BY ~ MANAV LAKHANI
Gold had value, because it is scarce. Similarly, in a world full of programmed beats and techno
music, Indian Classical still hold its place and has its own value amongst those who understand
it. It is so as this art can be mastered by very few; it’s scarce. People long to listen to the Pandit
Ji’s and experience a range of emotions as the Raag proceeds.
We have heard the legacy of Pt. Bhimsen Joshi Ji, Pt. Ajoy Chakrabarty Ji, Pt. Jasraj Ji and many
more legends of the field. However in this article I would want to cover I such person who
according to me at least is the current flag bearer for Hindustani Classical Music. He is none
other than Shri Rahul Deshpande Ji. He has successfully brought classical music and Marathi
folk back into the mainstream through plays like Katyar Kaljat Ghusli or though his YouTube
channel where he uploads his music and covers. The best part being that he always explains the
songs he sings or the technicalities that go into singing it. We are lucky to have so much
knowledge out there for free.
Of course the highlight of his channel is his daughter Renuka who tried to sneak into his shoot
every now and then and sometimes comes on the dais to sing too.
He has been surrounded by music which growing up. His grandfather Pt. Vasantrao Deshpande
was a maestro in his art. He was inspired by Pt. Kumar Gandharva, who also was close friends
with his grandfather, and looked up to his style of singing. He would listen to the recordings of
his late grandfather and of Kumar Ji’s to try and reciprocate them. In initial days of his training,
he sought guidance from Ushatai Chipalkatti, and Pt. Kumar Gandharva’s son Mukul Shivputra. He
also learnt under the tutelage of Pt. Gangadharbuva Pimpalkhare and Dr. Madhusudhan
Patwardhan and learnt tabla under Pt. Suresh Samant. But it wasn’t easy at all. He ensured to
give 8 hours of riyaz to build the beautiful voice that he has today. Young Rahul, who was also
pursuing CA at the time, took the advice of the legendary Marathi playwright and humorist Pu La
Deshpande (Shri Purushottam Laxman Deshpande) to pursue his Music full time instead. Thank
god for that!!
I would insist the readers to have a look at Rahul Ji’s YouTube channel which serves us with a
wide variety of genres and different forms of classical music too. He performs everything from
classical ragas to khayal, thumri, dadra, natyageet, bhajan, gazal and bhaavgeet. It’s amazing to
know that he was also influenced by veteran artistes such as Bryan Adams, Madonna, Jon Bon
Jovi and Mariah Carey. Aakhir hai toh wahi saat sur.
The singer also is a fabulous actor. His initial projects included performing in Marathi
Natyasangeet (Musicals). He revived Katyar Kaljyat Ghusli and performed the role of Khansaheb
which used to be performed by his grandfather. This brought him into the limelight. After
performing for more than 10 years, some of the other plays he was a part of include Sangeet
Maan Apmaan, Sangeet Sanshaykallol, and Sangeet Saubhadra.
Not only has he revived classical based plays, but he has also made efforts to make classical
music attractive for the youth. All in all it feels blessed to have singers but more importantly
people like Rahul Ji in our Indian Music scene who have successfully held onto their roots and
only pushed the growth of Indian Classical music, thus inspiring many students of music