By Komal Panchamatia
Mumbai (PTI) Quite like music, legendary Classical music vocalist Pandit Jasraj is in sync with time.
The Padma Vibhushan recipient, who turned 90 on Tuesday, is not the one to look back on the years gone-by and even uses the Internet to impart his extensive knowledge on music to the young generation.
“I teach through Skype. I suggest everyone to do it. I am walking with time and that’s what one should do. I don’t like when people say ‘Woh zamaana achha tha’ (Those were the good times).
“I believe the current phase is good. One should not compare it with the past — good or bad. One has to walk with time and only then you will like the current time,” Pandit Jasraj told PTI in an interview.
As someone who has spent his life dedicated to Indian music, Pandit Jasraj said it is not a matter of pride for him and he constantly feels the need to improve.
“I am critical of myself. I never think I have done something great. I don’t think too much about myself or my achievements. Whatever I have received is as per God’s will. I am grateful to God for that.”
Birthdays are not a grand affair, the musician said, adding that the responsibility of the celebration this year is on his grandchildren.
Recalling his first ever concert, Pandit Jasraj said, he performed in front of Nepal King Tribhuwan Bir Bikram Shah in 1952.
“The king told his men to announce that he has awarded me 5,000 gold coins. I was shocked, I couldn’t believe it. I was sweating and I almost fainted, I was maybe 22-year-old then,” he said.
Indian Classical music is unaffected by trends but has always found patronage whether with the monarchy or now with people.
“Classical music has never seen a downfall. Earlier it was under the patronage of kings. After they went away, people took care of us.”
The musician said he still does ‘riyaaz’ (practice) every day but due to age, it is no longer possible to sit for hours at a stretch.
He often spends his leisure time playing cards, talking to people and listening to all kind of music.
“I listen to western music, African music and also cinema music. My all-time favourite is Lata Mangeshkar, there is no one like her. I often talk to her. I watch movies, I catch up on films on OTT platforms. Whatever my granddaughter plays it, I see it,” he added.
True to his philosophy of walking on the beats of time, Pandit Jasraj doesn’t believe in the notion that Classical music doesn’t find an audience in the younger generations.
“It is just a perception. In western music, you may groove listening to it but in Indian classical music, you become calm, you listen to it peacefully. In every other form of music, your body, mind and everything moves but Indian classical music calms you down,” he said.
There are already three documentaries on the musician’s life and Pandit Jasraj said wouldn’t mind if someone wanted to make a biopic on him.
“If someone wants to make it, then I am ok with it,” he said.