Note Extraordinaire (Bhinna Shadja)
A Documentary on Ganasaraswati Padmavibhushan Kishori Amonkar
A Film by Amol Palekar
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No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.' Neitzche probably wrote this for the phenomenon called Kishori Amonkar whose divine music has entranced us just like it has many others ! We always felt that Kishori Tai never bothered to manage her self-image and perhaps therefore, Tai's defiance and impulseivenessovershadowed her pristine classicism and non-conformist experimentation. Maybe that was one of the deterent reasons as to why no documentary was made on Tai despite her immense ans unparalleled contribution to Indian Classical Music.
This glaring lacuna had to be rectified ; hence we we decided to take up Tai's invitation to take up the daunting task of making this documentary. In case of Tai, music had a long unbroken history in the form of her Gurumata Mogubai Kurdikar, fondly known as Mai who was the quintessence of Tai's life. Wounded by the painful feeling that Mai never received recognition proportionate to her legendary talent, Tai donned a resolute, impenetrable mask in stark contrast to Mai's fragility vulnerability.
Tai's struggle to overcome the long shadows of her tumultous childhood has perhaps spread all through her life. Another aspect of Tai's struggle for which she was frequently criticized was 'transcending her musical oeuvre beyond the conventions and traditions of Jaipur-Atrauli Gharana' Her experimentation with alapchari, her softened tonal accents and intense emotive content. or her liberties with traditional renditions were vilified by conservatives as intolerable deviations. The musical voyage of this trieless explorer continue unperturbed despite all such denunciation.
Ultimately she found her position repeatedly vindicated by stependous audience patronage an a string of honours including the Sangeet Natak Academy awards (1985 & 2011) and the titles Ganasaraswati, the Padma Bhushan (1987) and the Padma Vibhshan (2002). We wanted to project an accessible portraitof a pensive, creative artist whose life has been sublimated to and consumed by her art. Thus the quest for seeking out strands of Tai's musical journey became the paramount focus of our endeavor.
We hope that we could capture the essence of Tai's ceaseless pursuit of excellence and purity and that the film could archive Tai's astonishing take for the coming generations who too would salute the Note Extraordinaire.
-- Amol Palekar