New star on classical horizon
By MOHAN NADKARNI
The Economic Times, July 9, 1989
At a time when lighter forms like ghazal, geet and bhajan continue to carry popularity and glamour among the elige, and youngsters are driven by the temptation to meet “popular” demand, one also comes to witness a ray of hope amid the apparently bleak prospect on the classical music scene.
Over the last five years, more and more young talent, coming from educated, well-placed and truly cultures families, is seen to take to Hindustani music with the kind of sincerity, seriousness and ardour of blue-blooded professional artistes.
These and such other thoughts crossed my mind as I listened to a vocal recital by Pratima Tilak organised by the Sangeet Sabha at Bandra, on June 25.
Pratima, at 22, struck me as an artiste whose versatility reveals itself in her brilliant academic career as much as in her musicianship. Apart from being a first class graduate with English literature, she has to her credit a string of distinctions as a performing artiste. It would be true to say that her contribution in both the fields is too good for one so young. Indeed, the talent and imagination, aplomb and unction and, above all, the total sense of involvement she revealed in her performance provided positive proof of a new star emerging on the classical horizon.
Singing in a voice notable for its stentorian quality, volume and range, Pratima began her recital with Bhimpalas, followed by Jaitashri, Bhoop-Nat and Bihagada. All these melodies were rendered in slow, medium and fast khayals. To lend variety, she also offered light classical numbers in Mishra Pilu and Bhairavi, with which she rounded off her concert.
Pratima was initiated into Hindustani music while yet a girl of nine. She first learnt from
P. R. Vyas and then from Jyotsna Mohile, both local teachers with a flair for grooming young talent in the rudiments of classical music. In search of advance guidance, she sought and obtained tutelage with Kamal Tambe, the eminent musician and teacher and one of the senior most disciples of Mogubai Kurdikar, the octogenarian doyenne of the Atrauli-Jaipur gharana, celebrated for its difficult style of singing and its equally intricate and complex repertory of less-known melodies.
Predictably, Pratima’s choice fell on a judicious selection of ragas of the gharana. Strange but true, she did not do well in exploring the subtleties of a familiar melody like Bhimpalas, which was her opening item. Scientifically speaking, it had in it quite a few sequences which clearly sounded alien to the conventional type.
But the artiste really got going with her succeeding Jaitashri and gathered palpable momentum with each number that followed.
A word needs to be said about her light classical numbers, One frankly looked for the kind of confidence and competence with which she sang her ragas. As I learnt later, she has only recently begun to handle this singing genre. It was clear from her presentations that she has still some way to go to come to grips with a genre, which calls for clear diction and delivery and utmost regard for the value of word-content. One hopes that with greater effort, she will master this idiom as well. Pratima received support from the veterans Omkar Gulvady (tabla) and Tulsidas Borkar (harmonium).