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Ravi Shankar on DVD Nov 25, 2002 02:22 p.m.

Hi all;
For all the Raviji fans out there (myself included),I see the DVD entitled "Ravi Shankar in Portrait" originally released in March by the BBC is available now at: This already aired on TV in Germany some time ago. I hear its the definitive biography with a lot of 2002 full concert footage, also including some footage of Anoushka.

There's only one hitch. I see that its only available and shipped from the BBC4 shop within the european union. I haven't found a source for it in the US yet (including BBC America). Its also advertised on, but I don't think they are selling it (probable license agreements). Anybody know of a US source?

Re:Ravi Shankar on DVD Nov 25, 2002 04:04 p.m.

Hi Russ, You can purchase it on <> I just did. They ship to USA
Re:Ravi Shankar on DVD Nov 25, 2002 06:54 p.m.

I saw it on plain ol but if getting from UK, better double check that it's NTSC standard!

Re:Ravi Shankar on DVD Nov 26, 2002 11:53 a.m.

Thanks guys. Didn't think about looking in Amazon. NTSC standard? I know that applies to VHS, but there's a difference involving DVD standards as well? Don't know much about DVD as I'm only just now in the market for a DVD player. Just can't seem to keep up with the technology......
Re:Ravi Shankar on DVD Nov 26, 2002 07:39 p.m.

Yes, the European format is different for DVD from what I'm told, something to do with lines per inch, ect.....
Also, don't know for sure but heard that they are backordered for months through Amazon. Tower Records has them right now, my friend just ordered one....


Re:Ravi Shankar on DVD Nov 26, 2002 11:47 p.m.

Well, taking a chance it works OK. Ordered it from Amazon just today; they said it would ship January 3rd. Also ordered a CD of Shankar Misra playing vichitra veena. Never heard that instrument before. Sounded way cool thru real player, sort of like combining a sitar with a slide guitar. Shankar Misra unfortunately is also deceased, so only a small handfull of masters left they say.
Re:Ravi Shankar on DVD Nov 28, 2002 09:28 p.m.

Gopal Mishra (Ocara sp?) and an Italian fellow (Nimbus) also perform on the instrument (vichitra veena). Frankly the Gotuvadyam/Chitraveena of the south has a much nicer tone and sustain in my opinion.
david Courtney
Re:Ravi Shankar on DVD Nov 28, 2002 10:06 p.m.

I usually prefer just to lurk on the boards and not participate, however I feel that I should jump in here.

DVDs are not like VHS tapes. Usually the ntsc/pal situation is not an issue (notice I said "usually" there are exceptions. The DVD is essentially an independent format and it is usually the player, not the DVD, that determines the format. Therefore in principle a DVD may be purchased and played anywhere in the world.

Unfortunately it does not work this way in practice.

The major film distributors simply decided among themselves that they were going to divide the world into regions. They then proceed to use a clause that was �conveniently� placed in the Digital Millennium Copywrite act to force the US government to enforce their distribution arrangements. This was accomplished by the use of a region lock.

The bottom line is simple. Almost all DVDs that are distributed in the UK are �Region 2� while the machines that are sold in the US and Canada are �Region 1�. You can not play a Region 2 DVD in a Region 1 machine.

Now there are a number of things that you can do. Many DVD players may be �hacked�, sometimes using nothing more than a few keystrokes on the remote control. Once a player has been hacked, it is then an easy process to watch any DVD from anywhere in the world.

I know that this may be an inappropriate venue, but I feel that I must step on the soapbox for a moment. This whole �region lock� affair is but a symptom of a larger problem that we have in the US. We have a government that places corporations above citizens. Although we may have �Freedom of Speech�, it means nothing without �Freedom to read, hear, and observe�. The Government has decided that you DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO BUY A DVD FROM THE BBC AND PLAY it!!! The Government will use provisions in the Millennium copywrite law to see that you do not do it.

Yours truly

David Courtney

Re:Ravi Shankar on DVD Nov 29, 2002 06:39 a.m.

Hi all!
Over here in Holland we've got the same problem concerning DVD's. Funny thing: the bigger brands still have the regioncode, but the cheaper brandless DVD-player are regionfree! You also see that a lot of people are fed up with the regioncode!! and they'll buy a cheaper one (which usually comes from the same factory as the more expensive brands, I'm told)

Also highly recommended:
Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar on Rudra Vina (or Been) Raga Yaman
Gopal Shankar Misra on Vichitra Veena (Out of silence)



Re:Ravi Shankar on DVD Nov 29, 2002 12:05 a.m.

Dr. Courtney, I imagine most folks on these forums would appreciate your jumping in any time. Wow, sounds like quite the conspiracy! If the DVD won't play on US or Japanese-made equipment, then why sell it here? That's very bad PR (and profit loss) for Amazon if folks have to return tapes or DVDs because of this incompatibility issue. I may have to ask you to explain this "hacking" a little more in case I have to use it later on...

