Greg MacGillivray on Meeting Ravi Shankar
We were sad to hear of the passing of sitar virtuoso and envoy to the West, Ravi Shankar two days ago. This short piece was written by founder of MacGillivray Freeman and One World One Ocean, Greg MacGillivray, as an internal memo, earlier this year, on Shankar's 92nd birthday.
While watching the recent release of the Scorsese documentary film on George Harrison’s life, Living in a Material World, I flashed back to meeting Ravi Shankar, who was such a pivotal and transcendent force in George’s transition from the Beatles to his solo career. While screening our film Everest at the Irvine IMAX Theatre, I was shocked and honored to encounter Ravi Shankar. I had left the theatre, to go get a fish taco while the first screening was underway. Outside, Ravi walked toward the theatre, alone, and I recognized him -- so I introduced myself. George Harrison had sent him a ticket. His daughter had encouraged him to drive to Irvine to see the film featuring George’s music. He’d heard good things. What I remember most was his smile. I walked him in, we exchanged addresses, and then, afterward, he told me how much he was moved by the film and George’s music. He loved the film. He said, “Let’s work together”, and I still hope we can someday. Today, he is 92 years-young. He has received three Grammy Awards and was awarded India’s highest civilian honor, the Bharat Ratna, for his public service and artist accomplishments. And, I think, for his warm, welcoming smile.
George Harrison and Ravi Shankar in 1967. Photo: John Malmin/LA Times