Understanding Tagore

Explaining the historical context and the political undertones in Rabindranath Tagore’s compositions, musicians Shantanu Moitra and Monali Thakur perform some of his deeply moving songs at INK2014

Recorded at INK2014, Mumbai


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About the Speaker


Shantanu Moitra

Music director, composer

Folk music is rapidly disappearing from mainstream music, but never fear! Shantanu Moitra is a man on a mission to save folk musical traditions. Shantanu is a renowned Indian music composer and restorationist. With a father as an accomplished sarod player and his mother as a talented artist, creativity naturally runs through his veins. He has worked on many landmark Bollywood films, including "Parineeta", "3 Idiots", and "Madras Cafe".

In 2014, he received the National Film Award for Best Music Direction (Background Score) for Na Bangaaru Talli. With his compositions and exploration of lost musical traditions, Shantanu constantly contributes to what he strongly believes is the best way to "see" a country — by experiencing its music.

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Monali Thakur

Singer, Actress

Monali Thakur is an Indian playback singer who comes from a musical family, as her father is Bengali singer and actor Shakti Thakur and her sister Mehuli Thakur-Goswami is also a professional playback singer. As a child, she appeared in a Bengali television soap, Aalokito ek Indu, in which she played the lead role Indu.

Thakur got her start by singing in school and college competitions and performing at local functions, and then rose to popularity after placing ninth in Indian Idol 2, the Indian version of Pop Idol. She was never in the Bottom 3 until her elimination, and immediately after she was eliminated, judge Anu Malik offered to help her find a future singing opportunity, which turned out to be a playback song in the movie Jaan-E-Mann. This led in turn to the opportunity to sing two songs for the hit movie Race in 2008 - "Khwab Dekhe (Sexy lady)" and "Zara Zara Touch Me". She was originally scheduled for only one song, but her first recording impressed the film's directors Abbas and Mustan enough for them to book her a second. "Zara Zara Touch Me" was enormously successful, becoming the fourth-most-played song on Indian radio during the first half of 2008. She also got nominated for best singer in "Screen Film Awards" for "Zara Zara Touch Me". 

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