‘He believed in music, not marketing’

‘He believed in music, not marketing’
Modak (R) is best-known for his melodies in Harishchandrachi Factory (above)

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By: Rishma Kapur

ANAND MODAK: MAY 13, 1951 — MAY 22, 2014

A humble man who put his work above all else, that's how contemporaries remember the composer who passed away on Thursday

Leaving a distinct void in the Marathi music industry, wellknown composer Anand Modak passed away in the city on Thursday at the age of 63. Modak, best known for his compositions for the Oscar-nominated Harishchandrachi Factory, is remembered as a passionate yet low-profile musician, who cared little for fanfare.

Nandu Madhav, who played the lead in Harishchandrachi Factory, said, "I had known him for years. He preferred to focus on his music, rather than chase recognition." Madhav added that Modak was a connoisseur of musical culture, and had a thirst for knowledge that belied his age. "I remember when we were composing music for Harishchandrachi Factory, he met some foreign artists who were playing in the city. He went upto them and asked them to come for our recording.

We were all amazed that he knew all about the instruments they used, and what kind of sound each of emit," Madhav added. Modak's association with music started in the early 1970s after he quit job at the Bank of Maharashtra. He started out composing music for TV serials with Doordarshan.

Arun Kakatkar, who worked with Doordarshan from 1972 to 1987, said, "My connection with Modak ji goes back to the 1970s. He had come to Pune from Vidarbha looking for a job. His own attachment with music goes back to his childhood since his mother was a singer. He won a lot of acclaim late in life, which should have ideally come much earlier, but he never marketed his own music."

Recalling their first recording together, Kakatkar said, "Playback singer Devki Pandit sang Aarohi for us. At the time, we had singers on one side and composers on the other, accompanied by a harmonium.

On the day of the recording, Modak ji was not available so we carried on without him. He was not in the least displeased nor did he ask me to change the dates."

Ashok Pandit, one of Modak's oldest friends and a contemporary, said, "We knew each other since our theatre days when I was a musician and he was a composer. He was there for the release of my biography, Saptasur Majhe. I last met him three months ago, when we performed in Pune along with Prabhakar Jog — three generations playing together."

Modak belonged to the old school who believed in learning and producing good music. "In our time, we had a step-by-step process — musician, then assistant and then composer — unlike today's generation," Pandit added.

Some of Modak's most famous compositions include Harishchandrachi Factory, Amol Palekar's Samaantar and Smita Talwalkar's award-winning Chaukat Raja. His last project was the recently released Yashwantrao Chavan — Bakhar Eka Vadalachi, a biopic on Maharashtra's first Chief Minister.
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