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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

"Whatever I am today is because of Doordarshan,” Penaz Masani.

Ghazal singer Penaz Masani on the changing music scene and helping youngsters appreciate ghazals. “Ghazals are about nazhakhat (being delicate and graceful). Except while singing ghazals, I am a non- nazhakhat person in all my other interests. I like my chai, malai maarke ,” laughs Penaz Masani. It is a scenic, rocky view from her room at hotel Daspalla at Kavuri Hills where she is preparing tea.
The ghazal singer is struck at how Hyderabad has changed since her last visit. “I must have come here eight years ago. I have been touring and travelling to other cities in India and aboard. Sometimes, it is nice to give the city a break. I would perform at Secunderabad Club, Nizam Club, Shilparamam and at Golconda festival. I was confused when I came in the morning. Nothing seems to be the same anymore. The foot over bridges have given the city a new look; the change is welcome,” she avers.

More than two decades
In a career spanning two-and-half decades, Penaz has carved a niche for herself in ghazal singing. She has been able to hold her sway with a cheerful personality, her voice and the Urdu diction. “I started singing in ’81 and God has been very kind to me. My guru and driving force Maharani ji is now my family because I’ve lost both my parents. Whatever I am today is because of her,” she states. She is practical and realistic when she talks about the present-day ghazal scene. “Eighties were the best time for ghazals because it was new and happening. One could spot men and women dressed elegantly in the shows. Women in their chiffon saris and pearl and diamond necklaces wanted to be seen in this so-called upmarket form of music. The crowd enjoyed the music and samajh mein aaye ya nahin , they said ‘wah wah’ (Whether people understood the words or not, they would appreciate the songs),” she smiles and adds, “The ’90s were cool but then things changed in the late ’90s. Pop music and different forms of music entered our lives. The masses moved away from ghazal. There is a section of people, who have always loved ghazals and will continue to do so. Ghazals have come back in the form of Sufi music and good poetry.” In the age of instant nirvana, where digitalisation has impacted music sensibilities, Penaz observes the trends have no effect on one’s core. “To say that ‘Ghazal gaayki is gone’ is absolute blasphemy. Music tastes have always changed. There was one time when music lovers said ‘pop, pop, pop’. Now, that pop has gone. Ghazal is one of the important threads of a garment. It is in our culture. Be it ghazal, thumri, or Carnatic music… it will always be there. The only thing is, ghazal singing is not fashionable anymore, but ghazals will always be there. Mirza Ghalib will always be remembered and we will always hum Iqbal.” Penaz dispels the myth that ghazals are not popular with youngsters because they are laced with heavy Urdu words. “ Aankh jab band kiya karte hain, aap saamne hua karte hain (When I close my eyes, I see you). Tell me what is difficult about this line?” she asks and adds, “I have performed at a lot of colleges and you will be surprised to know the wonderful response. Youngsters will enjoy ghazals if they are exposed to it. And, even if is not able to comprehend, one can explain the words and make it an interactive concert.”

On a personal note
She talks of how her curly hair is an intrinsic part of her life. “Curly hair is in my genes. Thanks to mama Masani (her mother), who had lovely, curly hair and my father. I tried straightening my hair for one year and looked terrible. I felt like a traitor. Maine apni asliyat ko mitaadi, kisi ke kehene pe (I erased my true identity. because someone asked me to.) I am happy that I have kept my curls,” she smiles. She credits Doordarshan for the huge part it played in her success. “Many young artistes do not approach All India Radio or Doordarshan thinking there is no money in it. It has a very good circle of true artists, who will help you get more concerts. It helps in networking. When I started, there was no Star or Sony. Whatever I am today is because of Doordarshan,” she points out. Any albums? “The years of albums are over. Now, one records a single video and puts it on You Tube. There are no companies who will invest in albums.”
Ghazals have come back in the form of Sufi music and good poetry.

Source and Credit :- http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-metroplus/in-tune-with-the-times/article8403113.ece 
Forwarded by :- Shri. Jainendra Nigam PB News Desk prasarbharati.newsdesk@gmail.com

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