Amitava, tell me a little more about the instrument you mentioned. I'm expanding my CD library to include many other instruments and styles.

Re:Ravi Shankar on DVD Nov 29, 2002 07:21 a.m.

And don't forget Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar's son Bahaudin Dagar on the Rudra Veena. I've bought all of his CDs that are available through Makar records and have been quite impressed.
Re:Ravi Shankar on DVD Nov 29, 2002 12:10 p.m.

I'll keep all of that in mind. Maybe the cheaper generic DVD player is the ticket here. Thanks Remco and Stephen. BTW, when I said Shankar Misra, I was actually referring to Gopal Shankar Misra. It's the Out of Silence CD that's on the way....
Re:Ravi Shankar on DVD Nov 29, 2002 04:33 p.m.

A year ago I purchased a very cheap DVD, no system indicated but really worth watching, called: Melody of Tragedy by Lata . I put it into the CDRom player of the computer and I was watching DVD of old b/w on Windows Media Player. No problem or did I do something right?
Re:Ravi Shankar on DVD Nov 29, 2002 04:39 p.m.

Russ, I assume that you are refering to the details for Gotuvadhyam/Chitraveena. Strangely it is less popular in the South that I would have thought. Ravikiran is the most well known exponent, but Durga Prasad is another performer. The best recording in my opinion to get an impression of the true sound of the instrument is by the Chandradhara label. I do not recollect the name of the CD, but it has only Ravikiran and mridangist Vellore Ramabhadran. Chandradhara also has one more CD by Ravikiran which is more fun to listen to.

Anyway, the instrument is essentially a South Indian Veena without frets - but with sympathetic strings. Ravikiran gave quite some detail on the instrument in his SAWF interview. The Chitraveena used to be played with a ebony bar, but Ravikiran replace is with a hollow teflon pipe. If I remember, there are 9 strings, including 3 chikaris (same positioning as the veena). First three (closest to player) are tuned to sa and base sa, next two a lower pa and basepa, and the last is lower sa. So a range of 2.5 to 3 octaves. Ravikiran has furthur changed the instrument (made it smaller) and added pickups (EM and acoustic I think). But the sound now is very electronic - and lost the acoustic richness. He has not experimented with signal processing I think. I anyone caught the Bhat-Ravikiran tour this fall, you experience his redesigned instrument, which I have not yet had the opportunity to see/hear.

Visit for pictures I took earlier this year - there are some of his ex-wife Veena Jayanthi's instrument and also a veena trio group. Sax, some nice tanpuras...etc are included. in the report. For the report intro/faq, start at

Re:Ravi Shankar on DVD Dec 02, 2002 11:45 p.m.

Was looking for the Ravikiran interview on SAWF, didn't find it. I think somehow I'm not navigating the site correctly. Can you post the address? Thanks.
Re:Ravi Shankar on DVD Dec 03, 2002 07:19 a.m.


Sorry I should have clarified. SAWF changed server sites and due to a lack of space, the interviews files will shift to a site I pay for. Access will still be via SAWF ( So you probably did find the correct page. Also from now on, I will be able to host only one active interview at a time, due to server/bandwidth costs. I hope to get the new insfrastructure in place in by January.

However, Ravikiran's first part of the interview (or any of the interviews posted in the past) will not be put back online, unless it is sponsored by someone.

You can visit the link provided earlier and see the list of pending interviews. Three more will be recorded by December, and publish one/month. Your post also prompted me to remember to put the speciality of the artists next to then names.

Will let you know when the series resumes.


Re:Ravi Shankar on DVD Dec 03, 2002 02:21 p.m.

Found it, thanks. Only able of course to bring up the one with Manilal.

You know, I was wondering if the gharanas section could be expounded upon, especially existing sitar gharanas. There is a fairly good history and explaination of both the Maihar and Imdadkhani gharanas on numerous websites, but apart from the Vishnupur history from Mita, that's all I can find. What other established gharanas are out there, or is this a "short list"?

I guess I left the original topic of this thread behind already, so perhaps a different one?

Re:Ravi Shankar on DVD Dec 03, 2002 09:46 p.m.


Yes a different thread.


Re:Ravi Shankar on DVD Dec 10, 2002 11:24 a.m.

Hope you guys ordered all your goodies early. I think the United Airlines chapter 11 may effect some shipments in the US. I think the Ravi DVD from Amazon may not get here til way next year so I found out today. Bummer! Anybody already have it and can to do a short review?
Re:Ravi Shankar on DVD Dec 10, 2002 12:39 p.m.

