Meet the future ghazal singers, one as young as 10 years old

  • Soumya Vajpayee Tiwari, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Jul 21, 2015 17:41 IST
Varenyam Pandya (left) and Aishani Banerjee (right) are among the youngest singers participating in Khazana in 2015. Also in this picture is Bollywood singer Javed Ali (centre).

Since 2001, ghazal exponent Pankaj Udhas has been helming Khazana, a festival that celebrates classical music. Known for featuring established artistes every year, the festival is inarguably one of the biggest events on Mumbai's music calendar.

However, performances by stalwarts from the field are not the novelty of this year's edition. This time around, the spotlight is on younger talent. "Ghazal singing and poetry is an integral part of our culture, and as seniors in the field, it is our responsibility to preserve that. This time, we want to introduce the future of ghazals to the audience. Our theme for this year's fest is - from legends to gen next," says Udhas.

The senior performers at the two-day extravaganza include de Talat Aziz, Anup Jalota,alota, Javed Ali and Pt Ajay Pohankar, among others. The highlight of the event will be a recital by upcoming ghazal singers like Aishani Banerjee (15), Rashi Harmalkar (11) and Varenyam Pandya (10).

Pankaj Udhas with Talat Aziz; Rekha Bhardwaj at a show.

"Pankaj, Anup and I had come up with the idea of the festival many years ago. I am glad that this year's edition will not only feature popular singers, but will also give a platform to aspiring ghazal artistes to showcase their talent," says Aziz.

Not many would associate popular Bollywood playback singer Rekha Bhardwaj with ghazals. But the singer has grown up singing and learning the genre. "I am looking forward to singing ghazals again. It's like reconnecting with my childhood. I think it will be a treat to witness performances by Ghazal stalwarts on one hand and young talents on the other," says Bhardwaj.

It's a charity event, and all the proceeds will be used for the rehabilitation of patients suffering from cancer and Thalassemia.

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