|ARTS TRIBUNE||Friday, December 7, 2001, Chandigarh, India|
Love of audience my greatest
Worthy daughter of legendary singer
KALAPINI Komkali’s fate was sealed even before she was born. The awesome inheritance of Hindustani classical music that resided in her genes goaded her to follow the path trodden by her illustrious parents, Kumar Gandharva and Vasundhara Komkali, instead of becoming an ordinary librarian as she originally aspired to be. So, here she is, a rising star in classical music who has not only proved to be a worthy daughter of a legendary singer, but also has managed to put her own stamp on Gwalior gayaki.
"If you possess a true gayaki it can never be imitative, it is a living thing that develops with the life lived," says Kalapini. "You do not get the whole of gayaki at once, it is always one step at a time." Listening to Kalapini you recognise that though the rich legacy she inherited from Kumar Gandharva gave her an initial edge, a break, beyond that she is on her own.
Kalapini is as moody an artiste as they come. But once you listen to her singing the "svara" as a part of the Raga using the same technique her father used to do, you tend to overlook her moodiness just as an artistic vagary. Her voice and musical presence already possess that impact that is almost spiritual.
"I started singing seriously only after completing my postgraduation in library science," says Kalapini. "However, I had been trained in the basic fundamentals by my mother, Vasundhara Komkali, before I presented myself as a disciple in front of my father," Her first performance was about eight years ago in Mumbai and now several performances later, she has carved a niche for herself.
Kalapini has already cut two albums, "Aarambh" and "Dharohar". "Dharohar was released only about 15 days back," she says, "but the acceptance of my debut album ‘Aarambh’ tells me that my second album is also going to be appreciated by music lovers all over the country."
What saddens Kalapini is that Hindustani classical music has been limited only to a certain class of society. "Earlier they used to write songs based on classical music even for films, but now no one thinks of writing melodious songs which have even the slightest touch of classical music," she says. But no, Kalapini herself is not interested in giving music for any film songs.
An active trustee of the Kumar Gandharva Sangeet Academy at Devas, Madhya Pradesh, Kalapini has dedicated her life to presenting and promoting the genius of Kumar Gandharva. "I have about 8,000 hours of my father’s live recording and would like to start an archive to preserve them," says Kalapini, discussing her future plans.
How does she like to be known as her
father’s daughter? "I do not mind being known as his daughter
as I know the heights he attained are impossible for any other human
being", says Kalapini. "Voices like his are born in a
millennium," she adds.
Love of audience my greatest award: Suraj
SURAJ Singh, a popular artiste, who has used his training in classical music to perfect his rendition of popular Kashmiri songs, is one of the most sought-after music teachers of Jammu. He gives lessons to those aiming to graduate in music at the Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Sciences, a sponsored school for music and fine arts.
Suraj Singh teaches vocal music and shares an amazing camaraderie with his students. For him, learning music has been a constant part of his life since childhood. "I started singing when I was about 5 or 6 years old. I began learning classical music seriously when I was 10...but the love for music was there since I was very small," says Suraj Singh.
For him learning is a continuous process. "I am still learning music from Pt Jagannath Shivpuri. I have been under his tutelage ever since I was a kid."
"I learn music even as I teach and pass on my skills to my students as I believe learning continues all through one’s life," he adds.
His students have immense love and respect for him. One pupil, Dinendra Kumar, says, "He teaches with a lot of love. I have been his student for the past three years. I have never seen him lose his temper even if a student keeps making mistakes. "
The teacher, on his part, is full of admiration for his students. He adds, "The situation is so bad here. But still the enthusiasm of the students is astounding. They come here to learn music from very remote parts of Jammu despite all difficulties."
Suraj Singh recently won the first prize at a Pan India Mega music final organised by a top-rung music programme of a private channel.
Thrilled that the biggest names of the Indian music industry judged the show and chose him the winner of numerous awards, Suraj Singh says his greatest award is the love of his audience.
"Here in Jammu and Kashmir, audiences have given me a lot of love. There would just be a handful of places that I have not visited...more or less I have covered entire India, even far-flung places of the country like Lakshadweep."
He sings in various languages like pahari, gojri, Punjabi and bhadrawai...apart from Dogri which happens to be his mother tongue.
As a singer he is satisfied with all he has achieved, but has just one unfulfilled dream. "I have cut about 10 albums till now...I also sing for serials telecast on local DD channels...My only wish now is to sing for films."
An A-grade composer at the Srinagar
centre of All India Radio, Suraj Singh has amassed a considerable fan
following, and a stint in films, his students and admirers feel, will
give him the national recognition which he deserves. ANI
WHILE guns blaze away and innocent civilians are killed in many parts of the world, some dedicated producers and TV channels have found some time for compassion and reminded us, the citizens of the world, how many problems we have in common and what even ordinary people can do to alleviate them.
First, on World AIDS Day, the BBC telecast a touching programme "Nkosi’s Story", on a 12-year-old black South African boy who was born with AIDS infection, who watched his mother die soon after, and knows he himself is going to die. He is adopted by a white teacher who is able to give him better help than his impoverished relatives. We see Nkosi, an exceptionally intelligent and sensitive boy, who is very articulate in English, a thin scraggy boy who somehow manages to break periodically into a bright smile, who knows his fate is unavoidable death, who is brave and despondent by turns. He describes every physical problem he has to undergo and every fleeting emotion. Equally touching is his patient and caring foster-mother, who cooks and teaches, takes him to doctors and, what is very important in this context, encourages him to be filmed throughout his last illness as an example of bravery. With endless injections poked into his almost bloodless arms, Nkosi even flies to the USA where he becomes a hero on TV, raising funds for others by his eloquence. And courage.
