National Award winning classical singer Mahesh Kale who got to fame after singing in Marathi movie ‘Katyar Kaljat Ghusali’ was in Goa for a music workshop at Margao and to perform at Vasco Saptah. NT BUZZ finds out more about Mahesh and his singing career
SACHI NAIK | NT BUZZ
- Your mother Meenal Kale was a classical singer. How beneficial do you feel you were being born in the family that already has a classical singer?
It is natural to be beneficial. Even if there is a child growing in a family of businessman, the child would absorb so many things in the business sector. I owe a lot to my mother who would do riyaaz for hours. The least that happened through her riyaaz was that I woke up listening to classical music every day. Throughout the day, I would absorb a lot of Hindustani classical music only through her riyaaz. Gradually, she started teaching me and I began to learn.
- You have been successful at a young age in the field of Hindustani classical music. Who would you credit it to?
Certainly my teachers! You know there is also involvement of luck as you need to be offered a right opportunity. So, I was blessed with that luck. But once you have that luck and you grab the opportunity, you need to have an ability to do justice to that opportunity. For that ability, I credit my gurus who taught me so many things. The parameters of success for me while I was still pursuing training in singing was not to receive some award but to be able to be in music, to be in that blissful state and just to be happy with singing.
- So you strongly believe in destiny…
Of course, I believe in destiny but along with destiny, hard work and mentorship from a proper guide is a necessity. If you work hard but have no proper guidance, your hard work is not channelised. Similarly, if you work hard and have proper mentor, you need to have that opportunity for success.
- What is the turning point in your life?
Many people consider winning of a national award as a turning point in my life. But I personally feel the turning point in my life was being accepted as a disciple by renowned classical singer Pandit Jitendra Abhisheki, because I was armed with the purest and the best form of music that exist, because of him. Since I got this experience from my guru, the next turning point of national award added to my achievement.
- You opine that teachers play a very important role in shaping the life of a student!
Absolutely! How can you ever learn anything in life until you learn it from a good teacher, and how can you do anything in your life then? I was blessed not only with teachers but with gurus as well. The teachers know what to do but a guru helps you learn what to do. The teachers will take you on the right path while a guru will teach you to find your right path. I have had both of these at different times in my life.
- What role does music play in your life?
Music is everything. Music is life. Any art form mimics life. I see my life is mimicked by my art. On the contrary, when you surrender your life to art, art teaches you life! That’s what music is to me.
- You are often tagged as a classical vocalist of a young generation. How do you feel about it?
Journalists have tagged me in different ways to identify me as a vocalist of a young generation. It all started with following my passion and dream. I have Masters Degree in Multimedia and Engineering Management. And all the way through I knew that music is very special to me and that it remains as an important part in my life. Now, that I am earning my livelihood by making music as my full time profession it is a blessing. When you do something that you like, you automatically give in your best. I learnt classical music and I interact with a lot of kids. I teach them in The United States where I reside. Eventually, suddenly a lot of recognition has come from a younger generation. I am very happy to share our traditional art with people of the next generation. If I am able to hold the attention of youngsters for a traditional art, it is as if I’m giving that art a longer life. This excites me and I feel good to have young followers.
I had a workshop with young students at Ravindra Bhavan, Margao, and I was happy to see that twinkle in their eyes when they were responding to classical music, I think that spark is what is going to ignite the fire in them for their future as well as for the future of classical music.
- You have a master’s degree in engineering and you always knew your passion in music. Did you ever plan to opt for a career in engineering?
It is true that I knew my passion for music and that it is an important part of my life. But at the same time I was good at studies. So, I chose science, engineering and masters in Engineering Management. Sometimes you choose the things that you are good at but if those things intersect to the things that you must do, then you realise what you actually need to do. Engineering, however has allowed me to perceive music in a new way.
- Have you set up any new goals for your singing career?
I teach around 200 children in U.S. Further, I want to make sure that I keep on having presence of classical music among youth. I want to grow the number of youth in my audiences and to do that I conduct lectures, workshops and demonstrations for youngsters. After my concert, I often meet the kids in my audiences even if it’s stressful. I am also exploring the compositional aspects right now. I want to bridge the gap between popular and classical music. So if we can use the sounds of the instruments that are not inherently classical but that can be blend to increase the classical appeal, it would be interesting.
It is important to also note that I have suddenly become open to do some musical even if it’s in the form of a movie. After singing in the movie ‘Katyar Kaljat Ghusali’, I am getting a lot of acting offers. I have been a little unsure about it but lately what I’ve thought is if there is a musical that comes my way and perhaps through your publication, I am certainly interested to have a look at it.