Maybe it's because I ordered early, but I got
my dvd two days after it came out from Amazon.
The visual and sound quality is excellent,
although I'm sure most sitar players would
like more hand shots. Anyway, it's two cd's.
The first is a history type thing of different
segments of Ravi's life. Old rare footage,
interviews, etc. The second is concert footage
of two ragas shot in England. He is playing quite well. I won't add any more comments other than it's a must have for any sitarist.
Re:Ravi Shankar on DVD Dec 10, 2002 12:55 p.m.

p.s. There's also an "introduction to sitar"
interview with Ravi that is very elementary, but is interesting in that it shows Ajay Sharma (of Rikhi Ram) cutting out a gourd and
showing how the sitar is put together.If you
want to know anything else about the dvd just
ask and I'll answer,just can't write much now
because I'm at work. Mark
Re:Ravi Shankar on DVD Dec 10, 2002 01:30 p.m.

Well then, GET BACK TO WORK!!!!
(Hee Hee. I'm at work too. Don't tell anybody...) Thanks for the review. Sounds just like just what the doctor ordered. 35 years later, and I'm still blown away by Raviji.
Re:Ravi Shankar on DVD Dec 10, 2002 08:35 p.m.

I actually cancelled my order from Amazon because of the delay and got it at instead within a few days. Because concert footage of ICM and Sitar is so rare this DVD was truly special. The first DVD is a documentary fairly well done. The concert at the church in London is wonderful and I must disagree with Mark, lots of up close hand shots. At times Anoushka (can't keep my eyes off her) can't fiqure out what Ravi is going to play next - he's improvising all along, and to watch Anoushka try and jump in and accompany her Bapi is interesting to watch. She just shakes her head back and forth in awe of what he's creating(esp. during Alap). The section where he's teaching a new composition ( Benares Ghat) to his students is also wonderful. I actaully tried to play along to Ravi's instructions. From what I understand the BBC also aired a special on Anoushka that maybe will make it to DVD as well? Lot's of concert footage and backstage antics from what I understand.
Re:Ravi Shankar on DVD Dec 11, 2002 07:14 a.m.

There were two DVDs at Amazon. A Potrait and Pandit Ravi Shankar - A Man and His Music. Potrait seems to be a 2002 release. Anyone seen the second?

Of course both are out of stock....

Re:Ravi Shankar on DVD Dec 11, 2002 02:29 p.m.

Neal, you are right, there are a lot of hand shots, but I guess I'm greedy because I always
want more. As beautiful as Anoushka is, I'd
rather watch her hands (guess something's
wrong with me)!
Amitava, I have the video of "The Man and his
Music". Didn't know it was available on DVD.
It was done about twenty years ago, and while
interesting is not in the same league as the
new DVD. It's a bit like "Raga" in style but
not as well put together in my opinion.
Re:Ravi Shankar on DVD Dec 11, 2002 06:02 p.m.

Geez, what a see-saw. Amazon emailed me just now that the CD shipped today. Good. Hope I don't have the region-lock issue that came up earlier!
Hand-shots? Ravi plays so fast and fluid that I have a hard time following his hands anyway...
Re:Ravi Shankar on DVD Dec 12, 2002 03:13 p.m.

CD? No, meant DVD. Getting old, can't keep it all straight! Did pick up three CDs though, Z.M. Dagar's Yaman on rudra veena, the previously noted one on vichitra veena, and also Sarangi Maestro by Ustad Sabri Khan. So, collection is beginning to get more of a spectrum. Happy listening all....
Re:Ravi Shankar on DVD Dec 17, 2002 11:38 p.m.

ZM Dagar's Yaman is absolutely fantastic! One of my favorites. Just ordered the Ravi DVD today from tower and it's on the way.......too bad I don't have a DVD player but they'll be on sale at Walmart for $10 probably after Xmas.......
Re:Ravi Shankar on DVD Dec 18, 2002 07:24 a.m.

Yes Lars, if my girlfriend hasn't picked up on all of the hints for a DVD player for Christmas, something is wrong with my ability to speak. I've pointed out every ad out there that offers DVD players for less than 50 bucks (and there are a lot of them).
Re:Ravi Shankar on DVD Dec 20, 2002 09:12 p.m.

FYI...I ordered mine from the case Amazon runs out. It was cheaper than Amazon...even with shipping
Re:Ravi Shankar on DVD Dec 21, 2002 02:09 p.m.

Mine came in today. Shipping was free (special limited time deal). Now just like everybody else, got to go buy a DVD player. Welcome to the 21st century I guesss......
Re:Ravi Shankar on DVD Dec 27, 2002 09:52 a.m.

Hey guys,
All of my hinting to my girlfriend worked out and she got me a DVD player for Christmas.
The Ravi Shankar DVD is on the way (will have to watch "A Hard Day's Night" and "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou" until it arrives).
My question about DVDs is why they are packaged in a different format of jewel case than CDs? Wouldn't it be more practical for us all if packaging for the two same sized discs to be the same? Or are the manufacturers of CDs and DVDs in cahoots with the folks that make Disc storage furniture for DVDs, CDs, VHS tapes and 8 tracks (kidding)?
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