It doesn’t necessarily require young genes to have a modern outlook and a contemporary mindset. Even oldies with half a century of their lives already gone by, can have a refreshingly modern outlook towards life.
Padma Bhushan awardees and brothers, Rajan (64) and Sajan Mishra (59) are the perfect examples of remaining young at heart even as age creeps up on them in all its inevitability. The duo, renowned singers of the khyal style of Indian classical music, are a part of a 300-year-old lineage of khyal singing of the Banaras gharana. They talk to HT about their musical legacy and how they have made it worthy of being taken forward by generations to come.
Chewing paan after his concert, Pandit Sajan Mishra spoke fondly of the options he could have explored if he was to be anything other than a musician.
“Who doesn’t want to get into the Army or become a famous sportsperson?” questioned Pandit Sajan Mishra on being asked if he ever thought of opting for a profession other than music.
“I was young and talented. I obviously had a million thoughts about which career I should take up and the options were aplenty but music is what I was meant for with 300 years of a firmly rooted family tradition and a legacy in itself that had to be taken forward.”
Sipping a cup of steaming sugarless tea and with a hundred fans hovering to get clicked with him, Pandit Rajan Mishra said in a quiet yet enthusiastic tone, “I was the captain of my college cricket team. I was very fond of the game and I could have explored that option for myself but it was music that ran in my blood.”
Talking about his passion for sports, he continued, “I am not just a music man. I watch hockey, wrestling and football. I even go to the stadiums to watch test cricket in Delhi. In fact, I even went to Delhi to watch the Commonwealth Games in 2010.”
Talking about other hobbies he said, “I like old Bollywood movies such as Pakeezah, Mughal-E-Azam and Ganga Jamuna but I must say that contemporary movies are no less. Look at movies such as Taare Zameen Par, Rang De Basanti and more recently the Amitabh Bachchan-starrrer Piku. They’ve done a great job with these movies. I am fond of watching movies and if it’s a good movie, I prefer to go to a cinema hall and watch it.”
Beaming, Pandit Sajan Mishra spoke of his son who is a lyricist, composer as well as singer. “Rajan’s sons are into classical music while my son is more into Bollywood but I am okay with it as long as he is into music.”
On being asked if his son or grandson chose to opt for a different profession, breaking the 300-year-old family tradition, Pandit Sajan Mishra laughed and said, “If he is good at sports, only then would I rather he make a career out of that because only would he succeed, not otherwise.”
Talking about their musical journey, Pandit Rajan Mishra said, “I feel that the journey has only begun!”