Daily Archives: December 3, 2018

Guru Ramkrishna Talukdar: A Torchbearer of Sattriya dance

 

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In the field of Sattriya dance, Guru Ramkrishna Talukdar is a name which hardly needs an introduction. A renowned choreographer and educator of Sattriya and Kathak dance, he is the first formal graduate degree holder in Satriya dance and music in the State. Besides being a renowned choreographer and teacher of Sattriya and Kathak dance, Ram Krishna Talukdar has been showcasing Assam’s famed Sattriya dance in various stages across the entire world for more than 40 years now. It can be said without an iota of doubt that his efforts towards the scientific study of this dance form paved the way for the official recognition of Sattriya dance as a classical dance form by the Indian government in 2000.

Trained under the Guru Shishya Parampara, he has spent an entire lifetime learning, as well as teaching the intricacies of Satriya dance to members of the new generation and has conducted several lecture-demonstrations/ workshops/ seminars in Sattriya dance – both in India as well as abroad. The first “A” Grade Artist in Satriya dance of Doordarshan, New Delhi, RamKrishna Talukdar was one of the first and very few Satriya exponents to undertake a scientific approach towards the study of this ancient dance form. Besides completing the five year B. Music degree from Guwahati University, he has also pursued a four year course in Nritya Visharad from B.S.V. Luknow, a two-year M. Music, Nrityalankar Diploma course from ABGMV Mandal, Mumbai and then a two-year Master’s Degree from IKS University, Madhya Pradesh.

Ramkrishna Talukdar was born at Bamakhata in the district of Barpeta in 1963 to late Gajendra Nath Talukdar and Dhaneswari Talukdar. He spent more than 25 years learning the intricacies of Sattriya dance under the Guru Sishya Parampara from doyens like Ananda Mohan Bhagabati, SNA awardee late Rosewar Saikia Barbayan, Padmashree Jatin Goswami and Padmashri Ghana Kanta Borbayan. Ramkrishna Talukdar has groomed several students in the art form through his institute, Nartan Kala Niketan, and his list of students includes dancers from other countries like Belarus, Japan, Kazakhastan, USA and France. In an illustrious career, both as an educationist and as a performer, he has produced more than 12 dance dramas and composed and choreographed around 30 dance numbers.

As an educationist, Guru Ramkrishna Talukdar has also authored the book, ‘Nrity Kala Darpan’, which is the prescribed course book for 10th standard students studying under the Secondary Education Board of Assam. He is also a member of the Srimanta Sankaradeva Studies department of Guwahati University, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations – Northeast region, under Ministry of Culture, and a member of the Expert Committee for Sattriya dance, Ministry of Culture, Government of India.

Recognising his immense contributions in the field of Sattriya dance, he has been felicitated and honoured by a host of organizations, like the Asom Sahitya Sabha, Asom Sattra Mahasabha and the like. He has been conferred with various titles by different socio-cultural organizations like “Asom Gaurav”, “Sangeet Jyoti Award”, “Nritya Ratna”, “Kala Gaurav”, “Nrityanjali Award”, etc. Earlier this year, his name was announced for the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi award to be conferred later this year.

I met the illustrious dancer and educationist at his residence in Guwahati to know more about his life and journey in the world of Sattriya dance. Following are excerpts.

  1. At the outset, please accept our congratulations for being named for this year’s Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. What were your immediate feelings when your name was announced for the award? Do you feel that the award should have come your way much before?

 Ans: I am definitely thrilled at receiving the Sangeet Natak Akademi award. Any recognitions or awards for that matter go a long way in encouraging performing artists like us to pursue with our passion. I have spent my entire life in the pursuit of Sattriya dance; in fact, I know nothing else apart from this dance. Growing up in Assam and being the first student to take formal training in Sattriya dance from Guwahati University, I have had to face a lot of humiliation on my decision to pursue dance as a career. Many people rubbed me off saying that I had lost my mind because of my decision to pursue dance. However, I am glad that I have been able to survive and establish myself in this chosen field.

Coming to your second question, I do not feel that the award has been late. In fact, I feel that the award came a bit too soon because now my responsibilities have increased manifold.

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2. You were born in Bamakhata of Barpeta district. Please share memories of your growing up days and how you got interested in the field of Sattriya dance.

