An upcoming festival titled “Gayatri” will celebrate female artistes in Hindustani classical music. The festival, which is slated to happen in Mumbai, is likely to become a platform to discuss women artistes, their problems and triumphs. “The energy that women create when they share their personal experiences with each other is something very special. It will be a completely unique event,” says 30-year-old dhrupad singer Pelva Naik, who will be one of the performers at the festival.
In the first edition of the two-day festival, which is being put up by First Edition Arts, four women from different genres and age groups will perform. Apart from Naik, classical violinist Kala Ramnath, sitar player Sahana Banerjee, and popular vocalist Ashwini Bhide Deshpande will also be a part of the concert.
A film on Begum Akhtar, called Zikr Us Parivash Ka, will precede the performances. Produced by Sangeet Natak Akademi and directed by Nirmal Chander Dandriyal, the film shows how Akhtari Bai and her art changed as she transformed into Begum Akhtar. “The film is about trying to understand her mind, and encouraging the audience to connect with the one quality that makes her voice so singular— pain,” says Dandriyal.
Banerjee says that she’s ecstatic that “Gayatri” invited her to perform. “In north Indian classical music, we find a much lower number of female instrumentalists,” she says, attributing the cause to the fact that women in the region are not encouraged wholeheartedly. “From the prejudice that instrumental music requires more physical power than a woman has, to changing these ideas, there will be a lot to talk about,” says Banerjee. Naik believes that the situation is clearly changing. She grew up in a creative family that encouraged her passion, She studied dhrupad under the legendary Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar. “In the context of art, there is both masculine and feminine in every artist, in every raag,” she says.
Zikr Us Parivash Ka will be screened today at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), Fort at
5.30 pm and the festival will take place between March 18-19 at Ravindra Natya Mandir, Prabhadevi .