It is a highly emotional programme, down to his last moments, when Nkosi is in a coma and possibly unaware of the whispered words of comfort from his foster-mother. The tributes in South Africa and worldwide after his death are a tribute to the indomitable human spirit even in a little boy was not even a teenager at the time of his death. I once watched a BBC programme where six persons, facing certain death through cancer, volunteered to voice their experiences, including their feelings and the physical discomfort they endured. They had all volunteered to be filmed and the producer treated them with the utmost tact and delicacy with no obvious intrusion into the patients’ privacy or the feelings of their relatives. "Nkosi’s Story" had the same approach and none of the physical goriness and sometimes guinea-pig doctors’ approach when describing cases in, say, "Hospital".
It was also World Disability Day and Barkha Dutt’s "Reality Bytes" literally followed a physically challenged young man from an affluent family who propels himself in a small three-wheeler or with a walker into buses, when he could have been provided a chauffeur-driven car by his family. He makes his long and hazardous way through heavy traffic to the centre where he helps out others with similar problems. It is many kilometres to his destination and we see the cruelty with which he is treated by passers-by when he asks for simple help on the street. He is even turned away at a barber’s shop where he is refused a hair-cut because he is physically challenged. As for government promises, made annually for such elementary aids for disabled people as ramps or special buses, the less said the better. One always hopes that such programmes highlighting such serious national problems have some effect. Not only on the powers that be, but also on ordinary citizens who behave with such cruelty. In this programme, the only friend the young man found was in a book shop. I suppose we must be thankful for small mercies. Such programmes are surely worth a million "Temptation Islands" and "Survivors".
TAIL-PIECE: I am glad that "Aaj
Tak" won the top award for news given in Mumbai by Bajaj and a TV
academy. It has a young and enthusiastic team and being all-Hindi,
gives it a wider audience. Apart from the excellent head start given
to it by the much-missed S.P. Singh. But I would like to mention that
many fans have been put off by its surfeit of advertisements at the
expense of news. This might be good for business, but one disappointed
fan, now says he sometimes switches off in exasperation because he can’t
sit through endless silly ads while the serious news is broken into
fragments. He said: "`Aaj Tak’ is now an advertisement channel
with bits and pieces of news thrown in like tit-bits." Something
the channel might well think over.
YEH DIL AASHIQANA (TIPS): If one were to go by the music being composed by murder accused Shravan, it would seem that the Mumbai film world has already declared him not guilty. He is sitting in London and yet signing films like nobody’s business. Insiders reveal that it is he who composes most of the tunes and sends them over by the internet. Even when these are being recorded, he keeps up minute-to-minute contact via mobile phone. Shravan concerns himself more with the arrangements. And if quality is any indicator, the legal hassles have not diminished their talent in any way.
This column sits in judgement only about that aspect, and he has not been found wanting in any way. It may not be "Nadeem Shravan’s best musical score", as the album cover cheekily claims, but it is above average. What it has in ample measure is variety. Qawwalis are becoming a rare commodity in films, but this one includes one, in which Sonu Nigam and Alka Yagnik share the mike with Sabri brothers and Tausif Akhtar.
Kuku Kohli’s film thrives on tried and tested singers mostly, but does give chance to some newcomers as well. Sarika Kapoor gets to sing a solo, Jab se dil tum se mila hai…. We should be hearing this girl more and more often, considering that she has a sweet, well-modulated voice. Mouth organ is used to great effect in this song. In rest of the album, guitar is the predominant instrument.
The title song has been sung by Alka. The same number is done at a faster clip by Shaan, Jividha and chorus. Surprisingly, the second version has come out better. Sameer uses a queer word, "natkhatee", for girls in College ki ladkiyan… by Udit Narayan.
RAAZ (TIPS): This Vikram Bhatt film has exactly the same musical team: Nadeem-Shravan and Sameer. If there is a difference, it is that this one has more songs by Alka Yagnik, whereas "Yeh Dil Aashiqana" had more of Anuradha Paudwal.
Sameer breaks the mould while penning Tum agar saamne... (Alka Yagnik, Abhijeet), although the rest of the songs are routine paeans to eternal love. Sarika Kapoor gets to sing a duet here too as well. She partners Udit Narayan in Mujhe tere jaisi ladki mil jaye to kya baat ho... .
The unusual "item number" here is Yeh shaher … by Suzzan, Jolly Mukherjee and Bali Brahmbhatt.
The only female solo is Aapke pyaar mein hum sanwarne lage … by Alka Yagnik and is one of the best in the set.
Among male singers this honour goes to Abhijeet through Pyaar se pyaar hum karne lage… which is almost a copy of the same song.
KUDTI (T-SERIES): In the so-called pop age, the authentic Punjabi singing has all but vanished. With passage of time, the music trends are bound to change, but that does not mean that the very basic concept has to be forgotten.
One singer who adheres to singing of yore is Sarabjeet Cheema, although he has not been cutting too many albums in the mainstream of late. This offering from him has typical rural imagery which makes one rather nostalgic. He speaks of the particular clothes worn in Punjab and long-forgotten utensils.
Music by Atul Sharma strikes a fine
balance between modern and conventional.