Letting the music play

By Samyukta Maindarkar | TNN

New Delhi: The musical prowess of the likes of Abhijeet Sawant and Sanjaya Malakar seems to be playing a larger than life role in DU. Or so teachers and students of the university’s department of music claim.

The varsity has been receiving an increasingly large number of applications for its music courses for the past few years and there is a definite change in the profile of students who are queuing up to learn their “sa re ga ma”. Applicants earlier came largely from the lower socioeconomic strata many of whom were often low-scorers who were unlikely to get though in any other course yet wanted the DU tag. That has changed. Studying music is now an “upper class” thing and many are doing it by choice, thanks to the lure of winning reality shows which have shown that even an ordinary “talent” can become an idol in very little time.

“The media has definitely increased interest in music,” says Gita Paintal, dean and head of the music and fine arts department, DU. “Because today, it is more for the fame than for anything else. Everyone wants to be a star.”

Reality music shows like Fame Gurukul, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, Channel V’s Super Singer, and of course Indian Idol, modelled after American Idol, have seen participation in millions, and cater to a large audience. And they are getting usually unrelenting parents to see reason too.

Students who have studied music from DU appreciate the recognition their courses are getting. Says Nidhi Jaiswal, who is doing her M Phil from the university, “Music is finally getting a status now, it is being recognised as something new and different as a career.” | toireporter@timesgroup.com

*Originally printed in The Times of India’s Delhi edition on June 7, 2007, in the Times City section