Niladri strikes a chord

Jul 23, 2012, 08:32 IST | Urmimala Banerjee

When CS met sitar player Niladri Kumar recently, he was busy with the renovations at his Versova home.

“This is a beautiful season, and also an inspiring one,” says the new-age musician, who has worked extensively in fusion, instrumental and playback music. Niladri, a winner of Sangeet Natak Akademi’s Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar is all set to perform tomorrow at a concert dedicated to tabla maestro Ustad Shafaat Ahmed Khan. In a freewheeling interview, he talks about making classical music cool for the younger generation:

Generation gap
I know that many young people can’t relate with senior classical artists whom they always see in kurtas (smiles). It is more of a generation gap than anything else. Let me give you an example. In a film like Anand, we saw the late Rajesh Khanna dressing up in kurtas and pyjamas. The youth then identified with him as they too used to dress like that. But that’s not the case with modern Indian youth and senior classical artists. I feel that some senior artists are perennially disgruntled with youngsters. This should change if we want to make classical music popular with young people. Likewise, the youth should also understand that senior artists have a definite sensibility.

Pic/ Santosh Nagwekar

Musically online
Today, youngsters have accessibility to all kinds of music. You see them watching songs on their cell phones. Whether this phenomenon produces good singers/musicians or not remains to be seen. In many cases, with accessibility comes mediocrity. Today, anyone can release an album. Earlier, singers who released albums had 30- 40 songs under their belt. When it comes to music, I like all forms. From the recent film songs, I loved the track Dil Mera Muft Ka from Agent Vinod. The modern twist to the Qawaali form is a very interesting one.

Concert craze
Every concert has some memory attached to it. I remember a few years back; a college student had invited me to his college for a recital. When I went there I found the hall empty. The student who had called me was also missing. Later, I discovered that the students had an exam and hence, decided to give my show a miss (gives a wry smile). Also, once when I was 13, my dad gave me a tight slap in the interval of a show as he felt that I was performing badly. It takes immense love for music to continue being a musician after such jhatkas (laughs out loud). 

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