A musical career can happen only if you have strong will to make it happen. It isn’t a simple job of few days a week, earn monthly salary and live the monotonous life forever. It is all about living for the art including hours of practice, working for your art and simply loving the art. This is what every artist is and today am talking about Aniruddha Joshi, a singer and music composer. Came up as the first Mahagayak of Maharashtra after winning the Sa Re Ga Ma music reality show. Holding a Master’s degree in taxation from Symbiosis college, Aniruddha chose Music over alluring jobs in IT industry and so is his love for his passion. Here’s an excerpt from our talk:
1. How you started out with your journey of music?
I started the journey when I was 3 years old. All thanks to my parents who found out that I have some good sense for music. I used to sing nursery rhymes and eventually I performed very first when I was in nursery itself. I sang ‘Omkar Swarupa’ then. And from that time it all started. I started learning Hindustani classical music and I was learning music throughout my academics. Later when I moved to Pune, I continued my training for music even while pursuing post graduation.
2. How it was to perform during the auditions of Sa Re Ga Ma?
It was a wonderful experience. I went to auditions without any hope but I simply sang and I was selected. For the first schedule I was among the top 3 and in the second schedule I was the winner.
3. During the competition, what was your motivation for times when you felt low and couldn’t give your best?
Well, the competition was completely a learning process. And to be precise it isn’t a musical journey, but it’s completely a psychological journey. It teaches you how to perform under pressure. Everyone is looking at you and it is the study of how you perform in that pressure. Though you be a good singer and no matter how much hours you practice, if you can’t perform in those two minutes then you are going to be eliminated.
So whenever I felt low, I used to tell myself that this is the song you’ll sing no matter what and you’ll rock it!
4. Did the competition affect your college studies?
Yes, it did a lot. I was doing masters in Symbiosis, Pune and the college is completely study oriented. There was a time when I was not attending college at all. It wasn’t good at all! Again on top of it, I was doing Master in Music and the university being only in favor of Hindustani Classical, they extended no support to me in light music. Whereas the competition was completely on light music. So they started opposing and I was told I will not be able to sit for exams and all such sort of things. I was anticipating it. But all this struggle and pain paid off.
5. You have did your masters in taxation and in music how did you managed it?
Well, for me Music wasn’t a side track. I liked Music by heart and also I was good in commerce so got in Masters Program for taxation in Symbiosis, Pune. But still managing it was tough sometimes. Sometime I felt I was not happy with my taxation side of career and wanted to pursue Music. And if you ask about selecting in these two paths, I chose Music. I even declined a good job at Hyderabad with a thought “Agar ye job liya to mera Music khallas” I would be living the 9 to 6 life then, which wasn’t certainly my type of thing. And for music I always took out time for riyaaz. Everyday without a gap, I used to practice music, even in my exam time.
6. Your view about reality shows?
It depends from person to person actually. Means if you get successful in the reality show and if you are in that notion only of winning it is not good. You must get back to normal routine and start more hard work; you must practice more to maintain that success. That helps musically and it is being practical. It should not happen that once you win or perform there, you get entitled to only perform without doing any riyaaz which many participants do. So am saying that reality show is just a platform and you must constantly study and keep practicing music, no matter you win or lose.
7. We can say music is your first love then, what is the second most?
I love to play cricket. I usually follow cricket trends and love it a lot. I was in my college cricket team and also in my school cricket team, playing in various inter-school and college level competitions. Even now I am in it and in last year when I was in Nagpur I played in the Rotary club’s cricket matches.
8. You are disciple of Pt. Kaivalya Kumar Gurav of Kirana Gharana and also of Dr. Saleel Kulkarni how did you came in contact with them?
When I was in 12th grade, Pt. Kaivalya Kumar Gurav from Kirana Gharana was in Nagpur for his performance. I was there and after the show I spoke with him and told that I wanted to learn from him. At that time Panditji used to live in Karnataka and he thought how would I come and might be just blabbering out of childish thoughts. But still he said come and sing once, I’ll test you and then we will decide about it. So I did went and sang there which he liked and that’s how I became his disciple.
About Dr. Saleel Kulkarni, I got into his contact when I was singing in another reality show ‘Maharashtra Sangeet Ratna’ on Sahayadri channel. The winner of which got the chance to sing in an album with Saleel Kulkarni, which eventually I won. He was the music director for that album and in the due course of time I started learning music from him too, but for a short duration.
9. Sweet memories with Pt. Kaivalya Kumar Gurav ?
Yes, there is this memory I can’t ever forget. In Hindustani Classical Music, tuning your Tanpura is a crucial task. It is considered that if you can tune your Tanpura very well, you have a good knowledge of Music and I wasn’t very good at it. Panditji always emphasized me to concentrate on it too.
One day in my regular practice session when I tuned my Tanpura and was singing, Panditji’s wife came and told me that because of my tuning and singing that day, Panditji was overwhelmed with joy and had tears. This was the most precious appreciation I’ve ever received and a memorable moment of my life.
10. Talking of musical instruments, which is your favorite one?
Well, that’s sort of tricky to tell you know. It’s like asking a mother which is her favorite child from among her own children. Actually what I believe is, every instrument have its own uniqueness. Every instrument is emotionally connected to us so no favorite as such; but being a composer, I enjoy playing the keyboard and Harmonium.
11. How do you feel to get recognized as Mahagayak of Maharashtra?
(Chuckles) Well, according to me this isn’t a title I am actually capable of yet. I am in Music only from last few years but there are many legends in Music like Lataji, Sonu Nigam and many more who dedicated their life to music and so are truly the Mahagayak. Sa Re Ga Ma Pa was just a 6 months competition and one can’t become Mahagayak in those 6 months.
12. What is your view regarding Marathi film industry?
It is a growing and very bright industry and if you see the musical graph on a timeline from 80s, music is growing day by day in Marathi industry. It is improving gradually. And now if you see our present composers like Avdhootji, Ajayji- Atulji they have given a different dimension to music. We’ve won Oscars now and am loving it to work in it.
13. How is your experience with Avdhootji?
Avdhootji is a very good person. He was our judge in Sa Re Ga Ma Pa but he was like a friend, philosopher and a guide to us. Besides, we both are very good friends. He used to always take up time to meet me and always shared his experiences and gave word of advice. Now it has been 5 to 6 years working with him and it is really a very good experience
14. Tell us something about your projects?
Right now am working as a singer and composer for a film ‘Sangharsh Yaatra’ a biopic on Gopinath Mundeji which is releasing in January. Also recently I sang for many Marathi films like Mumbai Pune Mumbai 2, even sang a Qawwali for the bollywood film Wazir. So in all till now I have given playback for more than 20 films and even now composing music for 2 of the Marathi films.
15. Will you like to add something more to this interview like some experience, or memory:
Yes, of-course. I’ll say I am very lucky to have such a wonderful family with me. It was only because of their support and love that I am at this level today. Coming from a middle class family it is normally a mentality to get a job and in-fact get settled. Music isn’t a simple path, but my parents always supported me with it.
16. And the last one, your message for our young generation regarding Music?
I’ll just say do riyaaz. Practice is getting scarce in today’s generation but it is utmost important. Everyone savours success and if you ask me, I’ll say getting success is easy but the most difficult task comes later that is keeping up the success. And for that in music, practice is important. Everything else will fall into its place automatically.