Kishori Amonkar: a blend of all styles

Kishori Amonkar: a blend of all styles

 Hindustani classical vocalist Kishori Amonkar, who is among the leading singers of the Jaipur gharana, could render the classical khyal and the light classical thumri and bhajan with ease and perfection.

Her death just a week before her 85th birthday has come as a shock to music lovers across the country. Always outspoken, the versatile singer never minced words and always stood by what she said.

Born on April 10, 1932, Kishori Amonkar trained under her mother and classical singer Mogubai Kurdikar of the Jaipur gharana, but was also trained in other gharanas and experimented with a variety of vocal styles.

She received training in Hindustani classical music from Anjanibai Malpekar of the Bhendi Bazar gharana. Her tutors included Anwar Hussain Khan of Agra gharana, Sharadchandra Arolkar of Gwalior gharana and Goa’s stalwart Balkrishnabuwa Parwatkar.

She married a schoolteacher, Ravindra Amonkar, and the couple had two sons. Her husband died in 1992.

Kishori Amonkar also sang in a few films, including the legendary V Shantaram’s ‘Geet Gaya Pattharon Ne’ — a launch pad for his daughter Rajshree and Jitendra in 1964.

In 1990, after a break of over two decades, Kishori Amonkar made a comeback in films. She directed the music and also sang four songs penned by National Award winning lyricist Vasant Deo in 1990 for Govind Nihalani’s ‘Drishti’, which bagged the best film award.

Kishori Amonkar’s career as a classical vocalist was at its peak in the 1960s and 70s. It was affected due to a brief illness, but she bounced back.

She innovated in other styles or gharanas, for which she became known and earned both bouquets and brickbats.

Kishori Amonkar received several awards and civilian honours, including the Padma Bhushan in 1987 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2002.


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