Popular bollywood singer Kailash Kher has said that even in this age of commercialisation, the interest in Sufi music remains unchallenged, which is highlighted by the increasing interest of the youth in the genre.
The singer, who rose to critical acclaim after years of struggle, also felt that singers are now being taken seriously by the audience, which was not the case in the past.
"Earlier music was not respected or revered in our country; music was not motivated. This was because the music industry was not well organised. Even after struggling for 20 years, there was no guarantee of work in the industry. There is no dearth of talent in the field but opportunities are lacking," Kher told IANS on the sidelines of the just-concluded Udaipur World Music Festival.
Asked about transformation in the field of music, he said that India has been a country of spiritual masters and great musicians and, citing the names of Chanakya, Gautam Buddha and Swami Vivekanada, among others, noted that it is but natural for Indians to have an interest in the creative fields.
"In this age of commercialisation, low standard products are being brought into the market, but even as low-standard music is being highly marketed, good music is also being made," he said.
The singer said that it is not right to say that the youth are inclined towards loud and noisy music. If there was a count of Sufi fans, according to Kher, the youth would certainly top the list.
Sufi music, he said, continues to be popular and well-received even today. "Sufi music teaches one simplcity and the ethereal aspects of life. The youth today are fans of sufi music. The love and respect that I have earned in the past 11 years is largely a result of sufi music," he said.
Kher said that music is transforming society and that it has a great contribution in the field of healthcare too. "Some medical institutes in the US use Indian music to treat cancer patients. What can bring more pride to our music than this?" the singer asked.
Kher recently launched two bands, 'SurFira' and 'IndieRoutes'. Their slogan is "Each one -- Teach one" and he is trying to provide opportunities to young singers using these platforms.
Kailash Kher has also lent his voice to a number of advertisement jingles, the one for the Swach Bharat Abhiyan is among the most popular.
"I have sung for several big brands but it is always a proud moment for me to sing for 'swadeshi' brands. Some people surely look at advertisement songs in a different way, but singing for an Indian brand always brings me happiness. I feel it is the responsibility of every established singer to promote 'swadeshi' brands," he said.
Sharing his thoughts on the changing political scenario in the country, Kher said that India is fast transforming.
"The change which we could not see in the past 70 years has been visible in the past two years. The conditions were very bad earlier. Nobody was aware what was going on in the country. The scenario is changing now with the advent of social media. The presence of youth in politics has increased, which has brought about this transformation," added the singer.
He also said that he has sung for all the three leading political parties in Uttar Pradesh, the Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) and the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), which was almost impossible earlier as other parties banned you if you sang for another party.
(Ritu Tomar was in Udaipur at the invitaiton of the World Music Festival's organisers. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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