Ravi Shankar

Occupation:
Director, Music Director, producer, Singer, Lyricist, Screenplay, Story Writer, Dialogue Writer
Ravi Shankar
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Ravi Shankar born Robindro Shaunkor Chowdhury on 7 April 1920, often referred to by the title Pandit, is an Indian musician and composer who plays the plucked string instrument sitar. He has been described as the most known contemporary Indian musician.

Shankar was born in Varanasi and spent his youth touring Europe and India with the dance group of his brother Uday Shankar. He gave up dancing in 1938 to study sitar playing under court musician Allauddin Khan. After finishing his studies in 1944, Shankar worked as a composer, creating the music for the Apu Trilogy by Satyajit Ray, and was music director of All India Radio, New Delhi, from 1949 to 1956.

In 1956, he began to tour Europe and America playing Indian classical music and increased its popularity there in the 1960s through teaching, performance, and his association with violinist Yehudi Menuhin and rock artist George Harrison of The Beatles. Shankar engaged Western music by writing concerti for sitar and orchestra and toured the world in the 1970s and 1980s. From 1986 to 1992 he served as a nominated member of the upper chamber of the Parliament of India. Shankar was awarded India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1999, and received three Grammy Awards. He continues to perform in the 2000s, often with his daughter Anoushka.
Early life

Shankar was born 7 April 1920 in Varanasi to a Bengali family as the youngest of seven brothers. Shankar's Bengali birth name was Robindro Shaunkor Chowdhury.His father, Shyam Shankar, a Middle Temple barrister and scholar who served as dewan of Jhalawar, used the Sanskrit spelling of the family name and removed its last part. Shyam was married to Shankar's mother Hemangini Devi, but later worked as a lawyer in London.There he married a second time while Devi raised Shankar in Varanasi, and did not meet his son until he was eight years old.Shankar shortened the Sanskrit version of his first name, Ravindra, to Ravi, for "sun".

At the age of ten, after spending his first decade in Varanasi, Shankar went to Paris with the dance group of his brother, choreographer Uday Shankar. By the age of 13 he had become a member of the group, accompanied its members on tour and learned to dance and play various Indian instruments. Uday's dance group toured Europe and America in the early to mid-1930s and Shankar learned French, discovered Western classical music, jazz, and cinema, and became acquainted with Western customs. Shankar heard the lead musician for the Maihar court, Allauddin Khan, in December 1934 at a music conference in Kolkata and Uday convinced the Maharaja of Maihar in 1935 to allow Khan to become his group's soloist for a tour of Europe.Shankar was sporadically trained by Khan on tour, and Khan offered Shankar training to become a serious musician under the condition that he abandon touring and come to Maihar.