Talat Aziz. (Image by Arrangement)
HYDERABAD: "I have adapted to changes to stay relevant for four decades," says ghazal maestro Talat Aziz, who was in Hyderabad recently. He shares vivid memories of Hyderabad and gives glimpses of his future plans.
Memories of Hyderabad.
The Hyderabad I left is no longer there. But the food, the culture, the atmosphere, the temperament of old Hyderabadis, are still the same. I’m an old Hyderabadi. But I’ve changed because I spent most of my life in Mumbai. Professionally, I’ve become very different. I cannot function like a Hyderabadi there. Hyderabad is laid back, relaxed.
There was a phase in late eighties and early nineties when there was a craze for Ghazals and Ghazal albums sold like hot cakes. You were a part of that time, along with the likes of Pankaj Udhas and Jagjit Singh. Then it shifted to music videos and remixes.
What do you think led to this change?
I came after Jagjit Singh and then it was Pankaj. I was the first one to make a music video in ’87. See, change is constant. So, one has to keep on changing and adapting and being relevant. When I had a concert in Pune the other day, a lot of people remarked that they had seen the first Ghazal rock concert. A lot of people posted clips of the concert on social media; you will see the interaction between the crowd and the audience. It’s very warm. I’ve done acting roles and web series and web movies. I have to manage my singing concerts too. I also teach music. I have 75 students from all over the world for the last three years; I teach online.
You’ve adapted to stay relevant
Yeah. Tell me, in which profession is anybody relevant in 43 years? There is a very famous saying that any species which doesn’t want to become extinct has to adapt — that’s the law of nature. If you do not adapt, you’re out! Every time I sing, people start clapping. So I’ve adapted to that also. In ‘Kaise Sukoon Paon’, we do a little rhythm take and then people start clapping like in a rock concert. So, we have a rock ghazal now.
Between singing and acting, which one satisfies your inner self the most?
When you’re singing, you get an instant reaction from the audience. So, the feedback is instant. But when you act, the feedback comes after it’s released.
Of all your albums, which is your personal favourite?
It’s difficult to say. Umrao Jaan, Bazaar, Daddy, Kaise Sukoon Paon, Aaj Jaane Ki Zid na Karo and a lot of others are standard.
Your upcoming projects...
I’m leaving for the US on a tour. I have shows in Houston, Dallas, New Jersey, New York. Once I return, I’ve got a major project, which I have to work on, which I cannot reveal as of now. It is a very big project. It will be something on Ghazal, but not singing only. I will be going to Australia and New Zealand in February, to Singapore in March. After that I have my concert here. Then there are my classes. I am playing Hrithik’s father in the film Fighter. I get a lot of offers, but I only select ones which I like.