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Legacy redefined

Artistic bearings come naturally to Durga Jasraj,daughter of the famous Pandit Jasraj and granddaughter of the legendary filmmaker V Shataram.

Written by Rohan Swamy |
May 7, 2009 3:26:17 am

Television anchor Durga Jasraj speaks about carrying forward the legacy of her family,her love for classical music and the city of Pune

Artistic bearings come naturally to Durga Jasraj,daughter of the famous Pandit Jasraj and granddaughter of the legendary filmmaker V Shataram. So it was not unnatural for her to start displaying her talent from the young age of five when her grandfather cast her in a movie he was directing,and then it was but natural for her to proceed on a career that centered deeply around music and its expression for the understanding of the masses.

Speaking about her journey she says,“I have been very,very fortunate to have been born in such an illustrious family where freedom of expression constituted such an integral part of my growing up years. It was only when I had grown up that I realised how famous my father and my grandfather were. One of the main inspirations for me is to carry on their good work with the same zest and enthusiasm.”

Speaking about her work in diverse genres,including mainstream television as well as Indian classical music,she says,“ It’s a way of paying tribute to my grandfather,who was associated with filmmaking and my father who is associated with classical music. Also,when I stepped into television,it felt so natural and I knew that eventually I would land up in a career which revolved around music and art.”

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Speaking about her hit show Antakshari,and her association with Annu Kapoor,she says,“At the beginning of your career,working with someone like him is an achievement in itself. To Annu,anchoring comes naturally,and when we were doing the show in 1993,we did not even use a script or a teleprompter for the show. It was owing to this exposure that I learnt of the finer nuances of anchoring. And now,when we have teamed up again for our show Jalsa,the chemistry,as far as we are concerned is intact,just like what it was during Antakshari. Really,as a professional one cannot explain what an immense high it is to work with someone as professional as him.”

The multi-faceted actress is also the director of Art and Artistes’ (AAA) and the co-founder of the Indian Music Academy (IMA). Speaking about her tryst with these two organisations,she says,“The IMA is a project that has been developed under AAA,where we promote various genres of classical and semi-classical music,folk music across the length and breadth of the nation. Also,we have worked on some highly-acclaimed projects like Jai Hind,Panchtatva,and Sarhadon Ki Jugalbandi. Even our show entitled Utsav,which was broadcast in America in 2007,continues to run even now. It was only a 26-episode series,yet because of its immense popularity they have been showing re-runs of the show in the same time slot,and one really cannot ask for anything more than that.”

In the city to launch the Marathi version of the very successful television show Jalsa,she says,“All over India,there are only three or four cities that retain their cultural identity and the sense of pride associated with it,among which Pune comes first. ”

“One of the most important attributes that the audience of this city has is that they are always ready to give it a good hearing and even appreciate the effort put in to bring something to them,and all this while retaining their own sense of cultural heritage. It’s one of the best places to be in if you are an artiste. Here,your work always draws appreciation from people of all generations in this city,” she adds with a smile.

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