Pt. Raghunath Seth


Popular As: Pandit Ji
Birth: 1931
Death: 15th February 2014
1st Film: Phir Bhi
Last Film: Mrityudand
Work Span: 1971 - 2010 

Pt. Seth was born in Gwalior - an unforgettable place in the history of Indian classical music. As a boy, he was exposed to music through his family elders and hence developed an ear for it very early. Later on, he received valuable guidance from the eminent musicologist Dr. S. N. Ratanjankar in Lucknow. On coming to Bombay, at the tender age of 19, he met Pt. Pannalal Ghosh who enhanced his knowledge of the art of flute playing.

Pt. Seth has made major contributions towards the enhancement of flute design. He devised a bamboo key, which enabled him to play all the ragas with equal ease. With the use of the key, flutists can glide from the lowest to highest note and vice-versa. Pt. Seth's invention (the key) has received much recognition from the press and musicologists.

As a light music exponent, Pt. Seth started playing in film music since 1951. He served All India Radio, Lucknow as a music composer and music producer from 1954 - 1969. After this, he joined Films Division, Bombay as Director of Music. Besides providing excellent music in films, Pt. Seth has a number of non-film light music albums to his credit. The singers who have recorded his compositions range from legends like Lata, Asha, Talat Mehmood, Manna Dey & Hemant Kumar to Vani Jairam, Peenaj Masani and Talat Aziz.

Pt. Seth composed music for the following films:

Phir Bhi |1971|
Kissa Kursi Ka |1977| 
Ek Baar Phir |1980| 
Ye Nazdeekiyan |1982| 
Aage Mod Hai |1987| 
Shraant |1984| - Songless Film 
Daamul |1985| - Songless Film 
Seepiyaan |1988|
Mrityudand |1997|

Apart from the films Pt. Seth composed music for numerous documentaries and several TV serials. Many, including “Ocean to Sky”, “The Last Tiger”, “Mughal Gardens”, “Cross Current”, “Expedition”, “Indian Women” and “Death Sentence” were widely recognised for their music and won national awards.

Pt. Seth made his own bamboo flutes, introducing innovations like adding a bamboo key that makes previously impossible phrases, such as the meend (glissando) between Ma and Pa, easily playable. Also added an eighth hole which allows the player to extend the range of the bansuri further into the lower octave.

Not merely a performer and composer, he was also a teacher, and his disciples include Steve Gorn, Rao Kyao, Chris Hinze, Clive Bell, Sunil Gupta, Krishna Bhandari, Joshua Geisler, Chetan Joshi, Atul Sharma, Datta Chaughule, his son Apurva Shrivastava and his grandson Aditya among others. Pt. Seth passed away at the age of 83 on February 15 in Mumbai.

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