'Bollywood is an ocean for different genres'

Sep 13, 2018, 08:12 IST | Shunashir Sen

A playback singer for Hindi films is set to helm an evening of Indian classical music

'Bollywood is an ocean for different genres'
Rupak Dhamankar, Adinath Patkar and Ronkini Gupta

Ronkini Gupta is a trained Hindustani classical singer who straddles the worlds of Bollywood and independent fusion music with equal elan. We caught up with her ahead of Bandishana, an evening of musical poetry based on bandishes, where she will perform with Rupak Dhamankar on the tabla and harmonium player Adinath Patkar. Edited excerpts.

How does Bollywood music differ from indie music? Are there similarities?
Well, Bollywood is an all-pervasive industry. If I were to tell someone that I am a vocalist, the first question that pops up is, "Oh, which film have you sung for?" No one ever thinks that I could be an independent musician pursuing khayal, ghazal, thumri, folk or fusion, all of which are distinct genres that a musician may want to specialise in. So let's just say that people are probably more familiar with only Bollywood as an industry, whereas everything else falls in a separate bracket that doesn't really mean much. By saying this, I don't mean to point a finger at Bollywood, because it is the ocean where all these different genres can be explored. We have folk-ish tunes, semi-classical melodies and ghazals as well in Bollywood. But these genres also have an entity of their own.

How does your classical background seep into the various facets, be it Bollywood playback or fusion jazz?
Training gives any artiste an edge. Today, I have Rafu from Tumhari Sulu to my credit, or my recent release, Chaav Laaga from Sui Dhaaga. I was chosen because they wanted someone from a trained background. I have trained for over 25 years, and am still training under Arshad Ali Khan. Music is so vast that I would love to remain a student all my life. A new discovery, a new layer is added every day.

Tell us about your performance at Bandishana?
It's khayal or pure Indian classical, which means taking compositions from distinct ragas and improvising. Khayal means thought, and so I will take the audience on a journey through my thoughts, and you know how intricate, simple, complicated, symmetrical and yet random thoughts can be!

On: September 15, 8.30 pm
At: Harkat Studios, Aram Nagar 2, Andheri West.
Log on to: insider.in
Entry: Rs 350

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