.

Sukanya Shankar With Her Pet Dog Suki
Sukanya Shankar With Her Pet Dog Suki

5. What’s something not a lot of people know about you?

There is a lot that people don’t know about me and I would like to keep it that way!

6. What do you think about Norah and Anoushka following Panditji Ravi Shankar’s footsteps?

Anoushka plays Indian classical like her father and has taken the sitar to new heights and I am so glad she is taking his legacy forward. Norah is a pop and Jazz artist but she has all the genes of her dad and is an amazing musician too. They are both my stars!

Sukanya Shankar With Anoushka Shankar
Sukanya Shankar With Anoushka Shankar

7. How do you feel celebrating Panditji’s 100th anniversary?

It’s a wonderful and very moving experience to be celebrating the centenary of this great musical saint.

8. Going back in time, and since we’re celebrating the 100th anniversary, tell us about how was it watching his performance live?

Watching him perform live was one of the most exhilarating experiences. There was a hush in the hall and people stood up and gave him an ovation before even he played a note. The atmosphere was also very spiritual and at the same time very entertaining.

Here’s a fun interview we had with Anoushka Shankar recently that you can check out below!

Follow @missmalinilifestyle for more interesting updates.

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