Mumbai Music: Sumitra Samant
Director: Surabhi Sharma; Cinematographer: Ajay Noronha
Duration: 00:49:57; Aspect Ratio: 1.778:1; Hue: 21.821; Saturation: 0.179; Lightness: 0.232; Volume: 0.091; Cuts per Minute: 0.240; Words per Minute: 163.321
Summary: Sumitra Samant speaks about her long involvement with Marathi sangeet natak through amateur theatre in Maharashtra.
TN: We want you tell us about your experience with being a performer on stage in the Sangeet Natak ( Music Drama) when did you start performing? What kind of plays did you perform? What kind of training did you have to go on the stage? Please tell us about these things
SS: Maine Sangeet Natak ka performance 84' se shuru kiya. ( I started performing in Sangeet Natak from 84) It is from State competition I have acted first in State competition on behalf of BEST undertaking and I have performed nearly 15 Sangeet music drama.
SS: Initially I was a singer but I have started performing in dramas umm.. Sangeet dramas from 1984 in the Maharashtra State competition Sangeet Natak, on behalf of BEST undertaking . I have acted in nearby 15 musical dramas like Survana Tula, Swara Samradhni, Matsya Gandha, Yayati Devyani, Kanhopatra then Toh Pravasi Surancha, Sant Gora Kumbhar. Mruchakati, Maan Apmaan like that I have acted in 15 dramas.
And I won prize in the State competition and then I have started my career on professional Sangeet Dramas in Suvarna Tula, Swarna Samradni, Kanhopatra in the group of Sahakari Manoranjan then Sahitya Sangha... Mumbai Marathi Sahitya Sangha woh dono sansthaon se maine vyvasaik Rangbhoomi par kaam kiya. ( On behalf of these two organisations I worked professionally in Sangeet Natak)
TN: Apne BEST mein employee the? ( Were you an employee at the BEST)
SS: Ha main employee thi ( Yes, I was an employee) and I have retired now. Toh BEST ke career mein in BEST we are having a Kala Krida Mandal and we are taking part in a Sangeet Dramas from the day they know that I am a singer and from 1984 and I have acted in 15 dramas.
TN: What kind of musical training did you have? You said you were known as a singer then you started acting in plays
SS: Ha... Actually I have taken Shastriya Sangeet training from guruvariya Pandit Vasantrao Kulkarni and I was basically a classical singer but Natya Sangeet is mostly based on classical music so it was easy for the director. Sangeet Drama director to choose me for the drama
TN:But when you were learning Hindustani Music you also learnt how to do Natya Sangeet or you had to learn after you went on stage?
SS: No that is...
SS: Natya Sangeet when I got first prize in the State competition the... they are having a Sanskritik Karyasnachanalay in the State of Maharashtra and they take this Natya Shibir (Drama Workshop) every year for the people who won the prizes. So I have taken the training from that field and while acting when I have started acting the training I got from the music director who was there for the drama.
S: Toh yeh jo shibir tha jo apne us din bhi bataya yeh kaun sikhata tha kis tarah ka training tha? (So this workshop which you also mentioned the other day who would teach and what kind of training was it?)
SS: Us time mein Sanskritik Karyasanchanalay jo hai State mein ( At the time there was a ... State ka they took this shibir ( workshop) aur shibir mein Jaidev Hatangadi aur (and) Waman Kendre mere time woh dono at least for ten years they were there.
S: Par woh jyada modern Theatre ke log hai? ( But these people are from Modern Theatre)
SS: Ha toh Modern Theatre hi. Sangeet Drama was actually based on most of the Sangeet Dramas are based on pauranik (mythological) themes. Toh woh theme mein jab Sangeet drama's pehle jo bahut ghante tak chalte the toh jaise bhi waqt gujar ne laga waise shrote kam ho gaye timing kam ho gaye sponsorship nahi milti thi toh unko aur Theatre ka bhi ek rule aa gaya hai ke
( So on those theme's Sangeet Dramas would run for long hours as time passed the audiences reduced and the timing reduced, it didn't get any sponsorship and there was a rule in Theatre) when we book the theatre for for particular 3 hours or 4 hours for particular drama so we have to finish the drama within that hour otherwise they charge you more.
SS: Toh uske liye Sangeet Drama ka jo kalawadhi jo pehle 5-6 ghante tha woh reduce kar ke 3 ghante adhai ghante tak laya gaya. ( That's why the duration of Sangeet Natak which was 5-6 hours earlier was reduced to 3 to 2 and a half hours.) So that training we have got from the vyavasaik rang bhoomi ( professional theatre). Aani that pehle pehle jo shibir jab naya start hua tha tab toh pura nepaithya, prakash yojana means lighting ( And earlier when the workshops were new everything from set design to lighting..)
S: Set design
SS: Toh sabka training milta tha (we would get trained for everything). Phir voice culture apna voice kab tak kidhar tak pohchna chahiye woh bhi training ( Then voice culture how to throw your voice) and all type of training is there music, acting nepathya ( set design), prakash yojana (lighting) then background music so all type of training they give in that shibir ( workshop) particularly one for that shibir was for one month and from morning 7o'clock to night 7o'clock means bahargaon ke jo aate the jo woh toh unki udhar rehne ki bhi vyvastha hoti thi. Hum to Bambai ke the isliye hum raat ko ghar aate the ( people who came from other places they would arrange for their stay. Because we were from Bombay we would come home at night)
otherwise woh niwasi shibir tha (it was a residential workshop)
S: Toh yeh kaun sponsor... yeh shibir sponsor kaun karta tha? ( Who would sponsor.. who would sponsor the workshop?)
SS: State.. State level Maharashtra Sanskrutik Karyasanchanalay
S: Toh jaise aap BEST employee the toh aapko leave. ( Like you were a BEST employee so you got leave?)
