Musically, I am trying to learn more, my work will not stop: Anup Jalota
Bhajan Samrat Anup Jalota feels that aspiring singers should learn classical music to bring something strong to the table. IBNS Canada Bureau Chief Suman Das recently had a quick conversation with the popular Bhajan singer in Mumbai on his birthday (July 29), ahead of his upcoming tour of Canada. Excerpts:
You are known as the Bhajan Samrat. Where do you see the genre heading to?
Bhajan is a genre which cannot go away from our system. When a child is born in our culture, he can see the picture of Lord Rama or Lord Krishna in his room. It gives him spiritual power. You won't be finding a picture of Michael Jackson in that room. So, in our country, believing in God does not mean that you will become a Sadhu. Believing in God means you will live a life in the way it should be. God is giving you the life to work and enjoy. If you are not working properly, you will not enjoy life. Like, I am enjoying my life, I am also working hard in life.
Known for his versatility, the smiling and ever-obliging Anup Jalota renders Bhajans and Ghazals with equal grace and finesse.His mellifluous & powerful voice has an incredible range.
Image: Official FB
You have been serving humanity with your soulful Bhajans for years now. Who is your source of inspiration behind it?
My father and my mother were my first inspirations. I got the singing ability from my father and the rhythm from my mother as she was a Kathak dancer. My father (Purshottam Das Jalota) was awarded the Padma Shri in his lifetime. Mahatma Gandhi loved his singing. He was loved by eminent persons like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Indira Gandhi and LK Advani ji, the list goes on.
Jalota's popular bhajans include Aisi Lagi Lagan, Main Nahi Makhan Khayo, Rang De Chunariya, Jag Me Sundar Hai Do Naam, and Chadariya Jhini Re Jhini.
Image: The Bhajan Samrat with percussionist Pandit Prodyut Mukherjee
These days we find that young kids like to hear pop and jazz music. Do you think that the interests of kids as far as learning and listening to music has changed? What is your opinion?
I am trying to make the youth understand that classical learning does not mean you will need to become a classical singer. Learning classical music will make you a strong material. In that case, no matter which genre you sing, you will be good at it. So, if you do not learn classical music then you will not be able to have strong fundamentals. If you learn it then you will be good for everything.
Image: The Bhajan Samrat's illustrious parents inspired him in his journey
How was your experience of participating in Bigg Boss?
I did not watch a single episode of Bigg Boss till now. Before I went into the house, I had never seen it.I did not see a single episode of it even after coming out of it. Interestingly, I even did not watch my episodes where I featured. It was just a paid holiday for me.
Jalota started his musical career as a chorus singer in All India Radio. Anup Jalota hails from the Sham Chowrasi Gharana of Punjab. Although a Punjabi, Anup Jalota sings in 8 different languages.
Do you want to pursue anything in life apart from Bhajan?
I am making a Jalota Academy of Spiritual Music. It has already started in Bhopal. This will be opened in every country where Indians are living. We will also open it in every city in India where people are inclined to spiritual music. Shivangi Vajpayee is the head of it. She is also a very good Kathak dancer. She will control the events globally. We are also trying to start one in Mauritius as well. Apart from that, in the world of music, I am trying to learn more. My work will not stop. It will go on. I have also started a very nice concept called 'My Tirth India'. So, a person who stays in Toronto, if he wants to visit Shirdi Sai Baba, then he can contact my company. We will pick him from his house, arrange the visit, puja (rituals) and everything needed and then send him back to his house. He will not face any difficulties at all.
As the Bhajan Samrat is expecting to meet the fans of his bhajan in his upcoming concert in October this year he paid a glowing tribute toward warm reception he always receive from the large Indian community in Canada. Jalota feels it’s my second home. I have made many visits and spent so much time in Toronto. I know so many people in that city.He found lots of resemblance between some part of Canada specially Toronto with India as people of Indian diaspora have preserved the culture and even recalled names of certain Indian dominated areas where Chol-Kulche can be tasted. He also mentioned billboards that are written in Hindi and Punjabi.
(Additional reporting and editing by Supriyo Hazra and Sujoy Dhar)