 Ans: I was born to late Gajendra Nath Talukdar and Dhaneswari Talukdar in Bamakhata of Barpeta district September 4, 1963. Our house was located right opposite the Bamakhata Sattra and my entire family is involved with the Sattra. In fact, I belong to the third generation of the family involved with the Bamakhata Sattra. I was the fourth son among six brother and sisters.

My father was a renowkned folk artist of Kamrupiya and Goalpariya folk songs. Although he was not formally educated, he was an institution in his own right and possessed a lot of knowledge of the folk songs of that era. My mother, late Dhaneswari Talukdar, was a teacher in Bamakhata Sattra. My entire family members are involved in the Sattra in some way or the other.

3. Please tell us about your education.

 Ans: I passed my matriculation from Soukhuti High School and completed my higher secondary education from Bajali HS. During that time, the Assam Government decided to establish the first State Music College at Rabindra Bhavan. The Guwahati University prescribed the course for the same and in 1982, I joined the B.Music Course of the State Music College as its first student. That was the sole music college in Assam at that time. Of course, in 1982, Sattriya dance has not received the classical status that it enjoys today and it was taught as a folk tradition. Eminent scholar late Dr. Maheswar Neog was instrumental in setting up the college. He was of the opinion that Sattriya dance needed to be taken out from the Sattras and brought in the ambit of formal education so that this glorious tradition could be passed amongst the new generations. I paased out in first class as the first graduate in Sattriya dance.

The Directorate of Cultural Affairs then sent me outside to study classical dance so that I could find out why Sattriya was not being accorded Classical dance. I learnt Kathak in Luknow under my guru Sri Surendranath Saikia. After coming back, I was offered a job at the State Music College in 1992.

After that, I went to the Madhya Pradesh to study at the Indira Kala Vishavidyalaya, was the sole Music and Fine Arts University of India during those days. Students from all over the world used to come and study Hindustani music there but very few people in our State knew about its existence. I completed my Master’s degree from that university in 1997.

4. You were the first Sattiya exponent to study the dance in a scientific way. Please tell us about those days.

 Ans: As I mentioned, I was sent by the State Cultural Affairs department to learn Kathak dance in Luknow. My primary aim was to find out why our Sattriya dance was not able to receive the recognition of a classical dance form. While in Luknow, I realised that our Sattriya dance was not being taught in a scientific way. I found that compared to other classical dance forms, there was a difference in the theory and practical presentation of Sattriya dance. Experts like Dr. Maheshwar Neog were indeed presenting papers on the theoretical aspects of Sattriya dance but there was no dance expert who could practically explain those aspects through the medium of dance. I, through the Directorate of Cultural Affairs, tried to incorporate those aspects in modern stage presentations of Sattriya dance. I was lucky to be associated with luminaries like Ananda Mohan Bhagabati, SNA awardee late Rosewar Saikia Barbayan, Padmashree Jatin Goswami and Padmashri Ghana Kanta Borbayan, who first took the initiative to study Sattriya dance in a scientific manner.

We had to meet with a lot of controversy once we started teaching Sattriya dance in a scientific manner. Although my colleagues and office bearers of the cultural affairs department were confident of my capabilities, people outside, especially in the Sattras were hesitant to incorporate the new changes because they did not want to tamper with the originality of our dance form. But once Dr. Bhupen Hazarika became chairman of Sangeet Natak Akademic, it became easier for Sattriya dance to achieve classical status.

5. You have also authored a book…

 Ans: In 2004, I studied six classical dance forms. I underlined the reasons why our dance was not accorded the classical dance status despite it being a classical dance form. That book is now the prescribed course book for 10th standard students of SEBA.

6. What were the main steps you took towards the scientific study of Sattiya? Please tell us about your steps towards the popularisation of Sattriya dance.

 Ans: Having studied other classical dance forms and being a teacher of Sattriya dance, I realised that practice was crucial for Sattriya to be recognised as a classical dance form. While dancers practicing other dance forms would practice more than 8 hours a day, we could hardly find a Sattriya dancer who would practice for even an hour. I started the trend myself because I had to show the way to others. I began practicing the dance for more than 14-15 hours a day.

Besides I was the first A grade artist in Sattriya dance for Doordarshan. Then I took the initiative to produce video CDs on Sattriya dance for mass dissemination. Then we also created a website where people from all parts of the world could know about Sattriya dance.

7. Please tell us about your family.

 Ans: My wife and daughters are all involved with Sattriya dance. My wife Rumi Talukdar is an empanelled Sattriya artist with ICCR and has performed all across the world. My daughters have both received national-level scholarships from CCRT, under Ministry of Culture, Government of Assam, to study Sattriya dance.

