PUSHKAR LELE, 32, Classical singer
“It’s difficult to stand out without the backing of a guru or godfather but I have achieved that,” says Pushkar Lele, a Hindustani classical singer, composer and founder-director of the Gandhaar School of Music. Coming from a family of engineers, Lele completed his electronics engineering degree from the Maharashtra Institute of Technology before giving up his career to pursue singing as a profession in 2000. “I didn’t want to be a run-of-the-mill engineer,” he says, “It was a tumultuous time in my life when I decided to take up music as a full time career against the advice of many.” Lele has won several awards for his music including a Central Government-sponsored CCRT scholarship and the recent Pandit Jitendra Abhisheki Smriti Yuva Puraskar. He curates concerts such as Mala Umajalele Vasantrao, a production on Vasantrao Deshpande’s gayaki and pravahee. For this he collaborated with Kathak dancers to understand the changing facets of music and dance in India. In May 2011, Lele performed Kumar Gandharva’s compositions at a specially designed production that premiered in Sydney and later travelled to Bijapur, New Delhi, Bhopal, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune.
THE JOURNEY Lele was in kindergarten when his aunt gifted him a toy harmonium on which he would play the national anthem and other nursery rhymes. His mother signed him up for music classes and Lele gave his debut performance when he was just seven. Soon after, he started learning classical music from Pandit Gangadharbua Pimpalkhare, and then later when he chanced upon Mukkam Vashi, a transcription of Kumar Gandharva’s residential workshop he was drawn to music again.
“He is a good performer and a promising artist with a very bright future”
PADMAKAR KULKARNI, MUSICIAN
“Being a musician is a never-ending evolution. I want to enjoy that journey.”