The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Songs of fond remembrance

32, Kabir Road, off Southern Avenue, was among his first addresses. Neighbours still recount being treated to morning ragas when Jasraj, then a budding singer, would do his riyaaz diligently. Things will almost come full circle on January 6, when Pandit Jasraj returns to his “favourite city” for a function to commemorate 50 years of his career.

Days before the Mewati gharana maestro arrives, his singer-actress daughter Durga Jasraj is here, supervising the two-day event to be held in Kala Mandir. “I have taken a break from my dual career and started an event promotion company, called Art and Artistes. The three-year-old company promotes events and also provides software for television channels. Recently, we did something for Star Plus. But this function, titled ‘Golden Voice, Golden Years’, is one of the major events that I am organising this year,” says Durga, known to many as the first co-hostess of Annu Kapoor in Close-Up Antakshari. Later, she appeared on the small screen in Chandrakanta and Mano Ya Na Mano, before turning into an event manager.

Listeners will get an insight into the legacy of Pandit Jasraj when his youngest pupil, Ankita Joshi, kicks off proceedings with a classical music recital on Monday. “Later, others like Kaushiki Chakraborty, Ustad Sultan Khan, Pandit Zakir Hussain, U. Srinivas and then my father will take the stage,” says Durga. Alongwith the recitals, the audience will be treated to a film tracing memorable moments of the maestro’s career, an album and two booklets, as well.

According to Durga, though the family has sold the Kabir Road residence, memories of the house “where my father and his elder brother, Pandit Maniram, grew up” remain dear to the family. Former Bollywood stars Sulakshana and Vijayeta Pandit and their music director-brothers Jatin-Lalit (first cousins of Durga), too, would drop in at the Kabir Road residence, whenever they were in town. “I am sure my father would love to visit the house,” she adds.

Golden Voices… has already enthralled audiences in Bangalore and Delhi. From Calcutta, it travels to “hometown” Mumbai and neighbouring Pune.

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