SS:I was from BEST abhi BMC bhi hai, Mazgaon Dock hai, BPT hai, all they all the institution take part in this musical drama they send their one one representative for that shibir ( there's BMC, there's Mazgaon dock, there's BPT ( Bombay Port Trust)
TN:So it's only for government employees?
SS: Ha (yes)... No no not for government employees only for the winners from the State competition
S: Aur woh State competition mein they were independent Theatre groups also not just...
SS: Ha ha, ( yes, yes) Not just independent groups also
S: So professional groups also
TN: Abhi tak chal raha hai? ( Does it happen even now?)
SS: Ha, abhi bhi chal raha hai ( Yes, it still happens)
SS: Lekin maine choda toh unko dusri nahi mili isliye unhone band kiya abhi. BEST ne band kiya music drama. Baki aur spardha sab hote hai. Woh spardha ( That competition) particularly they took in Sangli Vishnudas Bhave Natya Gruha that State competition is there in the Sangli. (When I left they couldn't find anyone so they stopped. BEST doesn't do music drama. There are other competitions.
S: But as a BEST Sangeet Natak troupe aap pure State mein travel bhi karte the Natak ko leke? (you travelled across the State with the play?)
SS: No, State competition ka natak hum travel only kar sakte jab natak first aata hai. ( In State competition plays we can travel only when the play wins the first place) the first winner is allowed to participate in 3-4 theatres in Maharashtra
S: Toh phir aap Konkan vagera kaunse plays ke saath? ( You went to Konkan for which plays?)
SS: Woh... that is commercial rangbhoomi (Theatre). Vyavasaik jo groups bane the (There were professional groups like) Sahitya Sangha hai, Lalit Kaladarsha hai then Sahakari Manoranjan hai, Rangasharda hai they all perform they can take the... that is on commercial level. So they take money from the arrangers toh woh usko daura bolte hai na daura. Sangeet Natak daura ( That is called a tour. Music Drama tour) toh they move from all over Maharashtra other than Maharashtra also.
TN: So when you were growing up you had watched some of this Sangeet Natak? You were familiar with Sangeet Natak?
SS: Yes, yes yes before that I was not... means I have heard I have seen some of the natak but not all these natak which I performed.
TN: So what was the difference? between the old sangeet natak that you saw I don't know maybe in the 50's or 60's?
SS: See in the old days na the Sangeet Natak was the only entertainment for the music lovers means most of the old songs they are based on the classical cheez so the people used to enjoy the sangeet natak and there was a very much sincere actors and actresses also and initially means before I think Bal Gandharva in Bal Gandharva days the gents were doing the ladies role. So after that after some years the ladies started acting in the dramas and people used to like the ladies acting for their own role. Toh and there was very much sincerity then knowledge was also this thing so...
TN: And so how is the 80's and 90's Sangeet Natak different from this?
SS: 80's and 90's they were reduced the period of the drama toh jo natak ka ashay hota hai na the main story of the we have to curtail the in between parts then we have to cut down the songs also. In old days there were 30-40 songs in the drama and they used to sing the whole night abhi toh as per State competition rule every Sangeet Natak should have 14 geet including naandi.
TN: I see
SS: Means naandi is there in 13 (not clear) so the period also reduces. Jo acche acche gaane the jo challenging gaane the woh cut kar karne pade (The nice songs, challenging songs we had to cut them) because of the curtailment of the period of the drama. Toh abhi toh bahut kam ho gaya, abhi musicians bhi nahi milte aur sangeet drama ka maja kya live music hota hai bajane waale bhi saamne hote hai gaane waale bhi saamne hote hai toh (Now that has reduced you don't find the musicians and the Music Drama is best enjoyed live where you see the musicians and singers in front of you) that enjoyment is very much different. Abhi toh they have started means last before 5 years they have started the track music also in Sangeet Natak
TN: Playback? Playback?
SS: ha.. na not playback. Track music means they prepare a track and they will play the track so no musician will be there in front of you but you can sing. But that is very means usko marathi mein ekdum bandhist gana bolte hai ( in marathi it's called controlled singing) you have to start from the starting of the track and when the track ends you have to stop the gaana (song).
TN: So you can't elaborate you can't do anything
SS: Ahha... So the abhi I have acted in old dramas also toh saath saath aath minute gaane ka jisko adat us mein ek dum suddenly 5 minute hogaya ke ( For someone who is used to singing for 7- 8 mins and suddenly after 5 minute) yes, you have to stop means you can't take that enjoyment. Abhi Sangeet mein abhi hum gaate hai we get some enjoyment, free hai gaa rahe hai lekin samor.. samne musician nahi hai aur yeh nahi hai toh us mein thode bandhan aate hai. ( you sing carefree but when you don't see the musician it's a bit restricted)
TN: And this cheez were like the old Hindustani music cheez or the words were marathi right? But you sang it in Marahti
SS: Ha.. only the shabd us mein alag alag yeh karte hai toh cheez woh original jo chaal banayi hoti hai composition woh same hota hai sirf sabdh badalte hai... aisa
TN: Aur yaad aata hai aapko kaunsi cheez purane waale ( Do you remember any of these old compositions?)
S: koi bhi udharan ( Any example?)
SS: Purane waale aise ek ghazal hai ( There is an old ghazal)
( alaap) Chab Dikhla aaa... aaja (sings)
SS: Us par ek Vidyaharan natak hai uska gana hai ( There's a play Vidyaharan the song is from that) (alaap) (sings)
S: Yeh kaunse natak ka hai? (This is from which play?)
SS: Yeh Vidyaharan natak tha Kacha Devyani jo ek Mahabharat mein jo yeh us par hai (This is from the play Vidyaharan, Kacha Devyani it's from the Mahabharta)
TN: for this Sangeet Natak you had a script? You had to memorise it by heart?
