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Varied emotions

After having been trained by maestros, Padmaja Joglekar manages many genres with ease



Multitasking Padmaja’s latest effort has her lending her voice to Anup Jalota’s bhajans

If there is a musician who can dare tread the path of presenting serious Hindustani classical, light music, film numbers and bhajans, it is Padmaja Joglekar. The voice with an unbelievable range and timbre can handle any genre with ease. Padmaja has had the fortune of being trained under Pandit Jasraj, the Sarangi maestro Pandit Ram Narayan and the renowned music director Hridaynath Mangeshkar. It’s not the training that gains importance here, but her ability to mould herself to the demands of the different class of melody that stamps her as a versatile artiste.

It is this quality that has helped Padmaja stride several platforms and here she is lending her voice to Anup Jalota’s bhajan CD Mangaldeep – an album that sings the praises of Lord Rama, Krishna and Ganesha. The vandan brought out with Anup Jalota’s music flags off with ‘Hai Dukh Ka Koi Paar Nahi’ sung by Padmaja and Anup, forms a soothing beginner that leads to a piece in Yaman, “Mai Mangal Deep Jalawun” of Rajesh Johri.

The album, released recently by Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, has some pacy bhajans like “Mere Man Me Krishna, Mere Tan Me Krishna,” where the chorus also adds to the rhythmic grandeur.

The higher octave notes with which the next number “Namami Purushottam” starts off is a serene beckon to Lord Ram that pleads for protection from Him, as the lyrics transport one to several facets from the Ramayana. The music is not jarring, even as it is a smooth sail with thoughts on the Lords and their Divine play.


It’s the soul-stirring Bhairavi for “Ab To Mujhe Ubaro Ram” that wraps up the album just before a Ganesh vandan where the opening swar more than talks of her classical clasp and Hindustani training, making the treat a wholesome one.

Padmaja has set to tune poems of former Prime Minister Vajpayee, and was awarded the Padmashri in 2001. The Hindustani/ghazal/bhajan exponent from Mumbai recalled the success of her cassette “Geet Naya Gata Hoon” containing eight poems of Atal Behari Vajpayee, “Initially Atalji wasn’t very excited about his poems being set to music, as he had termed his poetry “prose-oriented and written in free style”. After he asked me to give him some samples, he actually stood up in appreciation and said: “I applaud you for your music and voice.” Vajpayee went on to become the Prime Minister later and of course it simply feels great as the royalty from the sales goes to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund, says Padmaja.

A student of Microbiology, Padmaja almost made a last minute retreat from the lab as the call of music was simply hard to resist, having brought up with music ringing in her ears all day long.

Padmaja’s melodic forays into Marathi poems of Kusumagraj, Indra Sant, Mangesh Padgoankar to name a few are popular with connoisseurs of literature in the Marathi circuit. Padmaja is now dedicated to her study of saints and poets: “It helps me choose the best of each poet and offer a better package each time,” she says. That is how the rarely sung musical form, Tappa, is also being revived by her. The harkat and murkhiyaan of the tappa style she demonstrates used to be a favourite of Kumar Gandharv and Bade Ghulam Ali Khan.

RANJANI GOVIND

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