Bhagwanti Navani: The Immortal Sindhi Cuckoo

Bhagwanti NavaniIntroduction:

Bhagwanti Navani, also known as Sindhi Cuckoo (ڀڳونتي ناواڻي), was a legendary figure in the world of Sindhi music and theater. Born on February 1, 1940, in Nasarpur, Sindh, British India (now Pakistan), she left an indelible mark with her melodious voice and versatile talents. In this article, we delve into the life and achievements of Bhagwanti Navani, celebrating her contributions to Sindhi culture and music.

Early Life and Education:

At the age of seven, Bhagwanti faced the challenges of the Partition of India in 1947, compelling her to leave her school in Karachi and migrate to India. She continued her education at Kamla Girls’ High School in Mumbai, where she completed her Matriculation in 1957. Despite the hardships, Bhagwanti’s determination paved the way for her journey into the world of music.

Musical Training and Achievements:

Bhagwanti Navani’s musical journey took a significant turn when she trained in Indian Classical Music at the Devghar Music School and Arun Sangeet Vidyala. Her association with the People Theater Association provided her with the opportunity to refine her singing under the guidance of renowned mentors like Kanu Ghosh and Kanu Ray. Recognized as an exponent of Sindhi folk music, Bhagwanti effortlessly sang various genres, including Kalams, Bhajans, Lories, Ladas, Sakhiyoon, Orans, Sahras, and Dohiras.

Her notable music albums include Muhinja Mor Laada, Muhinjo Ladal Aayo …, Sikk Mein O Sikk Mein …, Bhagwanti Navani (4 Volumes), Sindhi Devotional Songs, and the remarkable Sukhmani Sahib (6 Volumes), released in 1989.

Film Career:

During the 1960s and 1970s, Bhagwanti Navani became the preferred female singer for Sindhi films, contributing to musical gems in movies such as Bhagat Kanwar Ram (1951), Jhoolelal (1966), Sindhua Ke Kinare (1968) and Hojamalo (1969). By singing duets with well-known Hindi film industry singers like C.H. Atma and Mahendra Kapoor, her influence extended well beyond the regional cinema.

Theater and Acting:

Bhagwanti’s versatility extended to the world of theater, where she associated with distinguished Sindhi writer Gobind Malhi’s Kalakar Mandel. Participating in more than 3,000 stage shows globally, she showcased her acting prowess in plays like Gustakhi Maaf, Mehmaan, Desh Ji Lalkar, and Tuhinjo So Muhinjo.

Recognition and Legacy:

In 1968, Bhagwanti Navani played the lead role in the Sindhi film Sindhua Je Kinare, earning her the prestigious Best Actress award. However, it was her Sindhi album Sukhmani Sahib, released in 1989, that immortalized her in Sindhi homes. Collaborating with Parsram Zia for translation and C. Lakhmichand for the melodic composition of Sukhmani Sahib, Bhagwanti’s divine singing continues to resonate with Sindhi communities worldwide.

Conclusion:

On October 22, 1986, the Sindhi community lost a beloved artist, leaving behind a void that could never be filled. Bhagwanti Navani’s sweet, gentle demeanor and charming smile, coupled with her immense talent, made her an eternal superstar. Her legacy lives on through her timeless music, especially the soul-stirring rendition of Sukhmani Sahib, ensuring that Bhagwanti Navani remains an unforgettable icon in the hearts of Sindhi music enthusiasts.

~ Balwant Wadhwani

 

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