The best way to ease your soul is to soothe your ears with an effortless and mesmerizing piece of Indian classical music. The history of classical Maestro music in India dates back to over 5000 years. However, until today, our homeland is still endowed with many advocates of this harmonious music to sustain and transmit its rich legacy to the future generation.
Interview Times had a great opportunity to converse with one of the current maestros of Indian classical music- Pandit Iman Das. In an exclusive interview, he spoke about the success of his dream project Anand Karo (the funds collected from the songs are all donated to NGO’s dealing with underprivileged children, who are in dire stress in this pandemic) and the release of the second version of the song on a considerably huger scale.
This is how the interview went-
When did you start getting inclined towards the eternal world of Indian classical music?
My passion for Indian classical music aroused quite late into my life. When I was around 15 or 16 years old, the love for classical music, blossomed into my heart. However, at that point in time, I have made up my mind, that I will follow my passion as a career throughout my life. By the age of 17 or 18, I started official shows and tours throughout the country, and since then there has been no holding back for almost 20 years.
What are the greatest heights you have accomplished in your musical journey so far?
There are many!!! Especially the first tours in Europe and Australia are always remarkable. However, there are three incidences, which shall forever remain close to my heart.
The first incident happened when I visited Germany. I was of the preconceived notion that German people would usually like fast-paced songs. However, I was astounded when the local people urged me to perform Vilambhit, and they would meditate. I performed for three hours in front of 1000 people and was moved with the response I received.
The second episode also happens in one of my Europe tours, but this time in an Afghan-based community. Few minutes went by of my performance, and I could see that the people started showering money on my harmonium. At first, I was taken aback from their gesture. However, later I came to know that it is the way they show their tribute and love to others. That night, I performed for four to five hours and yet they were not leaving me. Such was their affection.
The last incident happened very recently in Kolkata at Rabindra Sadhan were many legends of the classical music industry were present such as Pandit Rajan Sajan Mishra, Ustad Rashid Khan, Sondha Mukhopadhyay and many more. However, it was when I was performing I glanced and saw legendary Pandit Swapan Choudhary nodding his head with my tune. The best thing that happened was just after my performance when he came to the stage and applauded me publically. It was such an honour.
When and how did the idea of the project “Anand Karo” come to you?
I composed the song, Anand Karo, over a year back. However, it took me a bit of time to release it on a much larger scale. Also, since the start of the pandemic, the world is in so much pain and depression. Therefore, I thought, it is the best time to release the song, to ease people’s mind amidst the chaos of corona.
You had a team of 10 artists for the first Anand Karo song. Were these artists name already in your mind when you thought about this project?
To be very honest, in my mind, I had 20 artists with whom I wanted to make the first Anand Karo song. I addressed, almost all the artist and was fortunate enough that every one of them was quick to say a yes, and we got to deliver such a beautiful song.
What were the reactions of the artists when you approached them with this idea?
Again, to be very honest- It was a sort of mixed reactions. However, the mixed reaction was due to a certain degree of uncertainty. As I said earlier, all the artists almost instantly agreed to be a part of Anand Karo. However, for some, it was a different genre, like Bollywood singer Dev Negi. But he was phenomenal. Not only he, but the others who all participated and made Anand Karo a triumph, including Chadala Bala Kalyan Ji, Mrdiula Warrior, Iman Chakravarty and another superstar singer from Bollywood Aditi Paul was also all fabulous.
I am happy that just after the release and success of Anand Karo, Amazon Prime released Bandish Bandits, which became a huge success globally. It’s a great time for classical music. Once which was considered as boring is now loved by youth, all over the world.
How excited are you for the second phase of a much bigger version “Anand Karo”?
I was quite overwhelmed with the success of the first version of Anand Karo. The satisfaction was not only in terms of the reach of the song but also for the success behind the main motive for organizing the music, i.e. to donate the funds collected from it to the NGO’s dealing with underprivileged children. People have bestowed their hard-earned money towards the betterment of these unfortunate kids.
Therefore, I decided to make a much bigger scale for the second song release of Anand Karo, which includes international artists. And, of course, after the success of the first song, I am pretty much excited for the second song of Anand Karo.
Will the funds collected from this song also go to the NGO’s?
Yes, the purpose of the second song is the same. In fact, one of the main reason for providing Anand Karo an international platform is to make people aware of the fantastic work some of the NGO‘s are doing in India.
For example – the Goria Sathi NGO from Kolkata works day and night for Autistic children. Similarly, Akshara Foundation works for more than 16000 schools of underprivileged children. Some of the schools of Akshara foundation are also there in Odisha. In fact, the Odisha government is the best when it comes in co-operating with the Akshara Foundation and providing them with all support.
How quickly did the international artists accept the proposal to collaborate?
I am fortunate and lucky enough to have a great professional bond with all my co-artist, whether in India or abroad. Thereby, when I pitched the proposal of Anand Karo to the foreign artist, they too quickly accepted the proposal.
Any plans to mingle the Indian and the International stars maybe for the third phase of Anand Karo?
Smiles!!! It all depends on the success of the second part of Anand Karo. Hopefully, if it becomes a big franchise, then we can surely try out great things for Anand Karo in future. If people want to collaborate, I am ready for an instrumental cover for the third phase. However, it all depends on the success of the second phase of Anand Karo.