Wednesday, April 5, 2017



Kishori Amonkar ( 1932- 2017 )

 Kishori Amonkar  is no more .She died peacefully yesterday after enthralling millions for many many years with her music .

 Kishori​ ji lived in Mumbai.A small flat in Prabhadevi ( near Dadar west ) Mumbai was her world. A gifted vocalist of Hindustani Classical music, kishori ji did her riyaz till her last day.

She avoided publicity and media glare. Avoided interviews and meeting interviewers. Many visitors had to return disappointed from her flat.
She avoided going abroad to perform though invitation were always pouring in. She would always pose a question to her concert organisers:

" Sunaney vaale kaun Hain? Kya Unhey maloom Hai shastriya Sangee Kya Hai? Or what is my audience? Do they know what classical singing​ is?"

A little noise, A little casual group or serving of tea or snacks during her performance could prove disastrous. She would stop and leave.

People in Kashmir must be remembering her recital at Gulmarg Golf club in September  1989 organized by Times Of India group. The program was held in open where after  the audience and the performer moved inside  a hall due to sudden  heavy downpour.Some volunteers led by Dr Farooq Abdullah did quick arrangement in the hall as Guests and  Kishori ji were waiting to enter.We saw Dr Farooq Abdullah helping the volunteers in laying carpets, arranging chairs and making sound system functional in the Hall. During the performance , She noticed some VIPs in the audience  indulging in side talks . Add to that when Some people started serving fresh fruits and snacks to VIPs in the audience, kishori ji stopped and turned furious at organizers .In this function,  Dr Farooq Abdullah had also  desired   some Thumri to be sung by Kishori ji  which she did not like. We heard her saying:

" Music is my temple and singing is my meditation. Whosoever agrees with this statement may  sit and others are free to walk out."

 In fact Dr Abdullah had desired fruits and snacks to be served to guests. Later Dr Abdullah went to her Hotel room to apologize for all that had happened but she stayed firm. That day she   also sang “Ghat ghat mein Panchhi  bolta" a soulful Kabir Bhajan . 

That year ,Times Of India had organized grand musical events at Pahagham, Pari Mahal, Nishat garden, TRC Complex and Martand Sun Temple. Stalwarts like Bhimsen sen Joshi and Hari Prasad Chaurasia had also performed in these events. Sonal Man Singh , Well known Classical Dancer gave a spectacular performance   at Martand Sun Temple in this  series .

To her interviewers she would generally say:

"This interview​ business is at the cost of my daily Riyaaz. I have no spare time to gossip around . I want to be left alone. Before a performance ,I am too focused to speak on any issue. After a performance ,I am too tired to talk. Come and join me in my performance. Listen to my music and write. What is the interview ?Shall I praise my self? And Other than music ,I have a small personal life. Leave that to me."

Kishori ji was outstanding vocalist. Purity of Raga was her forte.She was also training so many new faces. She was born to music ,lived for music and died in it's service.

She lived a simple life .Wanted to be left alone to serve the cause of music .

She kept singing for more than seven decades and was conferred a Padma Vibhushan apart from being revered as "GAAN SARASWATI". She is the only classical singer who was held in highest esteem by every musician (vocalsit and intrumentalist) of the country.I can name some stalwarts like Daggar Brothers, Girja Devi, Bhimsen Joshi, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Lata Mangeshkar, Amjad Ali Khan ,Zakir Hussain ,Ali Akbar Khan, Parveen Sultana and many more.Even kathak Dancer Birju Maharaj remains an ardent admirer of her singing.

Music lovers will miss her distinct style of delivering a composition through a Khayaal, a Thumri or a Bhajan.A real loss to the world of music. 

 Her  soulful rendering of kabir Bhajan “ Ghat Ghat Mein Panchhi Boltaa “ has been my favourite .

“Ghat ghat mein panchhi  bolta,
Aap hi dandi  Aap taraju,
Aap hi  baitha toltaa,
Aap hi Maali aap Bagicha,
Aap hi kaliyan todtaa….. “

She is survived by two sons and grand children. Peace be to her soul. She was 85.

(Autar Mota)

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