With women busting myths in virtually every profession and challenging the so-called norms, it was only a matter of time that the traditionally male-dominated genre of Dhrupad in Indian classical music would be conquered too. The Dhrupad Sisters — three women artistes, who have learnt music from the Gundecha Brothers at the Dhrupad Sansthan in Bhopal, are blazing new musical trails and how.
With two vocalists —Amita Sinha Mahapatra and Janhavi Phansalkar and a pakhawaj player, Anuja Borude, the trio claims to be the first all-women Dhrupad group of the country and will be performing in the third edition of Dhrupad Utsav Hyderabad on Saturday.
The trio has been performing together over the past two years and has given performances on various platforms in India and abroad. Elaborating on their journey together and how it feels to be counted amongst a few female Dhrupad artists who have made a mark, Amita Sinha Mahapatra says, “I have been learning Dhrupad since 2003 and performing on stage since 2006. During that time, I was the first female student of the Gundecha Brothers to have achieved this mark. While at the gurukul, I met Janhavi and Anuja and since then, we have been learning and performing together.”
Commenting on the male-female ratio in the field, Amita adds, “When compared to earlier, it is getting better but we still face a little difficulty to get shows.” Interestingly, Janhavi Phansalkar has a different opinion. “It’s been five years since I am into Dhrupad and quite amusingly, I have only one male student whereas the others are all female students who come to learn Dhrupad,” reveals Janhavi. While this will be Janhavi’s first performance in Hyderabad, Amita performed here two years ago and pakhawaj player Anuja has been a regular to the city. Talking about Hyderabad’s music sensitivity, Anuja says, “I have been performing in Hyderabad and every time it is a pleasure. People here have a great music sense and it is developing day by day.”
Anuja, who has been playing the pakhawaj for the past 15 years, feels that more girls need to be trained to play the instrument to do away with any gender biases. “Even though I am focusing more on live performances now, if any girl student wants to learn the pakhawaj, I will be very happy to train her,” she concludes....