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Nipon Goswami: Superstar Diaries

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In the world of Assamese celluloid, his is a name which needs no introduction. His is not just a name; in fact, his name represents one of the most glorious eras of Assamese cinema. The first formally trained actor of the Assamese cine industry, he is credited with acting in the highest number of Assamese films, serials, stage shows, television serials, et al in a career which has spanned more than 50 years. A man who reigned the hearts of thousands of people during the glorious era of Assamese cinema is still standing strong, continuously re-inventing himself to cater to the needs of the modern day cinema. Yes, we are talking about none other than Nipon Goswami – one of the flagbearers of Assamese cinema in today’s world.

Much has been written about Nipon Goswami and his contributions to Assamese theatre and cinema. The recipient of a number of epitaphs and awards like the Prag cine Award, Natya Surya Phani Sharma Award, his journey in the world of cinema can be said to be as vast and remarkable as our cinema itself. A true son of the soil, he has proved his versatility as an actor in numerous platforms and has been an indispensable part in the growth of modern Assamese cinema.

An actor who has carved a special place for himself in the hearts of every Assamese as an evergreen hero and versatile actor, he has acted in hundreds of Assamese and Bengali movies. Some of his popular Assamese movies include ‘Dr. Bezbaruah’, ‘Mukuta’, ‘Manab aru Danab’, ‘Morisika’, ‘Abhijaan’, ‘Santaan’, ‘Aashray’, ‘Meghamukti’, ‘Ajoli Nobou’, ‘Man aru Maram’, Aparupa’, ‘Ghar Sansar’, Kakadeuta, Naati aru Hati’, Nayanmani, ‘Jiban Surabhi’, ‘Arati’, ‘Pratidan’, ‘Siraaj’, ‘Deutar Biya’, ‘Jon Jole Kopalat’, and many more. One of the first actors from Assam to work in Bollywood, he has worked in seven Hindi films as a character artist and was also part of the blockbuster hit, Do Anjane, in which the legendary Amitabh Bacchan and Rekha essayed the lead roles.

Nipon Goswami was born in September, 1957 at Kolibari in Tezpur. Born to a family with deep-rooted interest in the arts, his father Chandradhar Goswami was a famous actor of his times while his mother, Nirupama Goswami, was a versatile singer. He did his schooling from Kolibari Lower Primary School and Tezpur Government High School. After completing his graduation, he went to the Film Institute of Pune (now known as FTII) in 1965 and graduated to become the first professionally trained Assamese actor to work in Assamese films.  An ardent mobile theatre artist who has spent a number of his childhood and growing up years working in the mobile theatre industry, he got his first break in the Assamese movie Sangram (1968) while he was still a student. His second film, Dr. Bezbaruah, which was a landmark film in Assamese celluloid established Nipon Goswami in the cine world of the State. Since then, it has been a rollercoaster journey for this humble and down-to-earth artist who has regaled multiple generations through his performances on the big screen, stage as well as television and radio.

Following are excerpts from a recent interview:

  1. From Sangram in 1968, you recently completed 50 years in the world of Assamese cinema. You are credited with acting in the highest number of Assamese films. How do you look back at your journey in retrospect?

Ans: Yes, it has been a memorable journey fill of ups and downs. Coming to your point, I don’t think there is any other actor who has acted in more Assamese films than I have done, and I continue to act in movies and the small screen even today. I must have worked in over hundred films till date.

In retrospect, I saw the camera for the first time in 1957 on the sets of Piyali Phukan, directed by late Phani Sharma. My father had played a part in the movie and I had a small role as a child artist. That was the first time I got to know what cinema is; I got to see the cameras, lights, reflectors and how films are made. After that, I got busy in my studies and cinema took a back seat although I was always involved in theatre and stage performances. After completing my graduation, I went to the Pune Film and Television Institute (now known as the Film and Television Institute of India – FTII) for a diploma course in acting. While in the final year at Pune FTI, I received a letter from late Amar Pathak with an offer to play the lead role in his film, Sangram, which was based on one of his novels. I came to Kolkata for the shoot and that marked the beginning of my cinematic journey.

After Sangram, I worked in Dr. Bezbaruah by Brajen Baruah, which was a record-creating movie. That movie was the turning point in my career and there has been no looking back since then.

