Govt patronage will decide future of performing arts says Chaurasia

Belonging to the Maihar Gharana, he is here to perform at the Patiala Heritage Festival, which took off yesterday.

He stated, 'Until the government decides to change its policy on the patronage it will extend to artistes in the country, t parents will continue to discourage their children from joining this field. The promise of a secure and lucrative future can drastically tilt the scales in favour of the performing arts', he added.

Talking about his bit towards popularising classical music among the youth, he said, 'I have already established two gurukuls in Mumbai and San Fransisco, which are based on the ancient 'guru shishya parampara' and my vision is to establish a score of such schools all over the world. The silver lining he says is the immense popularity the flute enjoys both here and abroad.

Not many know that the flutist hails from a family of wrestlers and that he cut short his training in wrestling at the age of 15 to take up first vocal classical music, only to shift a year later to the flute. The man who has no peer as far as 'phoonk' (the subtle manner of blowing into the flute), got his first training under Pt Bhola Nath for eight years. His talent, however, was honed by his guru sur bahar maestro Annapurna Devi, the illustrious daughter of Ustad Allauddin Khan.

He is one of the few musicians who can successfully adapt themselves to both classical and popular music. He has won the t coveted awards of the country. He and Pt Shiv Shankar Sharma has composed music for many hit films, including 'Darr', 'Lamhe' and 'Silsila'. The short flute piece in the superhit film 'Hero', which became very popular, is attributed to him.

Not averse to improvisation, Hari Prasad Chaurasia has at times played the part of an innovator while retaining a traditionalist's content of classical music. He is also known for some memorable 'jugalbandis' with stalwarts, including Pt Jasraj, Ustad Zakir Hussain and Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma. He has also lent his talent towards promoting fusion music in collaboration with certain western artistes.

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