Rita Ganguly – An accomplished dancer, musician and vocalist

Rita Ganguly is a renowned musician, vocalist and classical dancer from Lucknow. She is a recipient of numerous honours including Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in year 2000 and Padma Shri three years later. She is the wife of Keshav Kothari, a former secretary of Sangeet Natak Akademi, a percussionist and dancer. Their daughter Meghna Kothari is a former Bollywood actress of Prem Aghan fame. Her elder sister, Gita Ghatak was an actress and singer of Bengali cinema.

Rita Ganguly was born into a family of renowned artists and literals. Her father K. L. Ganguly was a journalist, freedom fighter and Congress politician. She grew up in Lucknow and started learning Rabindrasangeet at the age of 12 under Gopeshwar Banerjee. Later she joined Viswabharati along with her sister where she learnt Kathakali and Manipuri dance forms. She later studied modern dance at Martha Graham School, New York. After that she started her professional career in the field of theater, singing and dancing. She also served as faculty at National School of Drama for three decades. Started off as a dancer, she also had a successful career as a Ghazal singer.

Rita Ganguly – Some interesting and less-known facts

1. Her father was the first editor of the National Herald, a newspaper founded by Jawaharlal Nehru.

2. Her sister Gita Ghatak was married to Anish Ghatak, nephew of renowned filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak. 

3. She is a disciple of legendary Ghazal singer Begum Akhtar, musician Gopeshwar Banerjee, Kathakali artist Kunchu Kurup etc. She shared a unique bond with Begum Akhtar till her death in 1974.

4. She introduced a new course of Movement and Mime during her professional years as faculty at National School of Drama.

5. She founded Kaladharmi, an NGO for promoting arts, and Begum Akhtar Academy of Ghazals (BAAG), a ghazal academy.

6. Rita Ganguly and her daughter Meghna Kothari have played brief roles in 2005 Bollywood film, Parineeta. She has also played brief roles in Bollywood films like Sarkar and Darmiyaan.

7. She has completed PhD with her thesis on the female singers of Indian subcontinent.

8. Ruh-e-ishq is her production incorporating the seven stages of Sufism.


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A freelance writer and blogger by profession since October 2011, interested in writing over a wide range of topics. Hope you enjoy my writings. I belong to one of the beautiful places of the world, Kerala, nicknamed as 'God's own country'.

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1 Response

  1. Vinay Pande says:

    Could you help us find Prof Rita Ganguly’s PhD Thesis on the female musicians of India?

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