In our series on the Dadra taal, we heard a composition in the raag Khamaj sung by the Banaras gharana exponent Mahadev Prasad Mishra. It is set to a slow dadra, consisting of six matras or time units. As is evident from the lyrics, “Humse na bolo rajaji piraaye mori ankhiyaan”, the female protagonist of the composition rebukes her truant lover and asks him not to speak to her. This composition has inspired a Marathi natya geet and is the focus of this second episode in our series on Marathi theatre songs influenced by Hindustani compositions.
Marathi natya geet or natya pada collectively form what is popularly known as Marathi natya sangeet, or the music of Marathi theatrical productions.
But before we listen to the Marathi version of the dadra mentioned above, let us listen to three interpretations of the original composition. The first is sung by Mahadev Prasad Mishra. According to the text accompanying the track, he is accompanied by sarangi maestro Sultan Khan and the tabla player Anand Gopal Bandopadhyaya.
The second version is sung by Anita Sen, known for her thumri-dadra renditions.
The next interpretation of the same dadra is by popular vocalist Shubha Mudgal. She is accompanied on the harmonium by the charismatic Purushottam Walawalkar and on the tabla by Aneesh Pradhan.
Now, let’s listen to the Marathi version of this dadra rendered by Narayan Shripad Rajhans, popularly known as Bal Gandharva (1888-1967). Bal Gandharva studied under Bhaskarbuwa Bakhale (1869-1922), who was a composer with the Gandharva Natak Mandali, established in 1913 by Gandharva and others. This song was adapted by the harmonium player and composer Govindrao Tembe (1889-1946) for the play Sangeet Manapman. Tembe had also trained under Bakhale and was part-owner of the Gandharva Natak Mandali in its initial days.