SS: Yes, Yes
TN: Okay, so it was not free improvisation
SS: No, no not free not improvisation.. script is...
S: But the script must have come into Sangeet Natak at some point in time na? Or was it always part of the tradition?
TN: No there was always script but...
SS: Nahi, Nahi... From Shakuntal the script writing was there. Pehle toh Dashavtar mein hote the. Konkan mein woh Dashavtar karte hai na. Yani Mahabharat ke, Ramayan ke sab scene leke ke improvisation aise karte the. Baad mein toh improvisation mein toh voh khud ke dialogues bolte the lekin uske baad mein script aaya toh script ke madhyam se hi jaatein hai. ( Earlier there was Dashavtar. In Konkan they do Dashavtar. They take scenes from Mahabharata and Ramayana and improvise. Later in improvisation they would say their dialogues and then came the script so everyone started following the script) Script is compulsory
TN: Improvisation was in the singing so that people would then go and sing and keep on singing. So there's a fight between the script and the music in someway.
SS: Script likhne waale gaane bhi likhte hai usmein. Pehle pehle koi koi natak mein gaane alag likhte the script alag abhi nahi abhi jo likhne waala hai gaane bhi waise hi likhta hai ... usmein hi likhta hai. (The script writers also wrote songs. Earlier in some plays the songs were written by some person and script by some other but not anymore the one who writes the script writes the song)
S: Toh aapke saath Sangeet Natak mein kaun kaun matlab kaun scripts likh rahe the? kaun music director the? ( So who was writing scripts with you? Who was the music director?) Were they all fellow employees?
SS: Nahi humare script... Sangeet Natak ke jo script the woh bahar se yaani bahar se hi aate the any music drama. Par directors aur jo music directors the. Music director ek Chandrachur Vasudev kar ke the woh Natya Sangeet ke humare gaane bithake lete the uaur director BEST ka hi rehta tha. BEST ka accha humara group hai jo abhi sab professional mein hai. ( No our script... Music Drama script's someone else would write it any music drama. But the directors and music directors. Music director was Chandrachur Vasudev he would compose all the songs and the director would be someone from BEST. We have a nice group in BEST now everyone is in professional theatre.
S: Aapne khud bhi music direct kiya hai na shayad? ( You have also done music direction ? )
SS: Ha, toh usmein kya hota hai kabhi kabhi old agar jab naya script hota hai toh script ke bhi humko marks milte hai competition mein. Toh pehle do teen baras humnein naya script liya tha lekin naye script mein ek problem kya hota hai full sab nayi sankalpana hoti hai toh music director yeh woh karke uska kharcha bahut hi badhta hai tum old script liya ki uski sirf permission leni padhti hai aur phir baki sab ready rahta hai... aisa hota hai toh thoda kam karche mein woh ho jaata hai. Is liye baad mein humein jo old songs old Sangeet Natak hi liye aise.
(Yes, what happens at times is whe... if old... when it's a new script we would get marks for the script in the competition. For the first two three years we had a new script but the problem with the new script is the whole idea is new and with the music director etc. the cost increases. When you take an old script you just have to take the permission and everything else is ready. This is how it is and it get's done in low cost. So later we only performed only on old Music Drama's)
TN Aur performance kahan pe karte the? ( Where would you perform?)
SS: State ka toh Vishudas Bhave Sangli, mein hota tha ( If it was a State performance it was in Vishnudas Bhave, Sangli )
SS: Baki idhar theatre ( The rest would happen in theatres like) Ravindra Natya Mandir, Damodar, Shivaji Mandir, Yashwant Natya Mandir all theatres from Bombay.
TN: Aur audience kaise the? Bahut saare log aate the? ( What was the audience like? Did a lot of people come? )
SS: Audience... baad mein bahut hi kam ho gaya. Baad mein bahut hi kam ho gaye yaani Sangeet jo gaane wale bhi abhi kya karte hai gaanewala yeh aaya woh aaya aise... waise nahi lete the. Pehle jo pura natak acche che bithate the same logon ko lekar abhi kya hota hai mereko idhar jyada kaam mila, TV par jyada kaam mila toh main natak chod diya.
( Later it became quite less. It became quite less later the one's who sing what they do now is take anyone. Earlier they would rehearse very well with the same people. Now what happens is if they get more work, or more opportunnities in TV they leave the play.)
Toh we have to replace that bhoomika. Toh replace karne mein kya hota hai kabhi kabhi woh utna accha gaane wala milta hi nahi. But BEST humara aisa problem hua tha ke last do year mein humara jo kaam karne waala tha main hero ka woh expire ho gaya. Toh humko jo humnein jo gaanewale laye the woh classical sikhe nahi the. (So we have replace that role. When you replace you don't find a person who sings that well. In BEST we had a problem that in the last two years our main hero expired. So we... the singers we had got did not have classical training)
SS: Toh unko aisa bitha ke lena padta tha. Yeh aisa pehli line gaao, phir dusri line gaao, phir teesri line gaao aisa nahi hona chahiye. Usmein apna khudka bhi gaana aana chahiye woh satisfaction nahi milta. Aur abhi abhi gaane wale bhi kam ho gaye aur TV hai attraction, serials hai, radio hai, albums hai toh gaane Sangeet Natak. Natya Sangeet gaane wale bahut hi kam ho gaye.
( We had to litreally teach to sing. Sing the first line like this, then sing the second line and then sing the third. That's not how it should be. It should have your own singing. You don't get that satisfaction. Now there are very few singers left and the TV is an attraction,serials, radio, and (music) albums so Music Drama... there are few people who do Natya Sangeet.) They are not really very much interested.
TN: But some of the famous Hindustani Khayal singers also sing Natya Sangeet.
