My Name is Gauhar Jaan! -
The Life and Times of a Musician

Events

Reading in Pune - 15th June 2010

‘My name is Gauhar Jaan!’ was launched in the music lovers city of Pune on 15th June 2010 at the Crossword bookstore on Senapati Bapat Road. It was perhaps apt that the eminent Hindustani vocalist Smt. Arati Ankalikar Tikekar dedicated the book to the music an literary aficionados of the city. Vikram was in conversation with Smt. Ankalikar and Smt. Gouri Dange, renowned author.

Despite the terrible thundershowers that Pune had witnessed the previous day, a large gathering of interested and musically inclined people had assembled for the launch. Gouri introduced the book and spoke about how riveting it had been for her.

Smt. Ankalikar in her talk said that the book was a must read for every musician and that she had personally been very inspired and informed by the nuggets of musical history in the book. She drew an interesting parallel of how artists like Gauhar Jaan seldom planned their lives or careers unlike artists now, and the openness is reflected even in their art and the way they perceived it.

Author Vikram Sampath spoke about Gauhar’s colourful life, its ups and downs and also drew the attention of the audience to Gauhar’s association with Pune. She had visited it several times but the visit of 1916 was special as she paid tributes to the man she considered as a guru, Ustad Abdul Karim Khan, doyen of the Kirana Gharana. Gauhar had even taught songs to his daughter Hirabai Barodekar whom she even wanted to adopt and take back with her to Calcutta. But interestingly she had confronted the giant of the Marathi theatre scene Bal Gandhrava whom she thought was plagiarizing her tunes into Marathi natyasangeet.

Tracks demonstrating this similarity—Gauhar’s Garajat Aaye in Raag Sur Malhar and Bal Gandharva’s Anrutachi Gopala amused the audience given the similarities of the tunes. The evening ended with happy reminiscences of this darling songstress who had captured the hearts of numerous music aficionados. 

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