Well known actor Madhuri Dixit Nene was in town recently for the launch of a tea brand along with sitar maestro Niladri Kumar. Madhuri, who made her debut in Bollywood in the 1980s, went on to star in several hit films till 2002, when she took a sabbatical to devote time to her family. Winner of six Filmfare Awards, she holds the record for the highest number of nominations in the best actress category. Awarded a Padma Shri in 2008, she has been gradually getting back to showbiz through the ad and television route, and in her latest Bollywood outing, “Gulaab Gang”, added a feather to her cap by singing playback as well. In an interview with Friday Review she talks about her love for singing and various other classical art forms.

Excerpts:

What is your connection with classical music?

I have been exposed to classical music ever since I was small; it’s in my blood. I have grown up listening to it because my mother was a trained Hindustani vocalist. Also, I perform Kathak, which is rendered to thumri and many classical songs. I think that is why I’m so connected and appreciative of classical music.

Do you feel classical music has lost its link with the present generation?

I think the advent of Westernisation had its effect, but we still need to keep our identity intact. We have to keep our culture in place and classical music is a part of it. The link has to happen at every level though there’s still a connection at the senior level. To connect with the youth, they themselves should come forward and create the awareness. That is where we have youngsters like Niladri who make it more interesting for the youth.

How do you relate dance, music and fitness?

I have tried to relate them through my portal. It is called dancewithmadhuri.com where I teach dancing online, and in that we have dancerxercise in which I have taken dance and exercise and combined the two. Dance is something everybody enjoys doing, exercise becomes boring but when you dance on the music numbers and movements, it becomes like a cardio workout.

What elements of classical music enchant you?

I think the notes, the ragas, the instruments…it’s like when I give a Kathak performance, just the beat of the ghunghroo, the sound of harmonium, the playing of the tabla and every other element creates a kind of atmosphere that one goes completely into it.

What part does music play in your daily life?

I do my riyaaz even when I’m not working and because of my mother there’s music in the house every day as she sings with a tanpura. As a child we used to go to musical mehfils. I wanted my children to know our music and they are learning tabla from a guruji who comes twice a week.