Millennium Post

The clash of the gharanas

The clash of the gharanas
Thumri, the romance of which has enthralled generations, seems to be having a good run in the Capital lately. And now, it is time for the Thumri Festival that is being organised by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations [ICCR], where the stalwarts of the industry will be performing.

The word ‘Thumri’ is derived from the Hindi word thum which represents the classical sound of anklets and thumak that stands for the graceful stamping of the foot, originally referred to as a Raga rather than a genre.

Going by the popular saying, ‘Jab Dilli ujadi, Lucknow bani’, — Thumri developed under the patronage of the landlords of Lucknow in early 19th century and  reached its creative zenith in the court of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah of Lucknow, Royals of Gwalior and legendary kathak dancer Bindadeen Maharaj, of the renowned family of dancers from which Birju Maharaj descends.

This year’s edition too has the objective to preserve this important Indian music tradition. The  festival spread over three days and will highlight the importance of gharanas in Thumri. The tradition started in Delhi and then travelled to Lucknow and from there to Banaras, Gaya and Kolkata, developing into three major gharanas.

Thumri stalwarts like Girija Devi, representing the Banaras Gharana, Ajoy Chakrabarty, Pandit Birju Maharaj, Kumud Diwan and many other prominent Indian classical vocalists will be performing at the festival.

Vidhushi Purnima Chaudhari, one of the most popular exponents of Thumri of the Banaras
, says: ‘Thumri is the romantic aspect of classical music with different shades and colours. In Thumri, Sahitya, Bhaav and Abhinay [lyrics, emotions and expressions] are very important. It is best described as ‘Abhinayatmak roop of classical music’, the most expressive form of classical music. It is always concluded with laggi, a faster phase, where the table player has some freedom of improvisation.’

Uma Sharma, who performed at the birthday parties of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, will also be performing at the festival. Mazhar  Ali Khan and Jawaad Ali Khan will represent the Patiala gharana along with Ajoy Chakraborty and Kaushiki Chakroborty Desikan. There will also be Kumud Diwan, who is reviving the Gaya style of Thumri on which she has done extensive research from the Sangeet Natak Academy.
The festival will be inaugurated with Banaras gharana, followed by the Patiala gharana and Awadh/Lucknow gharana.


At:  Kamani Auditorium
When:  27-29 August
Timings:  6.30 Pm onwards
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