Mother’s Day: Delhi-based artistic mums nurture love for the arts in heirs

Mother’s Day: Delhi-based artistic mums nurture love for the arts in heirs

A mother is the first guru for a child. And if the mother herself is an artiste, it’s natural for the talent to trickle down to her mini versions. Three Delhi-based mother-child duos share how their childhoods were spent taking to the craft of music, dance or visual arts from their mother, and how their artistic legacy shaped their own careers.

Capturing tales from canvas to lens: Jayasri and Rid Burman

Rid Burman with her mother Jayasri Burman.
Rid Burman with her mother Jayasri Burman.

Contemporary painter Jayasri Burman and her son Rid Burman, a well-known photographer, share how the latter was inspired by the former. “When he was in Mayo College, he suddenly felt like doing photography,” reminisces Jayasri, adding, “Before that, he used to paint a little. I think it’s a genetic thing to be an artist and of an artistic bent of mind. From childhood, he was very sensitive and artistic about beauty; the thought process he had. He probably got it from looking at me, painting (smiles). I used to work till midnight, and he was in St Stephen’s College, giving exams for Maths (Hons). He used to ask me to go to bed, whenever I would work till midnight, and after a bit he began to study till midnight too! I think he imbibed this discipline, sadhna and sincerity.”

Adding how his mum’s exhibitions still “bowl over” him, Rid shares, “My mother’s work has always been an inspiration, but I have never imagined that I will match up to it. Her spiritual involvement in her work comes from a far deeper space. I will need a few more years to understand that. I’m deeply influenced by it of course… Her recently exhibited works were a complete change of style and a very fresh perspective on her beliefs about the Ganges, and a departure from her backgrounds into solid base canvases and rich blacks. Plus the swing was amazing. To grow and to change is very essential for all artists. I guess that’s what I take from her.”

Excelling Bharatanatyam footwork together: Rama Vaidyanathan and Dakshina Vaidyanathan Baghel

For Bharatanatyam exponent Rama Vaidyanathan, having two daughters — Dakshina Vaidyanathan Baghel who is also a dancer and Sannidhi Vaidyanathan, who plays the mridangam — meant that they “get to be together as a family even while going out to work.”

The dance virtuoso says, “My daughters have been watching me perform since they were little. I’m able to spend quality time with them, even on say a six week tour. That’s a big perk of mother-daughter being in the same field.” And for Dakshina, following her mother’s footsteps was something she considers herself lucky to do. “I knew there was a benchmark set by her, getting into this profession meant pressure to perform, if not better at least at the same level. I like the fact that I have footprints to follow and new ones to make myself. It’s amazing to have that legacy. Not everyone gets that luck and opportunity. You can follow in your guru’s journey till a certain level, after that you have to make your own mark as an artiste, that’s what arts is all about — creativity and individuality,” says the young dancer.

Mellifluous notes of Hindutani classical bind Urmila and Ujwal Nagar

Ujwal Nagar recounts how his mother Urmila Nagar discovered his potential in singing.
Ujwal Nagar recounts how his mother Urmila Nagar discovered his potential in singing.

Hindustani classical vocalist Ujwal Nagar explains how his mother — Urmila Nagar, a reputed vocalist and a Kathak guru — was instrumental in discovering his potential. “In the initial years, there were a lot of artistes coming home for the riyaz of my mother and elder brother (a tabla player). So I always had music reaching my ears,” recalls Ujwal

The senior artiste says, “I wanted my kids to do at least something in music. We used to some programs like Saraswati Pooja at home, and I remember how he used to pick up what was taught to my other disciples. I then encouraged him to learn vocals since he has a deep, husky voice.”

And Ujwal adds, “When I was 11, one day after returning from school, I somehow sang my request for food to my mum. She was pleasantly surprised and immediately took me to the practice room. That’s how she first discovered my potential, and started refining it. Since then, she has been guiding me.”

Author tweets @siddhijainn

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Vijay Singh

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