Youth will like classical music; just serve it right: Durga Jasraj

New Delhi: Indian youth can be made to appreciate classical music if it is served to them in the right manner, says music promoter Durga Jasraj, who disagrees with the notion that Bollywood tunes have spoilt the new generation`s taste in music.

"People who feel youth don`t have a knack for listening to classical music should understand that that`s not the case. They just need it to be served to them the way they like it," Durga said.

The daughter of music legend Pandit Jasraj, Durga has been making efforts to take Indian music of all genres to people across all demographies. In 2006, she started Idea Jalsa -- a platform to talented youngsters who get to share the stage with maestros at concerts.

"It`s a wide platform for people who are 12, and even 82," she said.

Over the past five years, she has seen a lot of youngsters getting attracted to concerts and TV shows, which is a reason why she minces no words about their taste.

"When we first had our concerts, they drew around 4,000 to 5,000 youths. A whole lot of people who attended the concerts were under 25. Even when `Idea Jalsa` went on TV, we got to know through TAM (Television Audience Measurement) ratings that youth are watching it.

"But we realised that we needed to create a format for them to take a liking. In our classical music, one raga can go on for an hour. So it was best to cut down on the length of concerts through post-production to make it crisp and TV-friendly," said Durga, who launched her Indian Music Academy (IMA) in 2006.

The singer, who had a memorable tryst with the small screen as host of popular show "Antakshari", says youth`s attention span is small.

"You can`t expect youngsters to sit through concerts for hours altogether. But if you give them 5 to 10 minutes of that entertainment, it will prove to be interesting for an audience that is uninitiated about a certain genre of music.

"You have to make content TV-friendly for them to start taking a liking, after which they will ultimately find the way to auditoriums where concerts are held. So this way, one can use TV and different formats as an introductory window to youth for cultural music," said Durga.

Durga is full of praise for the Hindi film industry, which she says "has done a lot" in promoting music.

"I beg to differ! Bollywood has given us singers like Lata (Mangeshkar) and Asha (Bhosle) who are unparalleled in singing. They have given the audience their first big taste in music and we have our parameters for music in such stalwarts. So Bollywood isn`t to be blamed for anything.

"Just as I may like a certain actor, and you may like another, people have personal choices -- some may like classical, some may like desi, and some may like rock. Ultimately, it`s each to their own. But it`s wrong to say Bollywood music is killing love for classical music," she said.