When Pandit Jasraj performed in his first concert, was awarded 5000 gold coins by Nepal king: ‘I was shocked and almost fainted’
Padma Vibhushan Pandit Jasraj died on Monday at the age of 90. He left behind an epic saga of Indian classical music and a rich legacy. A stage performer all his life, he even took to teaching students over Skype in his later years.
Jasraj’s Bollywood songs were few but each one of them was a testimony to his mastery over music. He first sang in V Shantaram’s Ladki Sahyadri Ki (1966). The bhajan was followed by a jugalbandi with Pandit Bhimsen in Birbal My Brother almost a decade later. In 2008, he also sang the romantic number, Vaada Tumse Hai Vaada, in 1920.
Talking about his career, the music maestro had once revealed that he almost fainted on receiving a prize of 5000 gold coins from the king of Nepal.
Talking about his first concert when he performed for the Nepal King Tribhuwan Bir Bikram Shah in 1952, he had told PTI in an interview, “The king told his men to announce that he has awarded me 5,000 gold coins. I was shocked, I couldn’t believe it. I was sweating and I almost fainted, I was maybe 22-year-old then.”
Pandit Jasraj’s granddaughters Shraddha Pandit and Shweta Pandit have followed in the footsteps of the legendary musician. Calling Lata Mangeshkar his favourite singer, he had said in the interview, “I listen to western music, African music and also cinema music. My all-time favourite is Lata Mangeshkar, there is no one like her. I often talk to her. I watch movies, I catch up on films on OTT platforms. Whatever my granddaughter plays it, I see it.”
He claimed classical music was no less than western music. “It is just a perception. In western music, you may groove listening to it but in Indian classical music, you become calm, you listen to it peacefully. In every other form of music, your body, mind and everything moves but Indian classical music calms you down,” he said.
Filmmaker Hansal Mehta shared a video in his remembrance on Twitter and wrote, “And now Pandit Jasraj. Have had the privilege of attending over two decades of his performances. Panditji’s beautiful voice and his smooth, rhythmic expositions will remain immortal. Here’s an old recording of my favorite Raag Adana -Maata Kalika.”
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