India News

Santoor Maestro Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma Dies at 84

Pandit Shivkumar Sharma after performance and Talk in First Santoor Samaroh (Santoor Concert) at Bharat Bhavan Bhopal Clicked by Suyash Dwivedi Licensed Under CCA SA 4.0 International

Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, the renowned classical musician and santoor maestro, died of a massive heart attack on Tuesday at Mumbai. He was 84.


The musician’s secretary Dinesh reportedly told Press Trust of India that he had died between 8 and 8.30 in the morning at his Pali Hill residence in Mumbai.

Although Sharma had been suffering from renal ailments, he took regular treatment and remained active until the end, and was to also perform at Bhopal the following week, as per a family member.

Sharma’s funeral will be performed with state honours, announced Maharashtra’s Chief Minister, Uddhav Thackrey. “His funeral is to take place at Pawan Hans tomorrow afternoon at around 3 pm, with full state honours, while visitors will be allowed to pay their respects, and will be able to see the maestro for one last time, at his son Rahul’s home in Juhu from 10 am to 1 pm,” he mentioned.

Sharma was in Jammu and Kashmir to singer Uma Dutt Sharma, while his father was a tabla player, who exposed him to music for the first time, at the age of five. He gave his first public performance at Mumbai in 1995. But, it was Sharma’s internationally-recognised style of playing that turned the folk instrument santoor, into an instrument widely used in Indian classical music.

Among his several contributions to the Hindi film industry, he composed the background score for one of the scenes in director V. Shantaram’s films, Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje (1956), and collaborated with flautist Hariprasad Chaurasia for Silsila in 1980, Faasle (1985), Chandni (1989), Lamhe (1991), and Darr (1993).

The santoor maestro was the recipient of the Padma Shri in 1991, the Padma Vibhushan in 2001, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1986, three Platinum Discs, and one Gold Disc, among several other national and international achievements.

Several tributes and condolences from politicians, celebrities from the film industries, and several others have poured in, following Sharma’s demise.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote, “Our cultural world is poorer with the demise of Pandit Shivkumar Sharma Ji. He popularised the santoor at a global level. His music will continue to enthral the coming generations. I fondly remember my interactions with him. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti.”

The Congress party also expressed their deepest condolences and wrote, “We are deeply saddened by the death of Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, a Santoor maestro, who captured the imagination of millions all over the world. The Congress party extends its deepest condolences to his family, friends and fans. May he rest in peace.”


Other politicians such as Aaditya Thackrey, Ashok Gehlot, Mamata Banerjee, Uddhav Thackrey, Rahul Gandhi, Ram Nath Kovind, and several others also paid their tributes to the maestro, via social media.

Amjad Ali Khan, the sarod musician, wrote that Sharma’s demise marks the end of an era. “The passing away of Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharmaji marks the end of an era. He was the pioneer of santoor and his contribution is unparalleled. For me, it’s a personal loss and I will miss him no end. May his soul rest in peace. His music lives on forever! Om Shanti.”


While musicians Pankaj Udhas and Shafqat Amanat Ali also extended their condolences on the “loss of a great legend”, other celebrities like actor, producer, and filmmaker Farhan Akhtar, veteran actor Shabana Azmi, Bengali actor June Maliah, Bigg Boss 15 contestant Rajiv Adatia, former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri also took to social media, to pay their respects.

Pandit is survived by his wife Manorama and sons Rahul, also a santoor player, and Rohit.