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Ravi Shankar 100 Quiz…Test your knowledge about one of India’s great cultural figures… (Answers page)

Ravi Shankar 100 Quiz…Test your knowledge about one of India’s great cultural figures… (Answers page)

Our light-hearted quiz about the man and his music…just how well do you know about him and his cultural legacy? Here are the answers

By Suman Bhuchar

THE MUSIC maestro and world-renowned sitar player, Ravi Shankar, would have been 100 today (April 7), and in order to honour his birthday and legacy, brings you this quiz to test how well you know the musician and his contribution to music, art and culture. Good Luck! We will reveal all to the 11 questions on Friday (April 17). Read our main story too – see the link at the end…

From Ravi Shankar gallery (

Question 1 (Q1) We all know that Ravi Shankar composed music for Satyajit Ray’s films, ‘The Apu Trilogy’ but before he did that, can you name the Hindi film he composed the music for and which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1946?

a) Neecha Nagar
b) Dharti Ke Lal
c) Andaz
d) Aurat
e) Anmol Ghadi

Answer: Correct (a) Neecha Nagar is the debut film directed by Chetan Anand, a producer, writer-director and brother of legend Dev. Shown at the first ever Cannes Film Festival, it won the Grand Prix for Best Film (along with 11 other films). This film is loosely adapted from the Maxim Gorky classic, ‘The Lower Depths’ – hence ‘Neecha Nagar’ and deals with class divisions between rich and poor. Did you know that lead actor Rafiq Anwar is father of the well-known editor Tariq (‘The King’s Speech’)? Rafiq appeared as ‘Balraj’ while director’s wife, Uma Anand as ‘Maya’. Pandit Ravi Shankar composed the music for the film. One of the stars of the film, Kamini Kaul came to Britain in 2014 and spoke to

Q2 When and where did Ravi Shankar meet violinist Yehudi Menuhin?

a) When Menuhin came to India in 1952
b) At the UNESCO music festival in Paris, 1958
c) At Woodstock Music Festival in New York, 1969
d) Pablo Casals Music Festival, 1950
e) Monterey Pop Festival, 1967

Answer: (a) Yehudi Menuhin was invited to India in 1952 by the Indian government to perform at a series of fund raising concerts for the Prime Minister’s National Relief fund. Pandit Ravi Shankar along with other musicians were invited to play for Menuhin at the house of the director, of All India Radio, Delhi Shri VK Narayana Menon. Thus began a long time artistic friendship. (You can read more here).

Q3 Which pop group introduced Ravi Shankar to George Harrison of The Beatles?

a) The Beach Boys
b) The Rolling Stones
c) Jefferson Airplane
d) The Byrds
e) The Mamas and the Papas

Answer: (d) The Byrds. This American rock band were recording in the same studios used by Ravi Shankar and they heard his music and incorporated it into their work. David Crosby, in particular, was totally inspired by Shankar’s music and became an advocate of Indian music dropping his name to the Fab Four.

Q4 In 1971 Ravi Shankar and other musicians performed the Concert for Bangladesh, where was this event held?

a) Times Square, New York
b) Carnegie Hall, New York
c) Madison Square Garden, New York
d) Apollo Theater, New York (spelt theatre in American spelling as this is how the venue is known).
e) The Cotton Club, New York

Answer: (c) Madison Square Garden, New York – Concert for Bangladesh was a pair of fundraising concert events held on Sunday August 1, 1971 at MSG New York to raise awareness and fund relief for refugees from what was East Pakistan following the Bangladesh Liberation War. More here.

Q5 Ravi Shankar was nominated for an Academy Award for ‘Best Music Score’ – name the film and for a bonus point name his collaborator?

a) Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
b) Tootsie
c) Gandhi
d) ET: the Extra-Terrestrial
e) Fanny and Alexander

Answer: (c) The 1982 film, ‘Gandhi’, directed by Richard Attenborough won 8 Academy Awards and nominations in three categories including Best Original Score by Ravi Shankar and George Fenton.

