Meeting of the old and new

Ode To Music

In the year 1999, she started Art & Artistes’ (I) Pvt Ltd to work as an independent content developer and producer. The 11-year-old company has conceived path-breaking content weaving music, poetry, light and sound with performances by top line artistes.

Apart from being the founder and director of Art & Artistes’ (I) Pvt Ltd, she is also the co-founder of The Indian Music Academy® (IMA), chairperson of the Culture Committee-2011 and The Association of Chambers of Commerce of India (ASSOCHAM) and a member of the Censor Board of India. If you think that packs a punch, read on.

“We have a huge agenda in promoting young musicians and we have tied up with corporates to provide healthcare to musicians through the CSR initiative of IMA. We also give stipend to aspiring musicians via these initiatives,” says Durga Jasraj. Quiz her on Idea Jalsa - Music for the Soul, and she gets very chatty.

“The goal of this show is to promote music of all genres. Conceptualised as a meeting of the young and the old in Hindustani music, the first Idea Jalsa concert took place in 2006 and was staged across 12 cities in the country.

A turnout of over 5,000 people at each venue was extremely gratifying and we decided to take it to television. We started with Doordarshan and five regional channels, and of the 78 episodes, we were on the number one TRP slot for 76 weeks! Jalsa seeks to showcase pure, unadulterated music and there is no age limit on the participants,” she says.

The show showcases music in genres like Hindustani and Carnatic classical, sufi, qawwali, ghazal, bhajan, folk, film and fusion, comprehensively presented through vocal, instrumental and percussion forms. Even though it is physically demanding, she ensures that she listens to the artiste live when screening them for participation. For someone who believes that it is important for music to be good, irrespective of the genre, the success of her show and the concept has been extremely gratifying.

The new season of Idea Jalsa is currently being aired on Zee TV and Jasraj says that the channel has extended the show from the original 26 episodes to another 26. Teaming up with Annu Kapoor with whom she was seen in the hugely successful Antakshari is also a plus.

“We have both matured a lot since Antakshari. I was very clear that we wanted someone who was well read and knowledgeable, which is why Annu was brought on board. You may find it hard to believe but neither of us read the script and respond to the music very honestly,” says Durga.

This talented artist has much more up her sleeve, including an animation and visual effects studio as well as interests in professional gaming venues. She would like to produce films as well, once the right script comes along. “Being the daughter of Pandit Jasraj helps open doors, but just once. I need to be dedicated and live up to the standards set by my parents and I am extremely fortunate. I have taken up this journey based on my own convictions as I wanted to do something that I believed in,” she remarks.  Idea Jalsa is aired on Zee TV, every Sunday, at 10.30 am.

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