interview Kaushiki Chakrabarty talks about singing for the film Ramanujan and the enduring appeal of Classical music
K hubsoorat gaati hai, khubsoorat dikhti hain aur muskurahat bhi khubsoorat hai …(she sings beautifully, looks beautiful and has a beautiful smile too) master-flautist Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia welcomed Kaushiki Chakrabarty with these words as she entered the stage to perform with him in the city recently.
Those who had not heard this Hindustani vocalist may have reacted cynically, looking at it as a mere encouraging remark to put the youngster at ease before a major concert. A pretty woman she is. And the maestro was not wrong when it came to her singing prowess either. As the concert progressed, this daughter of the Patiala gharana exponent Ajoy Chakrabarty proved that she was an artiste worth listening to and one not to be taken lightly when it came to Classicism.
Kaushiki, who began performing at the age of 17, has risen to be among the front-ranking new-generation vocalists with her impeccable technique and musicality.
Like any youngster, she is ready to embrace music in its all melodious forms and express its nuances in diverse ways to connect with a wide set of listeners.
So, apart from Classical concerts, she has participated in MTV Coke Studio and has sung for films in Bengali and Hindi (the recent one being Gulab Gang ). And now in Tamil too. She has recorded a song for the film Ramanujan , based on the life of the mathematical genius.
“It wasn’t easy singing in Tamil; I was worried about the intonation,” says Kaushiki. “But to me, it’s the experience that matters. Singing in different languages is fascinating. It takes you closer to cultures and different artistic sensibilities. As long as I like the music and it does not take me far way from my Classical moorings, I am open to such challenges,” she smiles.
And does such a diverse portfolio add to her popularity as a Classical musician? “Oh, do not underestimate the reach of Classical music. I am tired of listening to false rhetoric on its bleak future. I am where I am today because of my training in it and people’s unflinching love for the genre. This art has a beginning, but no end,” she signs off on a confident note.