Padma Vibhushan recipient classical singer Kishori Amonkar passed away at her house in Mumbai, on Monday evening. One of the finest Hindustani classical singers, Amonkar was ailing for a while.
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. She was trained with her mother, singer Mogubai Kurdikar. A gharana is a community of musicians, sharing a distinctive musical style. In her career spanning seven decades, she was revered as “Gaan-Saraswati”. She later learned music under Ustad Alladiya Khan Saheb and Kesarbai Kerkar.
She was known primarily for her skilful singing of classical khayal songs, set in the traditional ragas of Indian Classical music, but also performed the lighter classical thumri repertoire, bhajan, devotional songs and film music. Regardless of musical genre, her performances were marked by vitality and grace.
In recognition of her contribution to the arts, she received many awards, including the Padma Bhushan in 1987 and Padma Vibhushan in 2002 – two of India’s top civilian honours. In 2010, Amonkar became a fellow of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India’s national academy of music, arts, and dance.
Upon her demise, noted actor Shabana Azmi tweeted, “What a loss...Have been her ardent fan and consider myself fortunate to have lived in a time I could hear Kishori Amonkar sing.”