Panaji: The legendary gharanas of Indian classical music may not be able to retain their distinct identity in the contemporary age where electronic media and rampant bombardment of music is the norm of the day, say two celebrated singers.
Speaking to reporters Friday at the 42nd International Film Festival of India (IFFI), renowned exponents of the Benaras gharana of Hindustani classical music, brothers Rajan and Sajan Mishra said that classical music as a whole is becoming increasingly popular and that swelling audiences were the barometers of the popularity.
"Gharanas were made to preserve a certain style of music. But in this age of electronic media and television and radio, it is difficult to maintain the gharana system now," said Pandit Rajan Mishra.
In Hindustani classical music, the gharana system involved distinct genres of music, in which a collective of classical artists adhered to by lineage or apprenticeship.
Some of the famous gharanas in India are the Benaras, Kirana, Patiala, Jaipur.
The Mishra brothers, who are also Padmabhushan awardees, played the main protagonists of a documentary film `Adwait Sangeet` made by Pune-based film-maker Makarand Brahme, which was the inaugural film of the Indian Panaroma (non-feature) section at the Goa festival.
"While western India is influenced by the Kirana gharana, the Mishra brothers are from the Benaras gharana, which is one of the most influential gharanas in the country. The Benaras gharana has given us two Bharat Ratna awardees (Ustad Bismillah Khan and Pandit Ravi Shankar) and 32 Padma awardees," Brahme said.
"The Benaras gharana is perhaps the only one which patronises performing arts like vocal, dance form, percussions," he said.
According to Rajan Mishra, classical music was on an upswing in India, much against the popular perception that the form of music was on the decline.
"You see, earlier in Delhi there was only the Sapru auditorium for classical music and it was often empty. But now you have so many other avenues like the Siri Fort auditorium, which houses 3,000 people, and they even have big screens outside and there are open part shows. Public interest in classical music is increasing," he said.