What is it that makes Dhrupad's appeal so limited?
Because people are not ready to go deep into its nuances.
But why does it need such ardent listening?
A Dhrupadia is not merely an artist, he's a sadhak, that's why his music also requires some amount of immersion.
Is that the only reason for its limited popularity?
There's also hardly any institutional patronage. Wherever music is taught, there's too much stress on theory.
But you too run a gurukul at IIT Mumbai.
Yes, but my only criterion is lagan (dedication) not whether my students possess a degree or diploma in music.
Why is it so important to maintain Dhrupad's purity?
It's foolish to experiment with classical music. If you keep borrowing from here and there, where will your tradition be?
Why is Dhrupad more popular abroad?
Because they understand its greatness when they study, research and compare it with their own music.
Does Bollywood ever tempt you?
I've done music for art films but the present mainstream cinema is too instant for my liking.
You stress so much on the guru-shishya tradition. Why then is it that most well-known Dhrupadias are from your family?
The Gundechas are my disciples and so are many other famous singers. It's just that our family has nurtured the tradition for generations.
Were there no other families?
After Partition, a lot of our good singers went to Pakistan where they were forced to dilute their tradition by singing ghazals and qawwalis.
Is there ever a conflict between your religion and your music?
My music is older than my religion. For me swar is God and God swar. Where is the conflict then?