Delhi’s charm is undeniable and irresistable to anyone who’s seen it. Even celebrities are not immune to it. One such known name is Shubha Mudgal, the classical singer known for her peppy numbers such as Ab ke savaan aise barse, Ali More Angana, and many more.
“I love the sense of history that is so embedded in Delhi’s monuments, lanes, nooks and crannies. I also love the tree-lined avenues, specially when the amaltas/laburnum drips gold, or when the jamun trees bear fruit,” says Mudgal.
Of course, part of Delhi’s charm emanates from its food. “Delhi is a place for foodies like me — the chaat-papdi, aloo tikki, kulfi, gajak and jalebi are my favourite,” she says.
But like a coin, Delhi has two sides too. While Mudgal loves the city, she also feels safety in public spaces is a matter of concern. She says, “I detest traffic jams, the parking nightmares and the road rage incidents that have unfortunately become such a part of Delhi culture. Safety in public spaces is another concern.”
Mudgal is trained in vocal classical music by great scholar-musician-composer Pandit Ramashreya Jha ‘Ramrang’ in Allahabad. She says, “I stared training rather late. I was around 17-years-old when I became a disciple of Pandit Ramashreya Jha. But even before I became a student, I was a keen listener of classical music because my parents were passionate about Hindustani classical, and they made sure I had plenty of exposure to music and the arts.”
Mudgal bemoans the present scenario of the music industry, saying that it is controlled by a handful of record labels and organisations primarily concerned with mainstream film music and popular music. “Music industry as such is constituted only by people working in the fields of film and popular music. So it would not be incorrect to say that to a large extent, a huge section of musicians, genres and styles of Indian music have no presence in the Indian music industry.”
The singer is currently curating various projects for the Serendipity Arts Festival (SAF) that will be held in Goa this year. “The Living Traditions project which I have curated for SAF presents three very accomplished young stars of Hindustani music, vocalist Kaushiki Chakraborty, sitar player Purbayan Chatterjee and sarangi nawaz Murad Ali. The artistes will reinterpret compositions that were recorded in the early 20th century. So, the project hopes to create a beautiful montage of the past and present.”