Born on 23rd July 1927, Dhondutai Kulkarni, is one of the last living icons of the Jaipur-Atrauli Gharana. The legendary Ustad Alladiya Khan, who founded the Jaipur-Atrauli Gharana, made this Gharana unique by its full-throated singing, its complicated Taans, and its vast repertoire of Ragas, which Dhondutai Kulkarni represents with enormous conviction and dexterity.
Dhondutai was born in a Brahmin family in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, where her father, Ganpatrao initiated her into music and encouraged her to pursue it seriously at that time despite passive disagreement by her mother. She became an AIR performing artiste at the age of eight. Brought up in Kolhapur, she soon started training under Ustad Bhurji Khan, whose father, Ustad Alladiya Khan, had a special care for Dhondutai. It was not uncommon to find her sitting next to the legendary performer at music festivals. Her training later continued under the mentorship of Laxmibai Jadhav and Ustad Azizuddin Khan, grandson of the legendary Ustad Alladiya Khan. She received most of her repertoire of rare Ragas from Ustad Azizuddin Khan. Thereafter, she spent a long number of years under the immensely distinguished knowledge of Kesarbai Kerkar, ending up as her sole disciple.
Her incredible repertoire of Ragas sees to it that she rarely repeats a raga at two consecutive concerts. Dhondutai knows specialty Raga creations made not just by Ustad Alladiya Khan but also Kesarbai Kerkar.
Dhondutai has been awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1990. She has performed in various festivals like Mallikarjun Mansur Music Festival and has also been invited to the `Surashri Kesarbai Kerkar Sangeet Sammelan` since its inception.
At 86, Dhondutai is saluted not just for her musical contributions, but also for her quality and austerity as a performing artist.