Born in a family of Hindustani classical music exponents,Pandit Jasrajs first experience of getting taken by its magic was at the age of six.
In 1936,on my way to primary school in Hyederabad,I would hear strains of Begum Akhtars voice from a record playing at a roadside eatery and it haunted me all the time, says the recepient of Padma Vibhushan who hails from the Mewati gharana of classical music. I could never get that ghazal (by Behzad Lakhnavi) out of my mind: Deewana banaana hai to deewana banaa de/Varna kahin taqdeer tamasha na banaa de. Years later,I performed in the presence of Begum Akhtar and she blessed me saying if she was any younger,she would learn music from me, said the maestro in Lucknow on Thursday. He is in the state capital to grace the convocation of Bhatkhande Sangeet Akademi on Friday and will also be presenting a concert on the occasion.
Another doyen,Pandit Bhimsen Joshi once remarked that if organiser of a concert wants to draw a crowd,he should include Jasraj among the performers, said the singer,whose family includes composers of Hindi film music too. I have never been averse to changing trends. The music-based shows on television,as competitive and as populist as they are,have only helped appreciation of music grow manifold. Besides,they have churned out some amazing talent. On the other hand,you will remember the name of an ustaad who sang a 100 years ago,but fail to recall the name of last years reality show winner. Classical base is what gives longevity to an artiste, he said,upholding at the same time the importance of modern and all-round education.
Known for rendering some of the rarest of raags like Abir Todi and Patdeepki,he is reluctant to name any particular as his favourite. It keeps changing from time to time,but I guess Raag Darbaari remains an all-time favourite, said Jasraj,who performed recently on the high seas in a cruiseliner at Antarctica and plans to record some rare raags at a studio in Pune in April.