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Earthy Tunes

The Maharashtrian folk undertones of the song Gondhal gondhal inspired Professor Ganesh Chandanshive to sign Runh as a singer.

The Maharashtrian folk undertones of the song Gondhal gondhal inspired Professor Ganesh Chandanshive to sign Runh as a singer.

For Ganesh Chandanshive,the sound of dholkis and the rhythmic chhun-chhun of ghungroos was a part of his growing-up years in Tembhurni,a tiny village in Jalna district. As a child,Chandanshive would watch his father get ready for work. His father would sit in front of the mirror and carefully paint a new,exaggerated set of eyebrows,and would proceed to colour his lips in bright red. He would then put on a large bindi,and finish off his preparations by fixing flowers on his head. This was followed by donning a bright sari and a final look at the mirror. Chandanshive’s father worked as a nachya (dancer) in the local tamasha company.

Hailing from a family of tamasha artistes,Chandanshive was always exposed to the cultural and social nuances of the folk art forms. After his graduation,he wanted to work for the betterment of these Maharashtrian folk artistes. After getting a Masters in Dramatics from Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University in Aurangabad,Chandanshive is now working as a professor of folk art and music in the Lok Kala Academy at the University of Mumbai.

“There are so many misconceptions about local folk art forms in India,” says the 34-year-old. “Most of us think that the nachya was a cross-dressing eunuch-like comedy character. But originally,the nachyas were male artistes who dressed up as women and performed along with the crew,” he says.

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The Mumbai-based artiste has recently sung the song Gondhal Gondhal for Vishal Gaikwad’s upcoming Marathi film Runh. The song is composed by musicians Siddharth and Sangeet Haldikar. The film,which deals with the lives and plight of eunuchs,will have an interesting mix of songs. “Even though the song is very modern in its composition,there are definite Maharashtrian folk undertones to it,” he says,adding that this was the reason he agreed to sing for the film. Chandanshive has earlier sung the song Pintya chi handi for Bejoy Nambiar’s Shaitan. He has also performed with Shankar Mahadevan for a devotional album.

With a number of Bollywood and regional projects under his belt,Chandanshive — with no formal training in music — says that along with his work in teaching,he would like to take the dying art forms to more and more people. “There are so many older artistes who have been working to make their voices heard. All of them have different stories to tell and are extremely talented. I would like to work more for them,” he says.

First published on: 11-04-2013 at 02:28 IST
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