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Wednesday 22 January 2020

Pandit Jasraj: No age for knowledge, artistes must evolve

'An artiste's age is reflected in the knowledge he or she possesses, not by the years they live'

Mumbai: Legendary classical vocalist Pandit Jasraj says there is no age to gain knowledge as evolution is a must for artistes to remain relevant. The 88-year-old maestro, who has lent vocals for the upcoming biopic of Guru Nanak Dev titled, Nanak Shah Fakir, said an artiste’s age is reflected in the knowledge he or she possesses, not by the years they live.

“It is extremely important in every field to have the knowledge and to practise. Your age won’t be counted in terms of years but the knowledge you possess. As an artiste, you should never measure how much knowledge you’re gaining.

“A wall will be created if you do so. You just keep on practising and then your knowledge will increase and it’ll reflect in your singing,” Jasraj said.

Talking about his association with Nanak Shah Fakir, Jasraj says it was Guru Nanak Dev’s divine power that made him record songs for the film. Uttam Singh, known for composing songs for films such as Dil To Pagal Hai and Gadar: Ek Prem Katha, has composed the music of the film.

“It was his blessings, he wanted me to sing the song so I sang it. It was his divine power… I don’t remember how I recorded it but his blessings were on me,” he says.

Having won both Padma Bhushan (1990) and Padma Vibhushan (2000) in his illustrious career as a vocalist, Jasraj has steered clear of Hindi film music, barring a few exceptions, including Nanak Shah Fakir, and hence words in a song have never really mattered to him as a singer.

When asked about the importance of lyrics, he says he believes in immersing himself into the words before singing.

“Words are absolutely important in my songs because I want to live them, understand them, go into their depths and then sing the song. The process for me is to completely understand the words and then immerse myself in those words, that world,” he says.

Produced by Harinder Sikka, Nanak Shah Fakir, based on the life and teachings of the first Sikh guru, is depicted through the voice of his friend, companion and disciple Bhai Mardana, a Muslim fakir.

Oscar-winner AR Rahman has mentored the background score of the film, originally been composed by Finnish composer Tuomas Kantelinen.

The film is scheduled to release on 17 April.

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