  1. Have you encountered any major changes in the way films were made back in the 60s and in today’s date?

Ans: The changes have been drastic. Technology has improved tremendously. When I first acted in Piyali Phukan and a few films after that, we were totally dependent on the film industry of Kolkata. We did not have our own camera nor did we have any professionals in our midst. We had to take the help of technicians and even make-up artists of Kolkata. Late Brajen Baruah changed that scenario when he made Dr. Bezbaruah. Using local technicians and cameramen, he showed how an Assamese film can be made without being dependent on professionals of Kolkata. And the more amazing part was that he showed how a film can be shot inside a living room setting and not just outdoors. Dr. Bezbaruah was shot mostly indoors. It was truly a path-breaking movie and paved the way for the emergence of Assamese cameramen, technicians, make-up artists, et al. It heralded the growth of a movie industry in the State.

Today we are not dependent on others and a lot of youngsters are experimenting with a lot of new themes and subjects. But I somehow miss the feeling of bonhomie and brotherhood that we enjoyed during the shooting of films in the 60s and 70s.

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During the demand for setting up Jyoti Chitrabon Film Studio in Guwahati

  1. As you said that a lot of changes have come about in the Assamese film industry. Do you feel that we have developed into a professional film industry?

Ans: We are all professional artists. Professional in the sense that we all earn money for our services. However, I do not think that professionalism has developed to its fullest in our industry. Just earning money does not make anyone a professional. I feel we still have to imbibe a lot of other qualities, like maintaining the time schedule, preparing and studying scripts, studying about cinema and various characters, and the like, before we can really call ourselves to be professionals.

  1. You were one of the first Assamese actors to have passed out from the Film Institute of Pune (present day FTII)…

Ans: I was not the first. Dulal Saikia was there before me and there were one or two more people who had completed courses in editing. But yes, I was the first Assamese to get a diploma in the acting stream from the Film Institute of Pune.

  1. Tell us about the period after Dr. Bezbaruah. You have been an integral part of Assamese cinema when it was as its peak…

Ans: The period after Dr. Bezbaruah was really a very sweet period for me and I have fond memories of that era. The people showered their love and affection on me in abundance. No other heroes had come up at that time and I continued to do one film after the other. Then late Biju Phukan entered the industry. We both became very close and did a number of films together. Biju and I used to share our joys and sorrows together. I know that we all have to leave this world but he left us rather early. I really miss those days with him and that period in general.

  1. Out of all the films that you have done, which is the most memorable one for you?

Ans: It is very difficult to answer that question because every film is memorable. I try to be fully involvement in every film otherwise it does not come out well. From that viewpoint, since I have given my best to every film, each one of them is memorable. However, I have fond memories of working in late Jones Mahaliya’s Dooranir Rang (1979). I loved the character and the film was very sound technically.

  1. Do you feel that acting can be a career option for today’s youth?

Ans: This is a question I have been asked many times. When we started, there was hardly any infrastructure for films in Assam. My father agreed to send me to Pune to study films because he wanted me to learn about new trends in filmmaking. But at the same time, he wanted me to become a lawyer. So in the early days, it was very difficult to earn a livelihood through acting alone. But nowadays, a lot of new opportunities and avenues have come up through television serials and other formats. A lot of new films are being made. The mobile theatre is very vibrant today. So I feel that acting can be a viable career option for today’s youth.

  1. Your father was also a noted actor of his times. How was the environment in your family?

Ans: My family was deeply interested in the arts. My father was a prominent actor of his times; he even received the title of ‘Macha Konwar’. My mother was also a versatile singer. In fact, I developed an interest in acting while watching my father do rehearsals at home. My father’s friends late Phani Sharma and late Bishnu Rabha used to have animated discourses at our residence and their talks motivated me immensely. I used to mimic their antics and rehearsals and that is how I developed an interest towards acting. Later on, I performed in school and college plays and that passion remained intact.

  1. You have also performed in mobile theatres….

Ans: Yes, I spent almost five seasons in the mobile theatres. I grew up watching performances of the Ban Theatre near our house and somehow that interest made me perform in plays myself. I have performed in several mobile theatres like Kohinoor, Abahan, Hengul and Abahan and feel that they have helped me develop as an actor.

  1. Please tell us about a bit about your family.

Ans: My wife Ranjita Goswami passed away around one and half years back. She was the pillar of strength and support for me. She helped me become what I am today and it is because of her that I am still here today.

