Malini Rajurkar rises to dizzy heights
By MOHAN NADKARNI
The Economic Times, November 27, 1988
The week that was provided resounding evidence that the new music season has started with a bang. As many as seven events were scheduled to be held in different parts of this metropolis during the week end – and almost at the same time.
Young, promising talents were billed at some concerts, while there was one major programme where a major vocalist from outside Bombay was making her rare appearance after many years.
Like several others, I was myself faced with the problem of choice once again. For two good reasons I decided to attend the vocal recital of the Hyderabad-based Malini Rajurkar. It was a concert that came after a long time and Malini happens to be a top-notcher in the field. What is more, it was a special programme organised by the Dadar Matunga Cultural Cente, a leading institution of its kind in the city, to celebrate its 35th anniversary.
It would be no exaggeration to say that the centre’s compact auditorium looked to be under siege on the occasion. Every centimeter of the available space in the auditorium was occupied by eager listeners. They sat in Indian style in great discomfort, while outside the auditorium, music lovers crowded the open windows, standing all the while, craning their necks and straightening their ears in keen anticipation to share the delight of the music. And we found the artiste in the finest of spirits and ony too willing to respond to this congenial setting.
Malini Rajurkar sang with tremendous zest for more than three hours, investing her recital with all the dignity and charm of her musical personality.
Now in her mid-forties, Malini has been groomed in the Gwalior gharana by the veteran Govindrao Rajurkar. But she has over-shadowed the rigidities of the gharana ideology and has successfully evolved her own style that is firmly rooted in parampara. Whether it was her khayals in Marwa, Shree or Kedar, (all of which she rendered in slow and fast tempi) or two bol bandishes in Dhani or her tappa composition in Kafi, what we found in her performance was professionalism at its best. Above all, the homogeneous blend of swara (sound), sahitya (sense), and bhava (mood) made the most abiding impact on the listeners.
Even so, it wasa the opening Marwa which emerged as the finest melodic exploration. The imposing edifice she build up for almost an hour unfolded many unsuspecting beauties of the celebrated evening melody. By contrast, the Shree exposition, also an evening melody, suffered slightly in comparison. Its choice after Marwa looked rather ill advised. For, Shree has an almost the same mood and character as Marwa – with its profound, somber dignity – though the use of komal dhaivat in Shree, as against shudh dhaivat in Marwa, does make a significant difference.
The post-inteval Kedar, though briefer, also emerged brilliantly in all its contours. Whiel the appeal of the two compositions in Dhani (a pentatonic raga with a striking resemblance to Bhimpalasa) lay in their sprightly build-up and their lilt of rhythm, her tappa piece, with its unpredictable, odd-shaped taans and pounding accents, showed the artiste as the unquestioned master of the difficult and fast-vanishing genre. The piece was clad in Mishra Khamaj in all its kaleidoscopic variations.
Full marks to harmonist Arvind Thatte and percussionist Subhas Kamat for livening up the main artiste’s music with their masterly sangat.