Music legend Kishori Amonkar, a leading singer of the Jaipur-Atrauli gharana, died in Mumbai on Monday night at the age of 84. While she was sometimes criticised for her breaking out of the rigidity that her gharana demanded, her musical growth continued unabated into her 80s.
“These are landmark performances that take place over hundreds of years and you will talk about it for the rest of your life and for centuries to come,” tabla maestro Zakir Hussain says abut Amonkar in the documentary Bhinna Shadja. The 2011 production was commissioned by the Government of India and directed by Amol Palekar and his partner Sandhya Gokhale.
The film was shot in Goa, Mumbai and Pune, and features interviews with Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Pandit Shivkumar Chaurasia, Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, and Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, who speak about Amonkar’s contribution to Hindustani Classical music. These interviews are interspersed with Amonkar’s own views about her philosophy of creating music, along with her perspective on the criticism she has faced, which are its highlights.