21 Song Salute to the Great Lata:
Madhuvanti is a very beautiful raga and is considered to be one of the late afternoon or pre- evening ragas. It is safe to say that raga Madhuvanti finds its origins in raga Multani. Madhuvanti is a very recent addition to the Hindustani ragas and it is none other than Ustad Vilayat Khan – the sitar maestro, who played it first in the 1940s.
So Madhuvanti emerges from raga Multani when you change the Rishabh and the Dhaivat from their komal versions to their shuddha versions and just by doing this, it becomes a very different raga compared to Multani. It has similar chalan but it doesn’t resemble Multani at all. It becomes a bit more joyful, because of the komal swaras changing to the shuddha swaras.
To begin, advanced listeners of Hindustani classical music can take a deep dive into raga Multani, it uses the Todi scale – komal rishabh, komal gandhar, komal dhaivat and teevra madhyam and it uses the chalan of Bhimlalasi.
Next, you should look at the scale of Madhuvanti. What Madhuvanti does is it replaces the komal rishabh with the shuddha rishabh, and in the uttarardh it replaces the komal dhaivat of Multani with the shuddha dhaivat.
While exploring the chalan of Madhuvanti, we see that the rishabh is omitted in the aroha, and the lagaav of gandhar is like Multani – it comes from the teevra madhyam. Then, the ‘re sa re, re sa re sa’ is also like Bheempalasi. [‘sa ga, ga ma, ma pa, ma ga, sa ga ma pa, ma ga, ma ga re sa re re sa’].
You will see that it's just like Multani, but still Madhuvanti sounds very different. And then we move on to the pancham, you can rest onto the pancham. And then give a touch of dhaivat – ‘ga ma pa dha ma, ga ma pa dha pa, dha pa pa’. And then the nishad goes from the pancham, again omitting the dhaivat - like the ‘re’ is omitted in the poorvang, the dhaivat is omitted in the uttarang in the aroha.
You will notice that the chalan is really not so complex, it is straightforward like Bheempalasi and the same like Multani.
Madhuvanti is a beautiful raga and is very popular amongst the instrumentalists but for some reason, you really don’t find many Bollywood songs based on this raga, not even in the 70s.
However, there is a very beautiful song by Madan Mohan and Lata Mangeshkar – “rasme ulfat ko nibhaayen to nibhaayen kaise…” is based on Madhuvanti.
The full RagaParichay session with a wonderful bandish in teentaal, can be accessed here: Raga Parichay : Madhuvanti
More on www.youtube.com/ragaquest