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Special issue with the Sunday Magazine
From the publishers of THE HINDU
MUSIC & DANCE December 05, 1999
Gajendra Singh, producer-director of Saregama still likes to ascribe the success of his show to the gods above. "That's the secret of my success," he says modestly.
The truth is that four years ago, emboldened by the success of Antakshari, Singh decided to launch a musical show which could function as a talent search for young singers across the country. And the base of any talent search in music has to be classical music. "My main aim in starting Saregama was to promote classical music," he admits. "I didn't launch it as a classical music programme only because I wanted to break it in gently to the viewer. So I gave it a more 'popular' format initially and established the classical music rounds only after the first 26 episodes."
And, contrary to popular belief, Saregama has a vast audience base in the youth of the country, all of whom love it. "It's only a myth that classical music is meant for the elderly," says Singh. "If given a youthful presentation, even the young will go for it."
And what better symbol of youthfulness could he find than the one provided by its host, Sonu Nigam, whose name and fame are as old as Saregama itself.
Sonu himself would, however, beg to differ. "I know that youngsters like Saregama. But personally, I feel thrilled if I can move the elderly too," he laughs. "For instance, the other day, a very old woman came up to me and asked me where she had seen me before. When I told her my name, she hugged me and thanked me for the thumri (her favourite) that I had sung on the show a couple of weeks ago. Now, youngsters love easily, but to be able to move an 87-year-old woman is a blessing in itself, isn't it?"
Most maestros in the field of classical music have come on Saregama as judges. And all are proud of it, as one of their "own" programmes. As Ustad Vilayat Khan commented the other day, "I thought classical music had died against the onslaught of pop, but here at Saregama, I'm beginning to feel that it's still alive .
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