Raag Bhoopkali is also known as Bhoopeshwari. It is believed to be a creation of Ustad Alladiya Khan of the Jaipur-Atrauli gharana. However, its emergence almost forty years after his death (1945) makes this information confusing. In the subsequent years of its soaring to popularity in music fraternities, many people credited Pandit Mani Prasad of the Kirana school as its creator. The name ‘Bhoopeshwari’ was also re-christened to ‘Bhoopkali’ by Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia in the 1990’s.
In this video, Pandit Ronu Majumdar performs alap and jod in Raag Bhoopkali. He simply calls this raga a combination of the ragas Bhopali and Ramkali. Accompanying him on the tabla is Pandit Subhankar Banerjee who delves into the poignance of the melody, providing a soulful and elegant support.
Pandit Majimdar develops the alap with poise and breathy gamaks. The jod is a condensed affair, permeated with difficult phrases that weave fast taans that flit between higher and lower octaves in sophisticated patterns. The magnificent trills created with a fluttering technique draw out the charged pathos of Bhoopkali in enigmatic tonal sentences.
Raag Bhoopkali is an audav-audav raga, which means it uses five notes in both its ascent and descent. Due to its peculiar, meandering gait, it does not fit into any of Pandit Bhatkhande’s ten thaats. Therefore, it has not been classified under any parent scale in the Hindustani system.
The situation is pretty much the same in the Carnatic system as well because when embedded into the repertoire, Bhoopkali became Raag Vasanthi. Some suggest that this raga is derived from the 16th mela Chakravakam while some others think that it is the 25th mela Mararanjani, the 26th mela Charukesi, or even the 27th mela Sarasangi.
This raga uses komal Dha in both its ascent and descent. Rest of the five notes are pure or shuddha. Its arohana and avarohana are as follows:
S R G P dha S’
S’ dha P G R S
Pandit Ronu Majumdar (bamboo flute)
Subhankar Banerjee (tabla)
Gunwant Dhadyalla (tanpura)
Raag Bhoopkali, alap and jod