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Suresh Goel

The outgoing Indian Council for Cultural Relations director-general on his creative endeavours and life post-retirement.

Suresh Goel

Why did you want to create an international platform for jazz in Delhi?

India had a tradition of jazz in the '40s and '50s, which was taken over by rock and pop. So I felt the need to encourage jazz and promote interaction between Indian and foreign artistes.

How big is the audience for jazz in India?

The young audience is more into popular forms like rap, though many are drawing inspiration from Indian classical music.

Does that lead one to fusion?

I didn’t think of fusing jazz with any Indian musical form. However, iccr collaborated with Meeta Pandit, who sang khayal to jazz music.

What's special about Swan Lake-Revisited?

It not only created a dialogue between Kathak and Flamenco, it even related the classical theme of Swan Lake to a more contemporised confrontation between good and bad.

You’ve also been interested in Sufi music?

Sufism is the liberal face of Islam. Having an international Sufi music festival was essential to share the tradition not only with India and Isla­mic countries, but also with countries in Europe.

New challenges you want to undertake?

To initiate a discourse among artistic personalities on how cultural dialogue could support international diplomacy. Also, support scholarly and research projects.

Is there a dream which you wish you had fulfilled before retiring?

I wish the ICCR’s efforts were more institutionalised. This requires a committed cadre of cultu­ral administrators, which is yet to be achieved.

Who can best fit into your shoes?

Anyone with a keen interest in the creative field, along with an administrative knack.

Post-retirement plans?

I want to just take a deep breath and introspect before my next venture.

Other passions?

Trekking, photography and reading.

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