Her voice is still as powerful as it used to be about three decades ago. Veteran ghazal singer Penaz Masani makes you feel time hasn’t passed at all. As the Padma Shri recipient performs at Khazana, a ghazal festival in the city, today (July 30), she talks about her journey, her love for the genre, and more.
You still look the same as you used to two decades ago…
(Smiles) Thank you for the compliment. Music keeps you in a different orbit. Apart from that, I am disciplined with my eating habits and do yoga regularly.
How do you look back at your journey?
My journey through the realm of music, especially ghazals, has been wonderful, touchwood. I was blessed that my parents encouraged me at every step. My father introduced me to music. I learnt from Amanat Khan saab initially, and was later introduced to India’s finest ghazal exponent Madhuraniji by late music director Jaidevji. My life changed after that. I recorded 28 albums, and did concerts in India and all over the world.
What was it about ghazal that made you take it up?
The beauty of the language fascinated me. Most importantly, listening to Madhuraniji made me want to learn this beautiful form of art.
How do you think ghazals are treated today?
Ghazal zindagi ka doosra naam hai (ghazal is a synonym for life). It will always exist and will be appreciated by lovers of the language. And believe me, there is a big audience for the genre.
You also sang for Bollywood in the past…
My first film opportunity was given by director Rajesh Roshan in Hamari Bahu Alka (1982). I sang for Jaidevji, Pancham da (RD Burman), Baapi Lahiri and Nadeem-Shravan. I enjoyed singing for late Dev Anand saab and Pancham da.
Can you share a memory of recordings at that time?
I was recording a duet for Hum Naujawan (1985) with Kishore da (Kishore Kumar). He entered the studio dressed in a chequered lungi and white kurta. The ease with which he communicated and encouraged me was overwhelming. He had everyone in the studio in splits. Even my recording with Bappi da for Vishkanya (1991) was lovely. I had sung a duet with Pankaj Udhasji in that film.