Short biographical Note on
Smt. Saraswati Mane/Rane
alias Sakina [Chhotutai] was born in Miraj (October 1916). Sakina was
the youngest daughter of the legendary maestro of the Kirana gharana,
Ustad Abdul Karim Khan Sahib and Smt. Tarabai Mane. After separating
from Karim Khan, Tarabai renamed all her children and Sakina became
Kumari Saraswati Mane. The surname "Mane" was derived from her mother's
surname. Saraswati was initiated into music by her illustrious brother
Sureshbabu Mane. After about 1930, she also learnt from her sister Smt.
Hirabai Barodekar, Ustad Nathan Khan
(1889-1946) of the Jaipur gharana and Prof. B. R. Deodhar of the Gwalior
Working on stage in her mother's 'Nutan Sangeet Natak Mandali', with
luminaries like Bal Gandharva, Master Krishnarao, Vinayakbuwa Patwardhan,
Sawai Gandharva and Meenakshi Shirodkar, musicals like 'Soubhadra', 'Sanchaya
Kollol' and 'Ekacha Pyala' brought her fame. Between 1929 and
1933 she cut several discs with the ‘Odeon’ label under the name of
Kumari Saraswati Mane, rendering Hindi Bhajans and Marathi Bhavgeet.
In the meantime, she married Mr. Sunderrao Rane. In the early 1940's,
she made recordings as a playback singer for movies such as 'Paisa Bolto
Aahe' (Marathi, 1943). She also acted in a Marathi film 'Savitri', and
later took to playback singing for Marathi and Hindi films. She provided
playback to over 50 films. She sang in almost all the films produced by
Acharya P. K. Atre. Her song 'Beena madhur madhur vacha bol' in raga
Bhimpalas from the Hindi/Marathi film 'Ram Rajya' (Prakash Films) was
most popular. Her songs were heard all over North India. Younger
listeners will probably remember her rendering Raga Shudh Kalyan with
her grand daughter Shrimati Meena Faterpekar in the movie 'Bhumika',
directed by the renowned director Shyam Benegal.
Saraswati Rane cut over 200 songs on 78 rpm discs consisting of
classical, light classical and film songs. She was probably one of the
pioneering female playback singers of the Indian film industry.
However, in order to concentrate on the performance of Hindustani
classical music, at one point in time she virtually stop accepting
offers for playback singing. By then, she was a regular performer for
All India Radio, and had also made several gramophone records with
'Odeon', 'His Master's Voice', 'Columbia', and 'Young India' records,
apart from her countrywide concert tours. Her renderings of Ragas
Chandrakauns, Basant Bahar, Yaman and the immortal Marathi numbers 'Ghanashyam
Nayani Aalaa', 'Jaa Ghevuni Sandesh Pakhara', the duets with her sister
Hirabai Barodekar remain ever-popular. She also had the honour of
singing the Maharashtra Geet on the very first Maharashtra Day, the 1st
of May, along with her sister. She has also recorded a LP record of duet
with her sister Heerabai Barodekar in 1960. She received several awards
including the prestigious ITC Award 2006, presented at the ITC Sangeet
Sammelan in Delhi.
She was very active in music circles and used to attend music programs
and functions. She attended the Hirabai Barodekar birth centenary
program at Sharada Sangeet Vidyalaya, Bandra in May 2006. She
participated in this function and sang raga Todi. Smt.
Saraswatibai Rane, the last living member of Ustad Abdul Karim Khan’s
family passed away at Pune on Tuesday October 10, 2006.
[Note compiled by Suresh Chandvankar, Mumbai]