My son Siddhartha Goswami is a software engineer by profession and lives in Mumbai. But he is deeply interested in films and might soon take up a few film offers. He performed reasonably well in Mission China and has kept the family’s legacy in acting alive. His wife, Kinkini, is also an artist and is into acting.

 

Minoti Khaund: Creating a Legacy of Music

Recording with daughter Sunita Bhuyan Khaund

Minoti Khaund with daughter Sunita Bhuyan Khaund

A musical career spanning 50 years.. a single-minded devotion to Hindustani Classical music and its science and art… an instrument called the violin… one of the most difficult instruments to master… and weaving with the bow and strings a magical power to induce both happiness and tears with the same notes. That is the virtuosity of Minoti Khaund, the veteran violinist from Assam who has spent a lifetime in the pursuit of Hindustani classic music and its promotion in the region.

A musician who has established her mettle as a specialist amongst her craft globally, she has been a staunch guide and supporter to hundreds of musicians who have come under her tutelage and who have carved a name of themselves in their own right. But she perhaps takes pride in the fact that she has managed to groom and lay a strong foundation for her own daughter Sunita Khaund Bhuyan, who is presently earning critical acclaim across the globe through her mastery with the bow and fiddle.

Born in 1940, Minoti started playing the violin at the tender age of 10 years. Born to a musically enriched family in the music loving town of Jorhat in Upper Assam, she first expressed her desire to play with the fiddle to her maternal grandfather, Mr. Biswa Sarma, a noted connoisseur of the fine arts himself. Her grandfather could sense the passion in the girl child’s eyes and bought her a violin. This is when Minoti’s ethereal journey started with the violin and classical music began to encompass a rich musical career which has spanned more than 50 years now.

Initial Days

Reminiscing about those early days, she recounts, “My grandfather was the President of All Assam Music Conference – Jorhat chapter. Everyone in my family had a huge inclination towards music. We were exposed to a lot of music shows where maestros used to come and perform. That atmosphere helped me a lot in my career. I must have been eight or nine years old when I started my career in music. There was a music school in Jorhat run by Late Lokanath Sarma where children from well-established families used to come to learn music. We learned under the guidance of Indreswar Sarma.”

Her family’s deep rooted interest in music also helped her develop as a musician. As she says, “My mother wasn’t a musician, though, but she stood by me through thick and thin, to become my source of inspiration to pursue music. At that time, learning music wasn’t easy as teachers were not available and there weren’t many institutions as well. But my sister, Pronoti Khaund is a singer. My brother (who is no more) used to play tabla, flawlessly. The All Assam Music conference played a pivotal role in our lives for giving us abundant opportunities of performing in different platforms, and at the same time meeting the experts and learning from them. I can recall many instances when in the December month’s chilly nights, people used to sit all night long clad with their blankets to listen to music, until 6 am in the morning, with a lot of patience. It was highly motivational for us. I was already performing before marriage, for I was the only lady violinist in the town, perhaps in the whole of Assam. I got married at the age of eighteen.”

The turning point in her life came when she was performing at the All Assam Music Conference in 1972 and violin maestro Pt. V.G.Jog heard her on stage and offered to impart his art to Minoti.

Minoti, already a mother of two and the daughter-in-law of then Deputy Commissioner Rabindra Ram Khaund, agreed to this god sent opportunity and started her apprenticeship under Pt. Jog. Her husband Kabindra Ram Khaund and her family supported her completely in her journey seeing her thirst for music and devotion towards the violin.

Fifty Glorious Years in Music

Thereafter started the traditional Gururshisya Parampara between Minoti and Padma Vibhusahan Pt Jog. Minoti bloomed as a musician under Jog’s able guidance and the exposure of performing on live shows besides him. For Indian Classical Music this is the best way that a student of music can imbibe the nuances and intricacies of the science and the art of classical music, accompanying the guru and simultaneously building a rapport with the audience.

Acknowledging the huge role of her guruji in her life, Minoti says, “Getting opportunities of seeing the performances of noted violinists, and also performing with them, has played an integral role in my learning. When I used to go to Calcutta to learn under my guruji, he used to take me to various music conferences, and to meet various other gurus, to see and learn from them. I met A T Kana, vocalist (a maestro). We played vocal music, not in words, but with our fingers. Pt. Budhadeb Dasgupta, another noted musician, also shared his knowledge, and I could learn a lot from him and his gharaana. He was a very liberal person. And, he is the one who inspired me to learn from everything. He said that I should grab a piece of learning from everyone and everywhere, wherever there is something good to learn.”