Q6 Who was the most frequent tabla accompanist for Pandit Ravi Shankar (clue: they played together at Monterey Pop Festival, 1967)

a) Zakir Hussain
b) Alla Rakha
c) Chatur Lal
d) Bickram Ghosh
e) Tanmoy Bose

Answer: (b) Ustad Alla Rakha – watch them together at the Monterey Pop Festival (on Youtube) which was one of their early highlights and where Shankar was “horrified” to see Jim Hendrix set fire to his guitar.

Q7 Pandit Ravi Shankar wore a huge diamond ring which he said was ‘manifested’ by his spiritual guru. Name that person

a) Bhagwan Shri Rajneesh
b) Sri Ramdev
c) Sathya Sai Baba
d) Pattabi Jois
e) Amma, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi

Answer: (c) Sathya Sai Baba (1926-2011) the Indian spiritual leader and philanthropist divides opinion, but his numerous good causes such as schools and hospitals continue.

Q8 As a tribute to Pandit Ravi Shankar, another musician named his child after the maestro, can you name that person?

a) Miles Davis
b) John Coltrane
c) George Harrison
d) Ringo Starr
e) Art Blakey

Answer: (b) The American jazz saxophonist and composer, John Coltrane was interested in Indian music and spirituality and named his son, Ravi after the music maestro whom he met. Ravi is also an accomplished musician and his mother is the pianist, Alice Coltrane.

Q9 The Ravi Shankar Foundation has its own independent record label that produces the work of the legendary sitar maestro – can you name the label?

a) Outcaste Records
b) Blue Note Records
c) Navras Records Limited
d) East Meets West Music
e) Angel Records

Answer: (d) East Meets West Music is the official record label of the Ravi Shankar Foundation which was set up in 1997.

Q10 In 2017 the South Bank Centre, staged the opera, ‘Sukanya’, co-produced by the Royal Opera House, The Curve, Leicester and London Philharmonic Orchestra. Who wrote the libretto for this piece?

a) Amitav Ghosh
b) Chetan Bhagat
c) Amit Chaudhuri
d) R. K. Narayan
e) Aravind Adiga

Answer: (c) Amit Chaudhuri is a poet, novelist and academic and also sings and composes. ‘Sukanya’ was Pandit Ravi Shankar’s only opera, blending both music of East and West. The great maestro was still putting it together when he died in 2012. It was completed by close friend and conductor David Murphy with help from daughter Anoushka. It premiered in 2017 – read more here.

Q11 In 2013 father, Pandit Ravi Shankar was given the ‘Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award’ but he and his daughter were both nominated for the 55th Grammy Award in the World Music category – name the album and winner.

a) The Living Room Sessions: Part 1
b) Traveller
c) Collaborations Box Set with George Harrison
d) Traces of You
e) Little Broken Hearts

Answer: (d) Pandit Ravi Shankar won with ‘The Living Room Sessions: Part 1’ – his album released through East Meets West Music record label is a recording of four ragas (melodies), performed by Shankar with this tabla accompanist, Tanmoy Bose at his home in Encinitas, California. It won the Best World Music album at the 55th Grammy Awards and his daughter, Anouskha was also nominated in the same category, with her album, ‘Traveller’.

We hope you have had fun testing your musical knowledge…how many did you get right, then?

All correctperhaps, you should go on Mastermind and your specialist chosen subject should be Pandit Ravi Shankar

6-10: Not bad, you can hold your own about one of India’s great contemporary icons… at least at the dinner table!

Less than 6 Keep reading and make sure you’re connected! 🙏🏾 – See article below to start… Thanks!

On Pandit Ravi Shankar’s 100th birthday – Southbank Centre postpones celebration to 2021; British classical music promoter reminisces about man and asssess latest biography of maestro…

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Written by Asian Culture Vulture