SS: Yes, Vasantrao Deshpande hai. Unhone toh Katiyar Kaaljat Ghusli itna accha natak kiya phir Kumar Gadharvane kabhi nahi kiya lekin... ( There's Vasantrao Deshpande. He did a very nice play Katiyar Kaaljat Ghusli. Kumar Gandharva did not do but...)
TN: Bhimsen Joshi always sings Natya Sangeet
SS: Ha, Bhimsen Johi ka background vagere music... music diya bhi tha Natya Sangeet...Sangeet Natak aisa tha lekin classical waale normally kaam nahi karte ( Yes, Bhimsen Joshi's background... he also composed music for a Music Drama, it was like that but normally the classical singers don't perform in plays)
TN: Kaam nahi karte magar gaate hai na Natya Sangeet. ( They don't perform in plays but they sing Natya Sangeet)
SS: Ha ha.. Natya Sangeet gaate hai sab. ( Yes, yes.. everyone sings Natya Sangeet.) Bhimsen Joshi ne gaaya (sang), Prabha Karekar gaate hai (sings), phir (then) Kishori Amonkar gaati hai (sings), phir(then) Malini Rajurekar classical singers gaate hai (sings).
S: Sangeet Natak ke baad aapka khudka classical music mein involvement kam ho gaya tha? (After Sangeet Natak your involvement with classical music became less?)
SS: Kam ho gaya tha.. thoda kam ho gaya yaane ab kidhar gaane ko performance dene ko gaye toh woh hi gaane bolte hai. Woh gaana gao woh natak ka. Yeh natak ka woh gaana toh classical ka thodasa kam hota hai aisa. ( It became less.. it became less as in if I went for a music performance they would ask me to sing the same songs. Sing that song from the play so classical became a bit less.)
S: Aapki kaunsi most favourite bhoomika rahi hai? Kaunse plays? ( Which has been your most favourite role? which plays?)
SS:Mereko Matsyagandha ki bhoomika bahut hi acchi lagi thi woh Satyavati ki joh story hai ke woh fisherman ki ladki hoti hai woh raja se paas rehti hai phir raja usko chod deta hai toh usmein dual bhoomika dikhti hai. Pehle ekdum innocent ladki ki thi aur phir ekdum Shantanu ki patni yaani... there was a difference in the role also.
( I liked the role in Matsaygandha the story of Satyavati, fisherman's daughter who lives with the king who then leaves her. It had a dual role. First she's very innocent and then she is Shantanu's wife as in)
Kaam karne mein bhi thoda challenge tha. ( It was a challenge to do that role)
TN: How was the music different for these two roles?
SS: Us time ka jo music tha woh eldum silent tha means silent aur pehle jo young hote hai woh uska pattern alag tha gaane ka. ( The music at that time was very silent means silent and the young people had a different pattern of singing.
TN: Thoda gaa ke dikhaye ( Can you sing a little bit )
SS: ( sings)
SS: Yeh dance karte karte aisa gaan hai. Aur jab Satyavati ki bhoomika aa jati hai tab. ( There was dance with this song. And when Satyavati comes then) ( sings)
TN: You can see the difference in the development of the character. Any other role that you remember that you really liked to perform?
SS: This Suvarnatula role is also good.
TN: What was that role?
SS: That is based on Parijatak story. Krishna ke do wife hote hai ( Krishna has two wives)
TN: Krishna- Radha
SS: Satyabhama and Rukmini. So he brings Parijatak from Swarga (heaven) aur uske Satyabhama ke bageeche mein plant karta hai lekin uske phool milte hai Rukmini ko (and he plants it in Satyabhama's garden but the Rukmini gets the flowers.) That is the story.
TN: Aur aapka role kya tha? ( What was your role?)
SS: Maine Satyabhama ka role kiya tha ( I was playing Satyabhama's role)
S: Toh aapke plays mein se kaunsa jyada popular hua tha? Kaunsa bahut hit play tha aapka? ( Which one of your plays became very popular? Which play of yours was a huge hit?)
SS: Mera toh woh toh sabke sab hi play acche the. Swarsamradhni accha tha. Swarsamradhni woh us par aadharit hai ashik tamasha waali ladki and classical singer toh usko laake ( Mine.. in a way all the everyone's plays were good. Swarsamradhni was good. Swarsamradhni is based on... that girl who is tamasha girl and a classical singer and he brings her)
S: My Fair Lady
SS: Ha.. karta tha woh bhi accha tha Suvarnatula ka accha tha phir iska Mruchakatika accha tha Vasantsena ( Yes.. that was nice Suvarnatula and even Mruchakatika's Vasantsena)
S: Par yeh sab jyada jo pehle likhe gaye plays hai ( These were mostly the plays that were written earlier)
SS: Ha pehle likhe gaye the ( Yes, these were written earlier)
S: Contemporary jyada nahi ( Not so contemporary)
SS: Most of the subjects are on puraan ( mythological) only
TN: But social plays were also there in Sangeet Natak ?
SS: There were social plays also. Pravaasi Surancha karke maine ek natak kiya tha woh Tansen ke jeevan par tha. Tansen ke ladke ne jis ladke ki shaddi ki hai woh Kothiwaali hoti hai, toh kothiwali ka music aur Tansen ka music mein jo clash aata hai usmein... aisa clash tha woh. Toh woh usmein maine role kiya tha woh bhi accha tha woh social drama tha phir Tansen maan jata ki nahi classical music is also important and the light music is also important aisa. Aisa uska subject tha.
( I did a play Pravaasi Surancha it was based on Tansen's life. Tansen's son marries a courtesan so there's a clash between courtesan's music and Tansen's music. I did that role that was nice that was a social drama. Then Tansen agrees that classical music is also important and the light music is also important. That was the subject)
TN: So in that play there is a lot of classical singing also
SS: Ha, classical thing also... aur mera woh kothiwali toh woh pattern of music was different the gaane bahut alag se the. (and the courtesan's pattern of music was different the songs were very different.)
