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Interviews |  09 May 2013 17:53 |  By JesciliaKarayamparambil

Blessed to be trained under Pandit Jasraj: Ankita Joshi

Ankita Joshi, a talented classical singer and a student of Pandit Jasraj who had performed live during the closing show of Idea Jalsa in Mumbai feels that the stage has opened up lot of opportunities for her. Joshi considers herself blessed to be trained under Panditji and does not leave a chance to praise him.

She was born in Nanded, Maharshtra and it was her family who inculcated in her the love for listening and performing devotional songs. At young age, she moved to Mumbai to train herself under Pandit Jasraj. In a conversation with, the 24-year old vocalist shares her plans to do more in classical music along with some experimental fusions.


How did your love for music grow?

My maternal grand-mother and grand-father used to do Kirtans (singing and praising God) and then I had my first guru as my mama (mother’s brother) Laksmikant Ramdev from whom I started learning at the age of six. Mama used to play devotional music at home and automatically it developed a musical culture around me. So I developed love for music and he started feeling that I have the singer quality and can pursue music as my career. He started teaching me and he maintained a discipline about my practice. I would enjoy listening to Pandit Jasraj songs. I used to tell by mama to play his track and then I decided that I wanted to learn under him.

I met my Guruji Pandit Jasraj in 1998 at Sawai Gandharva and requested him to teach me. The auditorium was jam packed and guruji was preparing himself for the performance in the green room. I dodged people down and reached guruji and requested him to teach me. He questioned me do I sing and I replied that I learnt singing listening to him and that’s how I  practice singing. He asked to sing that day and I sung and then he called me to his side from that time I have been training under him.

I had won many competition listening to his ‘Raga Bihag’- had special connection with it. That time I knew he was a great artist but as child you don’t realize the way you talk and I spoke to him freely during my first encounter.

How was the experience of learning under Panditji?

Learning is very important. I learnt under guruji which was a great opportunity. He encourages and teaches a lot.

When you are trained under such an experienced teacher and one fine day when you are told by him that you can sing, it is a blessing. Along with joy, there was a fear that will I be able to fulfill my teacher’s expectation and will people like me sing. But you gain strength through the fact that hard work speaks it all. The feeling to sing is the best experience and I give my 100 per cent on stage and in every performance.

What kind of genres you enjoy most?

I am a classical singer but can sing ghazal, fusion and devotional. Ghulam Ali Khan Sahab and Mehndi Hassanji are my inspiration in ghazal.

During a press conference, Shankar Mahadevan had said that without you singing his Ganesh Puja is not complete. Comment.

I come from a very small town and as a kid I never thought I would perform on national level. I just remember my grand-father’s line that if you get a good guru then everything good will happen to you. And this line of my maternal grand-father has come true.

I am really happy that Shankar Mahadevanji said this. It is really nice to hear that from him and it is my honour.

How was the experience performing at Idea Jalsa?

It was a great experience to be at Idea Jalsa. There were nearly 5000 people and it was webcasted also. I was honoured as it happened with be for the first time.

You have also done editing of music for Idea Jalsa’s television telecast. Comment.

Editing just happened to me. I am a classical singer first. In film songs, you are aware from where to cut as it depends on the stanza. In ghazal or classical or any other genre, you have a shade and if you cut it abruptly you will feel something is wrong and you will not enjoy it. The editor at Jalsa used to edit classical music or ghazals very abruptly. I told Durga didi (Jasraj) that it was not cut rightly and she said then go and tell the editors and she taught me how to make them understand different things.  Then I went to studio and then it just happened.

What are your future plans?

Whatever opportunities I will get I will use it. I have to keep my practice alive it is very important. Classical music event like Idea Jalsa happen in such a large scale but there are only few events like this happening. To create and spread the popularity of Classical music more will be my role and I would take the opportunity.

I have few shows planned, have sung for a feature film and a short film. I have sung a fusion track and I am doing few experimental tracks.