It is almost impossible to condense anyone's life into three hours, let alone that of an iconic artist, so three cheers to BBC Opus Arte for Ravi Shankar in Portrait
, a two-DVD set that explores the life and work of the man George Harrison described as "the godfather of world music".
"Between Two Worlds" is a substantial 10-part documentary, telling the sitar player's life story up to his 80th birthday celebrations in 2000. The film is littered with archive footage, including the young Shankar performing with his brother's dance troupe, an emotional reunion with his teacher and guru Baba Allauddin Khan, and his celebrated collaborations with musicians such as John Coltrane, Yehudi Menuhin and The Beatles.
The second part features Shankar performing with a group of Indian musicians, including his daughter Anoushka, herself a celebrated sitar player, at the Union Chapel in London during summer 2002. The electric atmosphere is well captured here, as is the intimacy of the performance. A 19-minute introduction to Indian music and the sitar, delivered by Shankar himself, rounds off the set.
On the DVD: Ravi Shankar in Portrait features both stereo and surround sound options for the concert performance. Subtitles are provided in German, Spanish and French. The accompanying booklet provides a useful introduction to Shankar as well as biographies of his fellow performers. --Rebecca Agnew
OA 0853; OPUS ARTE - BBC - Inghilterra;