Reported By: Yatamanyu Narain
Edited By: Bohni Bandyopadhyay
Last Updated: March 15, 2023, 07:09 IST
Prithvi Gandharv shared his thoughts on touring with Ghulam Ali, the current landscape of Bollywood.
In an exclusive chat with News18 Showsha, Prithvi Gandharv reflected on his time with the legendary Ghazal singer Ghulam Ali, experience working with Sanjay Leela Bhansali and more.
mPrithvi Gandharv mesmerized everyone with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s revamped rendition of Albela Sajan in Bajirao Mastani. The musical talent, who has previously collaborated with celebrated music composers like Shantanu Moitra and Pritam, has added another feather to his hat. Prithvi is performing live alongside renowned Pakistani Ghazal singer Ustaad Ghulam Ali sahab and his son Aamir Ghulam Ali at dedicated Ghazal evenings across six cities in Australia. As part of the show, the trio are also highlighting the India-Pakistan friendship while spreading the message of love.
In an exclusive interview with News18 Showsha, Prithvi Gandharv expressed what it means to be performing live alongside a legendary vocalist like Ghulam Ali. He stated, “It was like a dream come true because we’ve grown up listening to him and his music. He is the God of ghazal gayaki. And one of the singers who actually brought the pillars of the genre to the masses. I was excited and this was like the culmination of all my efforts. And when we started touring, I got to learn a lot from him, the musicians. I am very fortunate and blessed. And his son is a gem of a person. He’s a very talented musician and we are planning to do more future collaborations with him.”
The tour is also imperative as it speaks about the unity between the neighbouring countries Pakistan and India. When asked if music alone can solve the rampant problem of divisive politics, Prithvi answered, “100%. It’s love, music and sports. All these things have always brought the nations together. Otherwise, things would have been worse. And there is no point in fighting over the same things. It’s like the ‘eye for an eye’ concept. You have to end it somewhere. There are millions of people whose families are living this side. We listen to the same song, eat the same kind of food and wear the same kind of clothes. And we have the same heart. And especially abroad, in other countries, people from these two nations get together all the time.”
With the art of ghazal gayaki slowly fading and with only a handful of people who are taking the legacy of Mehdi Hasan, Farida Khanum, Iqbal Bano, Begum Akhtar, Jagjit Singh forward, the future of this genre dangles by a slim thread. Prithvi Gandhar explained if ghazal gayaki is going to get obscured by other genres. He stated, “It is not fading away. People are not willing to devote their time and energy. Because it takes your entire life experiences and then puts it in this art form. It takes certain years. For example, if you talk about classical music, by the time you turn 55 or 60, that is the time when your music is mature and at its peak. But you’re old by then.”
He added, “There is a particular art form that take a certain number of years. It also takes understanding of the poetry and understanding of the depths of the poetry. Not just singing it but being in sync with the essence of it. It’s too deep of a subject that can’t just be performed on a solo guitar. It’s intricate and nuanced. There is a way you do it. I see a very few ghazal singers at this stage even in Pakistan. Even they don’t have good ghazal singers. Because everyone including Ali Sethi wants to become a rockstar. And even if they are bringing back Ghazal, the purity of it is lacking. And when you introduce it differently, the whole attire changes. Keeping it the way it is also important. Also bringing some newness to it in this day and age is essential. Keeping it somewhere between these two tangents is the right way to balance it out. That you don’t lose the essence of it but also bring something fresh.”
Emphasizing his point further, Prithvi Gandhar said, “There are hardly any singers who want to pursue this genre. But the love of Ghazal has suddenly grown. It’s always been there. The kind of response we are getting is beautiful. And there are singers like Pratibha Singh Baghel, Jazim Sharma, Himani Kapoor, Meenal Jain who people love for their music.”
Meanwhile, Bollywood has time and again churned out ghazals for its musical albums. Whether it was Phir Le Aaya Dil in Barfi or Aise Kyun from Mismatched, the genre has been explored countless times and has received positively. On being asked if Bollywood can give a new lease of life to Ghazal gayaki, Prithvi explained, “Bollywood has the power to bring anything into the trend and serve the bigger audience and the art form. They have been doing it. I shouldn’t blame Bollywood because whenever they get a chance, they always like to bring good music. Especially the music composers. But then Ghazal is an art form for a certain niche audience. You cannot expect everyone to like it or listen to it. However if you promote it on a big scale, it reaches and educates the audience.”
Prithvi Gandharv also praised Sanjay Leela Bhansali for whom he had sung for Bajirao Mastani. He shared, “I was very happy when he had called me for the film. He is actually a very, very talented guy in terms of music as well. We all see him as a legendary director but musically as well, he has knowledge about how a song should sound and he has a picture in his head. And he composes his music and then he has a very good team around him that makes it even better. I have really high hopes from him since he has been bringing very good music for the mainstream listeners. Even the classic and traditional touch to his movies and music makes it regal.”
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