Thursday, October 16, 2008

Taal se taal mila…. Great going at 86!

At 86, she was trembling with fever. She couldn't walk without a walker and needed two people to assist her to climb on stage. But the moment Dr Soma Ghosh began to sing at the Pranganga Swarotsav Sangeet Parampara Fest than Sitara Devi the performer took charge. From the body of an 86-year-old, a 16-year-old danseuse full of energy emerged. Sitara Devi held the audiences mesmerized at Bhavan's College, Andheri to the voice of veteran vocalist and Bismillah Khan's only female disciple Dr Soma Ghosh's rendition for over an hour.

From playing Ram's mother Kaushalya to a lover pining for her beloved to the young toddler Rama, to a young woman who got her chunari wet in the first rains, Sitara Devi seemed to get more energetic with time. The woman who was sitting on a chair in the first few moments forgot everything except the moment she lived and the character she essayed.

"I think everyone in the audience must have thought of his beloved listening to Soma," she stated at one point taking over the mike. "I did too! And I know he is there somewhere as he keeps calling!"

Armed with her quick wit and her steps, the amphitheatre of Bhavan's college resonated with the sound of melodious music as Soma Ghosh coaxed and cajoled Sitara Devi with her song where a woman was pining for her beloved…

"I am touched," said Soma who organized the event. "Despite her age and health, Sitara Deviji actually came and performed."

Violinist N Rajam came to see her daughter Sangeeta Shankar on the violin while vocalist Rimi Basu, Kathak exponent Aditi Bhagwat and Nandita Puri graced the event.
The last word however was from Sitara Devi. "This is just the trailer. Come back when the film releases," stated the maestro post her performance. "Make sure you people are there. You matter more to me than any Padmashree."

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