Early Life of Kanika Bandyopadhyay
Kanika Bandyopadhyay has often regarded as Ashram Kanya or 'girl of the Ashram' as Shantiniketan on the model of an Ashram (educational hermitage) was reposed on. She was the direct disciple of none other than Rabindranath Tagore. Tagore gave her the name Kanika. Before that she was originally named Anima. She has also learnt the nuances of Rabindra Sangeet later on from gurus like Dinendra Nath Tagore, Sailajaranjan Majumdar, Indira Devi Chowdhurani and Santidev Ghosh. Kanika Bandyopadhyay has also bagged the honour of being a part of dance-dramas directed by Rabindranath. She, as a member of his cultural troupe, has also toured all over India.
Kanika Bandyopadhyay's Life in Visva-Bharati
Later in her career, Kanika Bandyopadhyay as a teacher joined Sangeet Bhavana. She became the Head of the Department of Rabindra Sangeet and later it's Principal in due course. She has been given the honour of being the Professor Emeritus of Visva-Bharati. As the patron artiste of the Calcutta station of All India Radio since the year 1943, she has been executing her performance. She has also bagged the honour of being performed at the national level in the musical programmes arranged by other stations as 'honoured artiste'.
Kanika Bandyopadhyay's Life as a Singer
Kanika Bandyopadhyay has released over 300 gramophone discs to her credit. First gramophone records of her came out during the lifetime of the Poet (Tagore). Apart from Rabindra Sangeet, she has with her deliberate talent also executed Bhajans, Nazrulgeeti (songs by Kazi Nazrul Islam) and Atulprasad's songs. The first song that she has recorded was a Bengali Adhunik song composed by Niharbindu Sen. The tale of her talent has been expanded not only through out India but also abroad. Kanika Bandyopadhyay on invitation performed through India, Europe and America. She received well appreciation everywhere 'for her unique rendering of the subtle nuances of emotions expressed in Rabindranath's lyrical compositions'. None can ignore her contribution in circularizing Rabindra Sangeet. On this genre of music she has written three books. Many noted film directors have documented films on her life.
Last Phase of Kanika Bandyopadhyay's Life
During the last years of her life, Kanika Bandyopadhyay was associated with the Elmhirst Institute of Community Studies in the year 1997 Visva-Bharati bestowed her highest accolade, the Desikottama. Other than this she has won many highly esteemed awards like, Padmashree, EMI Golden Disc and Allauddin Khan Awards as well. Suchitra Mitra, Debabrata Biswas, Shantidev Ghosh and Subinoy Roy, praiseworthy exponents of Rabindra Sangeet are the contemporary of Kanika Bandyopadhyay. Her rendering has been attributed as 'melodious yet melancholy, plaintive yet soul-stirring'.
In the year 1945, Kanika Bandyopadhyay was married to Birendra Chandra Bandypadhyay, former deputy librarian of Viswa Bharati University. At the age of 76 years, Kanika Bandyopadhyay breathed her last at SSKM Hospital in Kolkata after a sustained illness implying lung and cardiac problems. She has also established a school of music. Her students 'bore the legacy of her very own stylization of Rabindrasangeet'. Rezwana Chowdhury Banya, the singer from Bangladesh is also her student.
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