Mumbai: Santoor maestro and Padma Shri awardee Bhajan Sopori died on Thursday, June 2, at a Gurugram hospital following prolonged illness, members of his family said. He was 73.
‘Saint of the Santoor’ and the ‘King of Strings’, Bhajan Sopori won the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1992 and the Padma Shri in 2004. In 2009 he was honoured with the Baba Allaudin Khan Award and M N Mathur award in 2011 for his contribution to Indian classical music.
Santoor maestro and Padma Shri awardee Bhajan Sopori is survived by his wife and two sons Sorabh and Abhay, who also plays santoor. The santoor player was born in Sopore in Kashmir Valley in 1948 and belonged to the Sufiana gharana of Indian classical music. He was great-grandson of Pandit Shankar Pandit, who had developed the style popularly known as the ‘Sufi Baaj’ (style), based on Sufiana Qalam and Hindustani Classical music.
Bhajan Sopori, 50-year-old, composed music for over 6000 songs in various languages and dialects like Hindi, Kashmiri, Dogri, Sindhi, Urdu, Sanskrit, Bhojpuri, Punjabi, Himachali, Rajasthani, Telegu, Tamil, etc. and also foreign languages like Persian, Arabic, etc and his work was part of films, commercials, documentaries, serials, operas and choirs among others.