The year was 1991. Hindustani classical music exponent Mallikarjun Mansur was suffering from a kidney ailment. City hospitals had turned him away given the severity of his condition. That is when the Bangalore Kidney Foundation (BKF) admitted him to its hospital, treating him without a fee.

In return, the Padma Shri awardee performed at a fund-raiser concert for the BKF later that year—without charging a fee. He died a year later.

“In 2004, the 25th year of BKF, we decided to start a festival in his memory. That’s how the Dhwani-BKF Pt Mallikarjun Mansur Music Festival came into being," says Kartik Sriram, one of the seven trustees of the BKF, which was established with the aim of providing assistance to chronic kidney (or renal) disease patients.

Like the previous 11 editions, this year’s two-day fund-raiser, starting Saturday, will also host renowned classical artistes, including vocalists Malini Rajurkar of the Gwalior gharana and Kaivalya Kumar Gurav of the Kirana gharana.

Among the highlights will be a vocal recital by Jayashree Patanekar, who will be accompanied by Ravindra Yavagal on tabla and Ravindra Katoti on harmonium. The Pt Mallikarjun Mansur Memorial Award will be presented to Patanekar, who sings in the Jaipur, Gwalior and Kirana gharana styles. The award is given each year to an artiste “for his/her contribution to classical music both as a musician as well as a teacher". Previous awardees include sarod player Biswajit Roy Chowdhury and khayal great Ulhas Kashalkar.

The festival also features a section called “Artiste Of Future", which “provides a platform to emerging artistes who, we believe, have the potential of blossoming into full-fledged artistes", says Sriram. Those performing this year are flautist Sameer Rao, accompanied by Gurucharan Garud on tabla, and vocalist Priya Purushothaman, who will share the stage with Garud and Madhusudan Bhat on harmonium.

The proceeds will go to the BKF’s “One Free Dialysis a Day" programme. Under it, the non-profit provides free dialysis to poor patients. One person in 100,000 adults in the country suffers from chronic kidney disease today, according to the BKF.

“Besides creating awareness about chronic kidney disease, Dhwani provides an avenue for people to attend Hindustani classical concerts at an affordable cost ( 49), a rarity in this cosmopolitan city," says Sriram. “Traditionally, Hindustani music in Bengaluru has been expensive, perhaps because it is considered eclectic and there’s a certain aura attached to it. Through Dhwani, we are trying to make classical music more accessible."

The Dhwani-BKF Pt Mallikarjun Mansur Music Festival will be held from 12-13 September, 5-9.30pm; and 9.30am-9.30pm (Sunday), at JSS Auditorium, Jayanagar. Tickets, 49, available at the venue. For details, call Y.S. Guruprasad at 9845424053.

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