S: Kis, kis tarah ke ( What were they like?)
SS: Uska peh... aisa gaana tha jo Tansen sunta hai woh ( The song was like this)... (sings)
SS: Aisa ek gaana tha phir ( this was one song then...) (sings)
SS: Means thumri, dadra jo classical ke light music ke jo pattern the na us par bahut se gaane adharbhooth the ( So thumri, dadra a lot of songs were based on the classical light music patterns)
TN: 2 minute break
TN: So tell us about the people who you used to perform with on the stage. Did they come from all different backgrounds? They were all Maharashtrian I suppose. At least they spoke Marathi. So what about their social background?
SS: Pehlyandi shambar varsha purvi kai hota ki picture madhye kinva nataka madhye kaam karnare streeya nasaichya purushach te kaam karat asaiche. Aani arthat changle uttam kaam karnare purush suddha Bal Gandharvancha naav tar famousach aahe. Pan tya nantar jenva tyach group madhle loka vegele vegele thikane spread jhaale tenva kai jhala ki tya lokani aap aaplya sanstha kadhlya. Tyana Sangeet natak karaicha hota he karaicha...
( 100 years ago there were no women who acted in film or theatre only men performed. And among good male actors of course Bal Gandharva was very famous. But later people from this group spread to different places and then these people started their own institutions. They wanted to do Sangeet Natak etc.)
Ma te kartaana tyane, kai kela aaplya baiko lach samaj bhoomika dyaychi asel kinva mulila bhoomika dyaychi asel ashya padhati ni tya sanstha shuru kelya. Tyamule tyachanantar jya kahi mukhya sanstha jhalya tya sansthan madhye tyanchech muli tyanchech javai, tyancha leki, suna kaam karaicha. Ma aamchya sarkhe je baheroon aalele hote ki State competition madhna hyacha madhna tyacha madhna tya lokana evdhya changlya padhatine kinva aaplyala havi tashi bhoomika gheta yaychi nahi.
( While doing so, what they did was gave the role to their wives or would give to their daughters and that's why they started these institutes. That's why, after this the main institutes that came into being these institutes had their daughters, son-in -law, daughters and daughter-in-law would work there. So people like us who had come from oher places from State competitions etc. These people couldn't get roles that they wanted.)
SS: Ata mala karaicha asla tar ma mala kuthli tari duyyam bhoomika dyayche main role kuthlya tari tyanchach hyachatlya ashya padhaticha thoda sa he... baraich shya sanstha ashya hotya. Ki jya tyanchi sampoorna tya natakat kaam karaicha mhanje navra, baiko, mula, javai ase sagle tya natakat asaiche tyamule tyana hero heroine baheroon ghyaychi garaj nasaichi bakiche loka tyancha kade available asaiche tyanche sanstheche.
(If I wanted to act I would get a secondary role. The main role would be given to someone from these institutes. There were many instittutes like this where the entire family worked in the play like the husband, wife, kids, son-in-lw everyone would be in the play so they didn't have to take a hero or heroine from outside the others were available to them from the institute.)
Pan je main kaam karnare asaiche te tyancha familitlech asaiche. Tyamule tya nantar barach kaal parenta baherchya kuthlya gaanarya baila kinva purushala patkan immediately tashi bhoomika milna kathin asaicha. Mag ashya veles kadhi kadhi kai vhvaicha ekhadya natakat nahi bhoomika milat aahe ma chala hi bai changla kaam karte hi javal rahte, aani changli gaate ma chala hila ubha kara.
( But all the main characters were from their family. So it was difficult for any female or male singer who was an outsider to immediately get a role. So at times when they didn't find anyone to play the character then they would say this woman is good and stays close by and sings well okay so let's get her.)
Asa vhaicha mhanje tyamule kai vhvaicha mag gaanare asaicha tya naraz vhvaicha ki nai baba... ata mala kadhi kadhi bolavla ki majha kai vhvaicha mi kaam...nokri karnare hote tyamule professional natakat kaam karaicha mhanje tevdha vel dyaycha, tevda kashta gheyayche mehnat karaichi.
( This is what happened and so the singers would get angry... sometimes if they called me, I had a job and working in a play professionally means you have to give that time to it, and work hard for it. )
Ma tya padhati ni aaplyala fame suddha prasiddhi suddha milayla pahije ashi expectation asaichi ma nataka madhye chotishi bhoomika asli tar hya evdhya chotya bhoomike saathi mi kaam karnar nahi. Ma mala jar kaam tumhi denar asal tar main bhoomika dya.
( And this way you should also get fame and success this was the expectation and if it was a small role then I wouldn't want to work for such a small role. And if they wanted to give me work I wanted the main role.)
Asa mala suddha ek don natakatan sathi he karai... struggle karaila lagli. Ki mi Swarsamradhni madhye jenva actually initially me select jhale dusri ek na gaanarya bhoomike saathi select jhalelele. Pan mi tya directorla jaoon vicharla mhanje tya producer la vicharla ki tumhi majha gaana aikla aahet ka? Tar nai ma tumhi gaana na aikta kasa tharavlat ki mi hi bhoomika kareen ki ti bhoomika? Me tyana sangitla ki tumhi mhaja gaana aika te director je astil tyana pan majha gana aikwa aani nantar tyani jar sangitla ki nahi hi bai ti bhoomika karu shakat nahi tar mi ti bhoomika kareen.
( Even I had to struggle for a couple of plays.. When I was selected for Swarsamradhni I was selected for a role that was of a non-singer. But, I went and asked the director have you heard my singing? He said no, Then how have you decided what I character I should play? I told him you listen to my song and whoever is the director make him listen to my singing and then if he says this woman can't play that character then I play the other character.)
