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Kishori Amonkar cremated with full state honours

Renowned Hindustani classical vocalist Kishori Amonkar, who passed away on Monday night, was cremated in Mumbai today with full state honours.

Those who attended the cremation at the Dadar crematorium included Maharashtra cultural affairs minister Vinod Tawde, santoor maestro Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, musician Abhijit Pohankar, actor Vikram Gokhale, acclaimed percussionist Taufiq Qureshi and noted playback singer Suresh Wadkar.

Singer Mahesh Kale and theatre and film director Vijaya Mehta also paid their tributes to Amonkar, whose body was draped in the national tricolour before the cremation.

Amonkar’s eldest son Nihar lit the funeral pyre.

Paying his tributes, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the demise of 84-year-old Amonkar is an irreparable loss to the Indian classical music.

“Deeply pained by her demise. May her soul rest in peace. The works of Kishori Amonkar will always remain popular among people for years to come,” he tweeted.

Amonkar’s body was kept at the Ravindra Natya Mandir in Prabhadevi area to enable people to pay their last respects and was then taken to Dadar crematorium for the last rites.

Born on April 10, 1932 in Mumbai, Amonkar was recognised as one of the foremost singers in the Hindustani tradition and as an innovative exponent of the Jaipur gharana.

Amonkar’s mother was well-known vocalist Mogubai Kurdikar, who trained under Alladiya Khan Saheb, the doyen of the Jaipur gharana.

While learning the finer points and techniques of the Jaipur gharana from her mother, Amonkar also developed her own personal style, which reflected the influence of other gharanas and was generally regarded as an individual variant of the Jaipur tradition.

Amonkar cultivated a deep understanding of her art, largely through extensive study of the ancient texts on music, and her repertoire was grand in its sweep.

She was known primarily for her skillful singing of classical khayal songs set in the traditional ragas of Hindustani music, but also performed the lighter classical thumri repertoire, bhajan, devotional songs and film music.

Regardless of musical genres, her performances were marked by vitality and grace.

As she prioritised the expression of emotion in her music, she frequently departed from the gharana’s conventions of rhythm, ornamentation and broader musical structure in order to intensify the impact of the music.

Besides being a renowned musician, Amonkar was a popular speaker. She travelled throughout India giving lectures, most notably on the theory of ‘rasa’ in music.

In recognition of her contribution to the arts, Amonkar, who is survived by two sons, received many awards, including the Padma Bhushan (1987) and the Padma Vibhushan (2002), two of India’s top civilian honours.

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