Pandit Kumar Gandharva

Smt. Vasundhara Komkali

Smt. Vasundhara Komkali was one of the leading female vocalists of the country, with a rare and extraordinary voice. She was the true representative and heir to the gayaki of Late Pt. Kumar Gandharva.

She was born in Jamshedpur and was brought up in Calcutta(now Kolkata) and was encouraged to learn music from her childhood. In 1946 she came down to Bombay and initially had her training for more than a decade under Prof. B. R. Deodhar a doyen of Gwalior Gharana and a disciple of Pt. Vishnu Digambar Paluskar.

There after she was trained under her husband Pt. Kumar Gandharva. She helped Kumarji in the conception and execution of several specially prepared theme concerts such as Geet-Varsha, Geet-Hemant, Geet-Vasant, Rituraj-Mehfil, Triveni, Surdas, Tulsidas-Darshan, Nirgunbani, Mala Umajlela Balgandharva etc.

Vasundharaji herself presented a unique theme concert called “Aayee Badariya” which focussed on clouds only and not Varsha or Rains! She presented “Malwa ki Lokdhune” and a combination of varsha-hemant-vasant compositions called “Ritu ek Darshan” also.

She was not only the silent force behind the success of Pt. Kumar Gandharva’s musical career, but also lent able support and contribution to the success of his concerts. Generally, jugalbandis are performed in classical music but she sang duets with him which created an effect that enraptured the connoisseurs of music. She participated at Festival of France – Avignon in 1985 with Kumarji. She herself performed at many prestigious music conferences all over India.

Vasundharaji was a regular artist of All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan and till the end she was a leading soloist in her own right. Many solo cassettes were released in her name from prestigious music companies like HMV, Music Today, Times Music, Alurkar Music House. This helped establish her stature as an able torchbearer of the glorious tradition of the music of Pt. Kumar Gandharva.

Vasundharaji was honoured by a “Vasundhara Samman” from Bharat Gayan Samaj India, a 100 year old music organisation (Founded by late Pt. Bhaskarbua Bakhle) and the prestigious “P.L. Deshpande Samman”. She was awarded with one of the highest civilian awards of India, the Padmashri and also the Sangeet Natak Akademi award.