Ma tyani majha gana aikla special music director la vicharla. Music director ni sangitla nahi hi bai hi bhoomika karu shakte aani mag majha tya sansthe madhye main gaika mhanun he jhala pan tyacha sathi mala fight karaila lagla, pan asa doon teen sanstha mala natakan saathi vicharla vyavasaik sathi.
( Then he heard my singing specially and asked the music director. The music director said this woman can play this role and then I was selected as the main singer, but I had to fight for that, but 2-3 institutions asked me to be a part of professional theatre.)
Pan me tya lahaan bhoomika aslyamule tya accept nahi kelya me sangitla nahi main asel karan sagalach avalamboon asta. Mala jar initially vyavisaik rangabhoomi var jar sangeet natakatla kaam karaicha asla tar mi pahilya pasanach samaj lahaan chote chote bhoomiket ma mala mothya bhoomiket shirailach kadhi milnaar nahi.
( But because they were small roles I did not accept them. I said if they are main roles because everything is dependent. If I wanted to work professionally in theatre if I only did small roles from the begining then I wouldn't have been able to get the big roles ever.)
Tyamule kartaanach aapan asa kaam karaicha ki saglyancha lakshat rahila pahije, nahi he hya hi ne yeoon kaam kela tyach natakat aapan kaam karaicha ma mi sangaiche. karan me BEST suddha simultaneously majha career vadhat hota mhanje me BEST madhye clerk mhanun lagli aahe tyacha nantar officer chi pariksha deli, aani mi retire hotana mi PRO jhaleli hote. Tya mule tevdha job, per day che paishe kharcha karoon nataka sathi daure karna hi mala suddha paradvanya sarkha navta jar mala tyachat shiraicha asel tar prasiddhi tari pahihije.
( So one should only do such roles that everyone remembers, that she has worked on this one should only work in those plays and I would tell them, because in BEST simultaneously my career was growing. I was working as a clerk in BEST and then I gave exams to become an officer, and when I retired I was a PRO. So that job and to spend money everyday and travel for the tour of the play I wouldn't have been able to afford it. If I had to enter theatre I wanted to be successful)
SS: At least te tari mala positive baju pahije. Asa mahja mat hota. Ma tasa boomika mala nahi milat asli tari tar mi karaichi nahi. Mi nahi saangaichi.
(At least that positive side I wanted from that. This was my opinion. And if I did not get such roles then I wouldn't do it. I would say no.)
S: Par yeh jo aap keh rahe hai, ke woh apne kutumb ke logon ko lena chahte the bahar waalon ko nahi is mein jaati ko leke bhi kuch tha? ( But what you are saying that they only wanted to take people from their families was this also related to caste?)
SS: Ha, jaati ko leke bhi yaani... koi koi sanstha hoti hai woh ekdum Brahmins ki hoti hai toh woh unko hi lekar karte hai. Koi Koi sanstha State competition mein bhi Brahmin Samaj aisa hota hai toh us mein they are particular about the caste. ( Yes, caste related in the sense that some institutions were only for Brahmins so they would only take them. Some institutions even in State competitions it used be Brahmin Samaj they are very particular about caste. )
S: But woh kaafi jyada tha ke they were the exceptions? ( But did this happen a lot or was this an exception?)
SS: Actually other than... yeh koi jyada kaam yaani classical shikne waale bhi nahi the. Brahmin, Saraswat yeh caste ke aaju baaju waale itne jyada involve nahi the tab. ( There were not too many people who were learning classical music. Brahmin, Saraswat the people around were not so involved.)
S: Music mein? ( In music?)
SS: Ha... Toh jo involve the unko chance nahi milta tha aisa hota tha. Abhi toh sab samaj ke log acche gaate hai gaanewale, abhi toh itna dikhai nahi deta lekin tab thoda sa yeh tha mereko bhi ek do natak mein nahi bola tha. Nahi aap Saraswat Brahmin hai Brahmin hi chahiye. Humare sanstha jo hai yeh karti hai part leti hai kuch competition mein usmein humara Brahmin hi chahiye. Aisa.
(Yes, The one's who were involved didn't get a chance that's what happened but now singers from all caste's sing well... and it's not so common now but back then this used to happen. I was rejected in a couple of plays. They said, no you are Saraswat Brahmin we want only Brahmins. Our institution which takes part in any competition we want only Brahmins. That's how it was.)
TN: But they performed the same plays?
SS: ha ha..( Yes, yes)
TN: Not that they performed some special play for..
SS: Nai, nai, nai ( No, no,no) performed the plays. Aisa hota tha ( That's what happened)
SS: Kyunki tabhi bhi ek dusra ek mudda main bhool gayi. Tabhi bhi other than Brahmins dusra bhi ek yeh hai ki tyancha Marathi shuddha nasta. Kahi Kahi Marathi lokan madhye suddha saglech jana shuddha marathi boltat asa nahi. Diction mein bhi farak yenyachi shakyata aste mhanun kadachit daavlat astil. Pan... karan Marathi je language aahe ti natakachi ji particular language aahe ti ekdum rich marathi tyachat ucchar astat. Tyamule te kadhi kadhi kahi kahi baakichya lokana patkan jamatatach asa nahi. Te suddha rehearsal karun shambhar vela ghotun ghotun dialogue mag te bolu shaktat. Kadchit that maybe the reason. Asa suddha asta.
( Back then.. I forgot another issue. So even then other than Brahmins another thing was that their Marathi was not chaste. Within the Marathi people not everyone can speak chaste Marathi. It is possible to have a difference in the diction which is why they would avoid. But... because the Marathi in the plays the pronunciation is in rich Marathi. So at times it's not easy for everyone to pick quickly. It happens with rehearsal after repeating it over hundred times then they can say it. Possibly that maybe the reason. This happens.)
