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Shivkumar Sharma, Classical Musician and Bollywood Composer, Dies at 84

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Shivkumar Sharma, the Hindustani classical musician and co-composer of several memorable Bollywood film soundtracks for the late Yash Chopra, died on Tuesday in Mumbai. He was 84.

Sharma, addressed by the honorific Pandit, had suffered kidney related ailments for the past six months and eventually succumbed to a cardiac arrest.

Born in Jammu, Northern India, Sharma became a exponent of the classical instrument santoor. Already well known in Hindustani music circles, he shot to international prominence in 1967 when he recorded the album “Call of the Valley” alongside his long time collaborator flautist Hariprasad Chaurasia and guitarist Brij Bhushan Kabra for EMI.

While their classical music careers flourished, Sharma and Chaurasia also composed several Bollywood film soundtracks for eminent filmmaker Yash Chopra, beginning with “Silsila” (1981), starring Shashi Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Rekha, Jaya Bachchan and Sanjeev Kumar. Under the screen credit Shiv-Hari, they composed seven more soundtracks for Chopra including “Faasle” (1985). “Vijay” (1988) “Chandni” (1989) “Lamhe” (1991) “Parampara” (1993) and “Darr” (1993), which was a breakthrough film for Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan.

“Sahibaan” (1993), directed by Chopra’s former associate director Ramesh Talwar, was the only film Shiv-Hari composed for outside the Yash Raj Films banner.

The Shiv-Hari duo were nominated for the prestigious Filmfare award in the music category for “Silsila,” “Chandni,” “Lamhe” and “Darr.”

Indian honors accorded to Sharma include the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1986, the Padma Shri in 1991 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2001.

Sharma is survived by his wife Manorama and sons Rahul, who is also a noted santoor player, and Rohit, a Bollywood executive.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “Our cultural world is poorer with the demise of Pandit Shivkumar Sharma Ji. He popularised the Santoor at a global level. His music will continue to enthral the coming generations. I fondly remember my interactions with him. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti.”

Our cultural world is poorer with the demise of Pandit Shivkumar Sharma Ji. He popularised the Santoor at a global level. His music will continue to enthral the coming generations. I fondly remember my interactions with him. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti.

— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 10, 2022

Filmmaker Shekhar Kapur tweeted: “Amazing musician and composer.. a man that always was kind and forever smiling … the beautiful sounds from his #Santoor will forever be present in our hearts .. condolences to Rahul and all the family”

Amazing musician and composer.. a man that always was kind and forever smiling … the beautiful sounds from his #Santoor will forever be present in our hearts .. condolences to Rahul and all the family 🙏🙏 #ShivkumarSharma

— Shekhar Kapur (@shekharkapur) May 10, 2022

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