Lineage must have something to do with the magic in the sound that emanates from Shruti Adhikari’s santoor, as her fingers strum its strings. Daughter of DY Kathaley, a sitar maestro, and Sangeeta Kathaley, a prolific vocalist, Shruti is a celebrated santoor player of India. In city on Monday for a recital at the Pracheen Kala Kendra, Sector 35, Shruti shared her distinct love for santoor.
“To be a pioneer in any realm is indeed rejuvenating, but it really requires vision, riyaz, a strong resolve, hard work and above all, the blessings of the guru, which I had in plenty and which kept me going,” maintains Shruti. When she was all of five years, Shruti was mesmerised by a scintillating spell of santoor played by the great santoor wizard, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma.
“Such was the impact of his melodic strains, that I made up my mind to learn the instrument without bothering about its complexities. I also decided that I wanted to be under the tutelage of Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma ji,” shares Shruti. Her resolve met another challenge, adds she, when Pandit Shiv Kumar, while appreciating her endeavour, sought a commitment from her not to leave the learning midway.
From there on, it was long journey filled with arduous hard work. But the santoor player feels there still remains a lot to be learned. Her most thrilling moment, recalls Shruti, was when she received a standing ovation after a performance in Dubai and Holland.
“I have formed a group called Panch Naad, in which five female artistes give a performance of classical music using five different music instruments in a jugalbandi. But, despite my best efforts, none of my female disciples has come forward to opt for the santoor, which is difficult to handle because of its shape and heavy weight,” rues Shruti.
However, she adds on a happy note that she finds solace in teaching her son, Ninad Adhikari, 14, who learns at his own sweet will and on his own terms.