TN: So do you think that the singing capacity was more important? Or pronouncing Marathi in a particular way was more important?
SS: Both the things should be there. Dono... Donhi goshti ektra jhala tar kai mhantat dudhat kesar. Donhi ghosti aslya tar ekdum changla kadhi kadhi abhinay ekdum changla asto pan gaana ekdumach he asta tar mag te rangat nahi natak tasa. Pan donhi goshti changla asla, ganara suddha uttam asla aani he suddha Marathi suddha changla asla bhasha suddha changli asli tar natakat chaar chaand lagun jatat.
( Both.. if both things come together then like they say saffron in milk. If both the things are there it's very good sometimes the acting is good but singing is not then the play doesn't have that effect. But when both the things are good the singer and the Marathi is also good then the play becomes even better.)
TN: If you singing Hindustani classical music.
SS: Ha ( Yes)
TN: Do you think that people will say, Oh she's not pronouncing some Bhojpuri correctly. She's not pronouncing some Persian correctly? They are saying how well does she sing? So why in Sangeet Natak the ucchar (pronunciation) so important?
SS: Nahi woh bhi correct hai ke, kyunki kabhi kabhi woh bhi lok Hindi ya sunte hai na toh thoda sa... abhi main ek Hindi natak mein boli Sayiaan Bhayo Kotwal, Viccha Majhi Puri Kara karke ek Vasant Sabnis ka ek tamasha cum natak aisa tha uska Hindi mein translation Dubey ji ne kiya tha. Sayiaan Bhayo Kotwal. Toh mera bhi Hindi ka problem hota tha yaani pronunciation kabhi kabhi ho jata hai. Toh you will have to mhanje aamhi gana ghotna jyala mhanto.
( No that is also correct, because sometimes when they listen to Hindi then a little.. I said in a Hindi play Sayiaan Bhayo Kotwal, Viccha Majhi Puri Kara ( Fulfil my wishes) by Vasant Sabnis was a tamasha cum play this was translated in Hindi by Dubeyji, Sayiaan Bhayo Kotwal. Even I had problems with Hindi as in with pronunication sometimes it happens. So you will have to what we call mugging the the song. We have to sing hundred timed thousand times then only you can pronounce that word correctly.)
TN: So in Natya Sangeet was classical music was the only base? Or you had also other kinds of music? Some folk music or bhajan or you know...
SS: Ha, hai na abhi yeh isme Thumri, Dadra, Lok sangeet. Swarsamradhni mein Lok Sangeet tha yaane lavani, bolte hai na...hey aisa tha woh jo pehle initially tamasha wale hoti hai toh uska pronuniciation bhi ekdum galat hota hai gaane ka. "n' mein "na" aisa yeh bhi galat hota hai Bhasha bhi galat hoti hai. Toh that is on based on Lok Kala... Lok Kala music.
( Yes, there is Thumri, Dadra, Folk music. In Swarsamradhni there was Folk music like laavni.. they say... it was like that initially she is a tamasha girl so her pronunciation is wrong like her 'n' pronunciation and her language is also wrong. That is based on Folk Art... Folk Music)
TN: You have never performed any role where you are singing different kinds of songs?
SS: Ha, abhi Swarsamradhni ka kiya tha na? ( Yes, I did Swarsamradhni)
TN: Accha ( Okay)
SS: Pehle ekdum uska initial jo hai woh entry hai woh ekdum galat yaani, "Kai o kasa kai karta?... amhala nahi yenar... Amhi asa gaanar nahi... amcha asa gana nahi aisa type tha. Toh woh classical singer usko lata hai uska pronunciation bhasa sab change karta hai. Toh gaane bhi alag the, yeh bhi alag tha pronunciation alag tha aur jab classical singer hoti hai toh pronunciation alag tha usmein
(In the begining her initial entry is very wrong like, " Hey how are you? No we can't do this... We won't sing like that.. our songs are not like this... it was this type. The classical singer brings her (with him) and changes her pronunciation, language everything. The songs are different, this was also different the pronunciation is different and when she becomes a classical singer the pronunication becomes different.
TN: Sunvayi humko ( We would like to hear)
SS: Yeh Lavani baaj tha, phir classical ka gaana alag hota hai. (This was in Lavani style, the classical is different) ( sings) (Kashi kelis majhi daina re mala tujhya bigar karme na) Aisa woh sikhata hai toh yeh kehti hai ( This is what he teaches her and she says)... (sings) Kashi kelis majhi daina ra mala tujhya bina karme na... ra mala tujhya bigar karme na. Tu raghu tujhi me maina.. Tu Raghu tujhi me maina majha roop bilori aina aangi ishka cha ajaar kari bejaar kamti hoeena ra mala tujhya bigar karme na... ra mala tujhya vina karme na.. Woh sikhata hai tujhya bigar karme na. Tu Raghu tujhi me maina majha roop bilori aaina. Yaani the pronunciation, language is different.
S: Toh Sangeet ke saath saath aapko abhinay sikhna pada woh aapko shuru mein mushkil laga ke it came easily? ( Alongwith music you had to learn to act did you find it difficult in the begining?)
SS: Nahi mushkil laga... main toh me suruwati pasana gaanari hote natakat kadhi kaam kele navta. Mag aamchya kade BEST che kala krida mandalacha ek hech hota ki te Kalakar tayaar .Khoop BESTitle kalakar professional rangabhoomi var aata ekdum gaazlele aahet, tyachamule tya pramane tayaar karaicha tevdha mehnat gheyaycho aamhi.. ( No, I found it difficult. I was a singer from the begining I had not worked in a play. In BEST the Art Club was responsible for creating a lot of artists a lot of artists from BEST are very famous in professional theatre. So we would work according to that and we did a lot of hard work.)
