Born On: October 4, 1913
Born In: Miraj, Bombay Presidency, India
Died On: October 10, 2006
Career: Hindustani classical singer
An eminent Hindustani classical singer practicing in British India, Saraswati Abdul Rane was the daughter of Ustad Abdul Karim Khan, the founder of the Kirana Gharana of Hindustani classical music. As part of a family that was so well known in the music circles of India, Saraswati Abdul Rane very obviously took up music as her profession. Her elder siblings Sureshbabu Mane and Hirabai Barodekar, doyens of classical music in India, were her chief trainers and also inspiration. Saraswati Abdul Rane performed alone as well as in 'jugalbandi' with her sister Hirabai Barodekar.
Saraswati Abdul Mane was born on October 4, 1913 in the Miraj town of Bombay Presidency. Her father Ustad Abdul Karim Khan named his daughter Sakina. Her father being the founder of the kirana Gharana, music was a part of Sakina's everyday life. When Sakina was still young, her parents Ustad Abdul Karim Khan and Tarabai Mane separated and this was when she got her new name Saraswati Mane. She and her four siblings lived with their mother, who wished to change all their names after their parents were no longer together. Though Saraswati Abdul Rane's father was a great singer, it was her elder brother Sureshbabu Mane who was her first formal Hindustani classical teacher. Her brother was her chief inspiration to take up music as a profession. Subsequently, Saraswati Rane also started learning from her famous elder sister Hirabai Barodekar from the year 1930. While the Kirana Gharana of Hindustani classical music was present at her home, Saraswati Abdul Rane believed in enhancing her musical knowledge by seeking taleem or training from Ustads of different musical gharanas like the Jaipur Gharana and the Gwalior Gharana. Alladiya Khan and Ustad Natthan Khan from Jaipur Gharana and Professor B R Deodhar and Pandit Master Krishnarao from Gwalior Gharana were her principle trainers.
The beginning of Saraswati Abdul Rane's journey in the world of music started from her early childhood years. She ventured on Hindustani classical musin from the age of 7. Saraswati Rane soon became a popular face in stage musical dramas such as Sangeet Sanshaykallol, Sangeet Saubhadra and Sangeet Ekach Pyala. In the year 1929, when she was a little girl of 16, Saraswati Abdul Rane was offered some of the best roles in the musical dramas which also featured popular artists like Balgandharva. Saraswati Rane soon started receiving offers to appear in a number of musical shows being performed all over India. In the year 1933, Saraswati Abdul Rane gave her first radio performance on Akashvani. Since then she remained loyal to the government radio station, singing along with other classical vocalists, in almost every Radio Sangeet Sabha organized by Akashvani from Kanyakumari to Peshawar (now in Pakistan). Saraswati Abdul Rane was associated with Akashvani till the end of her career in 1990, when the eminent classical singer announced her retirement from the public stage.
Saraswati Abdul Rane was one of the first ladies from the field of Hindustani classical music who ventured into the commercial world of music, singing for films. Saraswati Rane's voice soon became a hit with Marathi and Hindi film audiences. Her Marathi film debut as singer was with 'Payach Dasi'. After the release of her song from her first Hindi feature film 'Ramrajya', which earned Saraswati Abdul Rane an HMV award for the highest sales of gramophone records, several directors and composers from the Hindi film industry wanted to rope in Saraswati Abdul Rane for their films. She, subsequently, had the honor to work with notable filmmakers like Shyam Benegal in his 1977 release 'Bhumika' and popular music directors like Shankarrao Vyas, Sudhir Phadke, C Ramachandra and K C Day. While she lent her voice to Marathi film songs, Saraswati Abdul rane's first love always remained Hindustani classical music. She increasingly became interested in light Marathi classical songs popularly referred to as 'Bhav-geet'. Saraswati Abdul Rane's Bhav-geet records also sold at record numbers from music stores across the country.
Saraswati Abdul Rane soon became a popular face at the annual Sawai Gandharva Music Festival organized in Pune. She was so popular with the masses and the connoisseurs of music in India that Saraswati Rane was always invited to every esteemed music conference held in important cities like Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta and Madras and the musically rich cities of Gwalior, Baroda and Bhopal. In the year 1965 Saraswati Abdul Rane created history when she and her elder sister Hirabai Barodekar appeared on the stage for a jugalbandi vocal recital. They were the first ladies in the history of Indian classical music to participate in a jugalbandi performance. Their performance was much appreciated and Saraswati Abdul Rane and Hirabai Barodekar continued their music performances together till the year 1980. Records of their songs together were a favorite not only then, but even in the present years. The records still sell off music shelves even in this age of modern and contemporary music.
As a Teacher
It is apparent that Saraswati Abdul Rane remained busy with her public performances and studio recordings for the maximum part of her time all through the year. But she was also interested in disseminating her knowledge in Hindustani classical music to younger members of her family and the society. Therefore, Saraswati Abdul Rane became a teacher of classical music to students who came to her to learn. Saraswati Rane's granddaughter Meena Faterpekar was one of the most notable of her students who also carried forward the tradition of the Kirana Gharana of Hindustani classical music.
Awards and Recognition
Saraswati Abdul Rane received a number of awards through the span of a successful career in Hindustani classical music: