Poignant Song: The Life and Music of Lakshmi Shankar
Dancer, film actor, Hindustani classical singer – Lakshmi Shankar was all this and more. Starting her journey as a teenager in Uday Shankar’s breakthrough troupe, she ventured into playback singing after a tragic illness cut short her dance career, going on to be the voice behind films such as Richard Attenborough’s critically acclaimed Gandhi. But her ultimate artistry lay in Hindustani classical music. Apart from a distinguished solo career, she also sang for her brother-in-law Ravi Shankar’s visionary music projects, including ‘I am Missing You’, produced by George Harrison of The Beatles. Unfortunately, despite these accomplishments, Lakshmi remains largely uncelebrated. In this book, Kavita Das, who has known her since childhood, traces Lakshmi’s fascinating story that culminated in a Grammy nomination in 2009. She also explores the singer’s personal life – her enduring friendship with Ravi Shankar, her marriage and the death of her beloved daughter Viji. Expansively researched, with anecdotes by Lakshmi herself, Poignant Song explores the journey of Indian music to the West through the remarkable life of a great artiste.