The Rising Talent Conference at Kalamandir Calcutta in 1978 introduced Minoti as a talented artiste in front of the knowledgeable gurus and music hungry audience of Kolkata. There has been no looking back since then. The Amir Khan Music Conference at Rabindra Sadan Calcutta, Benaras, Burdwan, Cuttack, Bhubaneshwar, Tatanagar, Rabindra Natya Mandir Mumbai, India International Center Delhi, Mehta Memorial Hall Allahabad, IIT Festival, Shankardev Kalakshetra Guwahati, National Gallery of Modern Art Mumbai, India Habitat Centre Delhi, Women’s International Forum Goa, Kala Ghoda Fest, Mumbai, Nehru Centre London, Glasgow, Nehru Centre Mumbai, Madhusudhan Manch Kolkatta, Kameshwari festival, SAWF Sri Lanka, Ganga Mahotsav Varanasi, Sangeet Natak Academi, ITC SRA series, etc were some of the platforms that Minoti performed in and enthralled the audience and press alike. She became the foremost violinist of Assam and did her motherland proud, earning accolades by blending the tantrakari style of Pt Jog with her own inherent melody.

Innovations and Awards Galore

Minoti continued her parallel studies in the field of music and attained Sangeet Nipune from Prayag Sangeet Samitti, Allahabad, in 1986, bagging a gold medal for her Sangeet Visharad. During this period, she also got associated with vocalist Pt. A.T, Kanan of the Sangeet Research Academy, Kolkatta and imbibed the “gayaki ang” in her style. She also underwent music studies in the field of raga improvisations and rhythmic patterns of “tala” from sarod maestro and musicologist Pt. Buddhadev Dasgupta. She became an empaneled Artist of ICCR, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India in 1990.

Minoti’s new composition on Durga Shakti with her daughter Sunita Khaund Bhuyan, “Invocation of Ma” has taken the mother daughter duo across the country and abroad. She was conferred the title of Sangeet Jyoti and was recently conferred the Shilpi Award by the Assam government for having completed 50 years as a violinist and music teacher. She also received the Lifetime Achievement in Music recently by the Paschim Guwahati Durga Mandir Trust recently. Besides, she brought glory to Assam when she received the Exceptional woman: Creating a Better World Award at the Women’s Economic Forum in 2018 and the R. G. Baruah Award for Excellence in her Craft in 2017.

Contribution to the Field of Music

All through her musical career, Minoti has been contributing towards society by propagating Classical Music amongst the youth and teaching the violin to the young and old alike. Her vast experience in the performing art and musical studies gives her the edge to impart music lessons on the violin with technically accurate systems and methods.

Pt Jog was so impressed with the way Minoti had groomed Sunita into the intricacies of the instrument that he also offered to train Sunita under him and thus carried on the “guru shisya parampara” across two generations of violinists. The mother and daughter have been currently performing jugalbandis together

Minoti currently is the visiting faculty of a reputed music college of Guwahati and is a panel examiner for music courses at the State College of Music and Art. She is currently focused on spreading the knowledge of music as a sublime recreation and frequently speaks in music forums and conducts workshops and seminars. She has also retained her penchant for writing and is a prolific writer of music columns and articles in journals and newspapers. Her endeavor has been to propagate music among today’s generation and make music a medium of achieving inner peace and harmony and thus spreading positive energy and harmony throughout the society.

When asked if she felt that her achievements in the field of music have not been acknowledged at par, Minoti Khaund, as a true musician, says that her inner satisfaction is paramount and that “no external titles” can deter her from her passion. “I have spent an entire lifetime in pursuit of music which has brought happiness to me from within. I am well aware of my own capabilities and I have crossed the stage when I have to look to others for approval.”

Encouraging Fusion, But a Purist at Heart

A purist at heart, Minoti Khaund has strived to keep the flag of classical music flying high. But she is also aware of the need for cultural evolution. She encourages today’s youth to experiment with different kinds of music as she believes that all melodies in the world centers around the 7 notes of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni. However, she maintains that mastery in any kind of music can be attained only through the pursuit of classical music. This has been the content of many of her speeches and columns, which has inspired a large number of young people to learn classical music.

As she says, “We all have to evolve with the changing times. During my jugalbandi performances along with my daughter, while I encourage her daughter to go ahead and experiment with other genres, I myself stop after a certain point,” she says.