S: Koi dialogue aapka jo bahut hit dialogue tha ya favourite tha. ( So is there a dialouge which was a hit or your favourite?)
SS: Aata mala sampurna aathvel ki nahi ( I don't know if I'll remember the whole thing)
SS: Hmmph.. mhane Kacche deva var tujha prem hota? Ho, hota pan te majhya hrudyatun majhya hrudayatun me kaspata saman door fekun dila aahe, aani tujhya suddha hrudayat te nirman hovo naye mhanun tula ithe gheun aale ya sharmisthe chya mahali. Je prem mala milat nahi te tula suddha milta kama nahi.
( Hmmph.. you say you loved Kacche? Yes I did, but I have discarded it from my heart and I have brought you here to Sharmistha's palace so that you don't develop the same feelings. If I don't get this love you shouldn't get it either)
S: Yeh kaunsa hai? ( Which is this?)
SS: Yeh... Yayati Devyani. Sharmistha and Devyani.
TN: So in the raaga's that you used to sing or that you used to use in Sangeet Natak where there any particular raaga's? Or how many raaga's were you..
SS: No actually sangeet natak is Natya Sangeet is mixed because when we sing the Natya Sangeet we have to sing Bol Taana's so that is in different raaga's also. Toh mix hota hai, ( So it gets mixed) lekin (but) initially the song is based on a one raaga means aata..Bihag raaga aahe (alaap). Tapo balani thor jinkin chanchal toh chit chor japatapache karite saadhan maanil nand kishor jinkin chanchal toh chit chor... this is asthayi. Kareen manachi bandishala bandivan mi kareen tyala bandivan mi kareen tyala, bandivan me kareen tyala... raaga change ho gaya ( the raaga has changed) bandivaan mi kareen tyala... bandivaan mi kareen tyala. Japatapache karooni sadhana maanil nand kishor. Phir se original raaga pe aate hai... aisa change beech mein change hota hai. Lekin base kabhi kabhi koi koi Natya Sangeet ka particular ka ek hi raaga hota hai. ( It comes back to the original raaga... it changes in the middle. But the base at times in some Natya Sangeet's is one only raaga.)
TN: And the audience they were able to understand the raaga's?
SS: Yes. Yes
TN: They knew which raaga's and all
SS: Yes, yes... Us par kabhi kabhi likha bhi hota hai yeh raaga pe aadharit hai. Lekin woh beech mein... yaani Natya Sangeet par yaani Natya Sangeeta madhye raagachya baaher jyanchi mubha aste which is not in classical. Classical tumhi ek raaga mhatlat ki tumala toh raaga gheyayla pahije. Natya Sangeet gaatana tumhala mubha aste ki tumhi dusrya, teesrya raagat jaoon parat originally tya oli madhye yaycha aani he karaicha karan Natya Sangeet Natakatla Sangeet he tumcha jo Natakacha ashay aahe jo theme aahe ti pudhe carry karto. Mhanje aata tumhala te Natya Sangeet gaila var te kalta ki pudhe kai honar aahe.
( Sometimes it's written it's based on this raaga. But in the middle of... I mean in Natya Sangeet there's scope to go out of the raaga which is not the case in classical. In classical when you sing in one raaga you have to stick to it. While singing Natya Sangeet one has the freedom you can go to the second, third raaga, come back to original line and sing it because Natya Sangeet or Drama Music is a way to carry the narrative or theme forward. When Natya Sangeet is sung you know what is going to happen after that.)
Tyamule toh... tyacha madhey vegla vegla hyacha... tar tu... aata tila jar explain kariacha asel ki majhya mi Krishnala na kasa kareen. Krishna la majhya kade valoon kasa gheyeen? ( Therefore... there are different... if she has to explain, what would I do for Krishna. How will I turn him towards me? ) Tar tapo balane thor jinkeen na chanchal tu chit chor, japatapache kariti sadhan maanil nand kishor. Jinkina chanchal toh chit chor.
SS:Kinva tyach raagatla dusra ek aahe. (Or there's another one of the same raaga...) Rati hoon ni sundar madan manjiri. Madanache vardan tula ga. Te Krishna donhi baikana convince kartoy te Parijatakcha jhaad me tujhya saathi aanla aahe pan tyacha varoon tya ragaav lelya aahet ma toh convince kasa karto.
(Krishna is trying to convince both the women that he has brought the Paraijatak tree for them but they are angry with him and how he tries to convince them)
Rati hoon ni madan manjiri madanache vardan tula ga. Lalit komala tav sundarta. Tu hi itni sundar hai ke tereko phoolon ki kya jaroorat hai. (You are so beautiful that you don't need any flowers) asia uska ( that's how it is) ... Lalit komala tav sundarta laave tase mandar phula ga. Laajavite mandar phoola... tab position aisi natak mein hoti hai ke woh khande pe haath iske rakhta hai lekin bolta hai usse. ( At this point in the play his hand is on her shoulder and he is talking to someone else)
Lalit komala tav sundarta. laajaveti mandar phoolala ga madanache vardaan tula ga. Yeh dono ko convince karta hai ke aise... lekin at a time isko nahi samajta usko convince kare usko nahi convince karta hai usko. Toh woh jo yeh karte hai na.
( He's trying to convince both but at the same time both don't know he's trying to convince the other. So that waht they do.) (sings)
SS: (sings) Baghooni tula gaganat khangate baghooni tula gaganat khangate. Usko chaand dikhata hai aani mag ( He shows her the moon) ... baghooni tula gaganat khangate kale kale ne chandra kala. Kale na maj la vrutha phoolancha, kale na maj la vrutha phoolancha, kale na majla, isko bolta hai ( He tells her) vrutha phoolancha naad kashala hava tula? Toh woh gussa ho jaati hai ( So she gets angry) naad kashala hava tula ga? Madanche vardaan tula ga.