Ranjit Gazmer


Born: October 3, 1941


Hindi film music, to a large extent, has relied heavily on folk music to express itself. Ranjit Gazmer has been one musician to bring folk from the northeast to Hindi films. Fondly called Kancha, Ranjit Gazmer brought with him the 'Maadal' an instrument that produced the drum and rhythm effect so synonymous with the mountainous landscapes, hilly terrains and serpentine ghats of regions like Darjeeling and Sikkim.

The origins of the Maadal can also be traced back to Nepal and its use in local folk music. Used as a percussion and rhythm instrument in many hindi film songs, the rich sound of the 'Maadal' has given a special sheen and luster to the music of the 1970s and the 1980s.

Ranjit Gazmer's early days were spent in the musical back-drop of Darjeeling. Belonging to a family of gold merchants, young Ranjit let the mystique of the hills hone his musical skills. During those formative years, he played with renowned musician Louis Banks and his illustrious father Georgie Banks. Having learnt to play almost percussion instruments like the Drums, the Tabla, Dholak, Harmonium, Vibraphone, Xylophone, Organ and the Maadal, Ranjit Gazmer spent his next few years playing for Nepal Radio before the attraction of Hindi films brought him to Bombay in the early part of the 1970s.

As a Maadal player, Ranjit Gazmer was key member of the trend-setting musical team of composers R D Burman and S D Burman during the 70s.His Maadal playing with its unique laykari and tonality has also lent a special tang to the compositions of Ravindra Jain, Bappi Lahiri and Raam Laxman.