With Mumbai-based veteran ghazal maestro Chandan Dass, acclaimed ghazal virtuosos Radhika Chopra and Tauseef Akhtar were in Chandigarh on Tuesday on the invitation of Haryana Cultural Affairs for a ghazal concert. In an interaction with HT City, they shared their views and experiences during their musical journey, with references to the ghazal.
"Of all music genres, the ghazal, with delicate poetry at its heart, is the ultimate in lyrical expression," observed Chandan Dass and added, "Its popularity has been ever-increasing, despite some transitory phases. Of late, youngsters have also come forward to show more than just a passing interest in the ghazal; they are now learning its finer nuances. Most of them, however, do not get proper platforms to demonstrate their talent, unfortunately."
Raised in Jammu, in a musically inclined family, the vivacious classical vocalist Radhika Chopra, holding a doctorate degree in music, has carved a niche for herself in ghazal singing. Inspired by the music potential of the invincible Begum Akhtar, Chopra fell in the tutelage of Shanti Hiranand, and is now ably taking her legacy further.
"The biggest factor in ghazal losing out in the competition with film music is the downfall of Urdu language; majority of art lovers fail to relish the rich grandeur of ghazal. They do, however, respond to simple poetry. I have performed at many international venues, including Karachi and Lahore; the latter is a little more responsive to fusion and Punjabi pop music. I strongly feel that youngsters should take up ghazal singing seriously. Besides, the background of classical music and Urdu pronunciation (tallafuz) is also essential for any ghazal singer," she said.
One of the most promising disciples of ghazal king Jagjit Singh, Mumbai-based young maestro Tauseef Akhtar comes from the Urdu literary and music family of famous qawwal Akhtar Azad. While Tauseef claims to have worked for 32 feature films as the chief assistant music director, for duo Nadeem-Shravan, he feels the ghazal is his forte. "In fact, Jagjit sahab had groomed me by invigorating my dormant talent. The ghazal genre is blossoming world over, if my latest sold out ghazal concerts in London and Pune are to go by," said Tauseef Akhtar.