A treat for Thumri rasiks

A treat for Thumri rasiks

Thumri as the leading form of Purab Ang Gayaki is now being revived thanks to devoted institutions like Sahitya Kala Parishad (SKP), learned rasiks and exponents like Vidushi Girija Devi.

As the form’s most famous proponent, Girija Devi receives a warm welcome each time she performs. This time was no different. But the listeners were in for a treat, since SKP over their two-day festival, also invited the Kolkata-based maestro Pt Ajoy Chakraborty; the inimitable classical vocalist Shubha Mudgal and Girijaji’s noted disciple and a folk artiste in her own right, Malini Awasthi.

Kamani Auditorium, true to expectation, was filled to capa­c­­ity on both days. Every inch of space that was available was grabbed by whoever eyed it first, and those who couldn’t find a place to sit, didn’t mind standing for over two hours, just to listen to the stalwarts.

On day one, the devotional and romantic notes of different thumris by Padma Shri Shubha Mudgal resonated in the auditorium. Her renditions of Piya pyaari sang ban than, shyaam jhule naval hindole, Sheesh ko navai maa ko manai, Paiyan parun tohre shyam, Ab na karo mohse na re, were spellbinding. Every sur of each composition which revolved around Sri Krishna was so magically enchanting that one felt that after Janamashtami, this was the true celebration of Krishna’s birth.

Pt Chakrabarty’s fluid notes then filled the auditorium. An exponent of the Agra Gharana, the artiste remained true to the pure traditions of thumri and sung it in its original style.
The journey was carried forward by vidushi Girija Devi and her ganda-bandh shishya Malini Awasthi. As per tradition, Malini perfo­r­med ahead of her guru performed with thumris like Thaare raho banke Shyam and Ab ke saawan ghar aaja.

But her kajri (a genre she is renowned for) Jamuniya kid al mai thod layi was equally enjoyable. She even entertained an audience request and sung a Mirzapuri Kajri. “Essentially thumris are about emoting a raag. It is within this frame that an artiste should be able to reach out and connect with his /her audience,” she said later.

The best was reserved for the last. Just before Girijaji was about to begin, there was pin drop silence as she explained the history and evolution of thumri and categorically mentioned that “Thumri is a form of classical music which explores five to six rasas out of nine. Thumri kehna aasaan hai, par usko sahi gaane ke liye dimaag chahiye. 60-70 saalon ke baad samajh aata hai, thumri hai kya!” she said on a lighter note. Girijaji sang devotional and bol banao thumris and was so captivating that it left the audience asking for an encore.

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