Many music lovers believe that Hindustani musicians did not perform anything other than art or classical music. In fact, they aver musicians always restricted themselves to one or the other form from Hindustani music. Indeed, there were those who only performed a particular form. But equally, there were many who extended their repertoire by learning from various gurus and incorporating different forms in their presentations.
In fact, the early 20th century saw musicians not only working as actor-singers and composers for theatrical productions, but also performing and composing for feature films. Indeed, many of these associations may have been prompted by a search for newer means of livelihood other than the conventional ones of performing and teaching to meet challenges presented by a changing environment.
On the other hand, they could well have been the result of a creative impulse felt by musicians to engage with other avenues of music-making.
One of the many musicians who stepped out of the world of Hindustani music during this period was well-known vocalist Saraswati Rane, the daughter of Abdul Karim Khan, regarded as the founder of the Kirana gharana. In the 20th episode of our series on public spaces named after Hindustani musicians, we listen to Rane’s music…