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Khan saab & I Part iii (Day 1272)

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As we are chatting more people walk in and join the session, they appear interested in music because when Khan saab to explain a point breaks into an alaap there is a smile on everyone’s face. He says he started learning when he was only four or five years old and was put on the stage for his first solo performance when he was only 12 years old. His father Ustaad Haafiz Ali Khan was also his guru and he learnt to submit to his father and guru as a little child.


“Many times parents of young musicians ask me if their children will make a name for themselves, now this is an impossible question to answer because how can one determine who fortune will favour. Today, the musicians are after success whilst all we hankered for was approval from our gurus. Their ‘Shabash’ was our award. Today, the guru shishya parampara is not what it used to be.  They want to ape the gurus and expect instant success but that’s not how it happens.


“I say this at all my seminars that classical music is not for the greedy and the impatient. You need years of practice and dedication to become a credible musician and there is no guarantee that no matter how good you are, you will be successful”.


To be continued

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Khan saab & I Part ii (Day 1271)

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Venue: Kala Ghoda Arts Festival. My conversation with the maestro continues…


Few people know that Amjad Ali Khan’s family gets its music lineage from Miyan Tansen, the maestro has never talked about it. He says that the future of Indian classical music will always be bright because we are fortunate to have had strong pillars of music as in Swami Haridas, Swami Purandara Das, Swami Mutthuswami Dikshitar, Syama Shastri, Swami Thyagraja, Swathi Thirunal and the Baiju Bawra of our country.

“Indian classical music has always been and continues to be an integral part of our identity. It does not belong only to the world of entertainment, music is in fact a way of life, it is based on surrender, on faith, on spirituality and most important on discipline, which is the reason why the guru shishya parampara is a part of our culture.

It is impossible to learn music without first submitting to your guru. The Amighty comes after the guru because it will be the guru who will lead you through the dark tunnel and make you see the sunlight at the end of your training”.


To be continued

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Khan saab & I Part i (Day 1271)

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It is my privilege that I was asked to interview sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival. We were asked to assemble at the David Sasoon School at 530 pm and as expected Khan Saab was present before time. After a brief chat over lemon tea in the adjoining room we were escorted to the Garden decorated with art and fairy lights.

kg close 3Amjad Ali Khan began talking about music and emphasized that India is the only country in the world which has two traditions of classical musc- those of South or Carnatic and of North or Hindustani. The basis of all music in the world is the same seven notes- Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni in Indian classical music and Do Re Me Fa So La Ti in Western classical.


And the beauty of music is that it connects the whole world, it does not belong to any one race or religion.


To be continued

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Happy Birthday Abhishek (Day 1270)

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I met Abhishek for the first time when he was literally knee high. He was playing with his friends in the garden of Pratiksha, their bungalow in Juhu when I entered the house with his mother, Jaya Bachchan. Abhishek spotted us and came running to meet his mother and then looking at me shyly folded his hands into a polite Namaste.

A year later, I met him again when we were shooting a family picture for the magazine I then edited. The shoot was conducted at their home and the photographer and I both that out of the four members Abhishek was the most self-conscious in front of the camera.

When Amitabh Bachchan’s company, ABCL at that time went through a rough time, Abhishek took the decision to opt out of college and assist his father in production. The film was Major Saab and we got to spend a lot of time chatting at the location shooting in Bangalore.

Soon he was launched by J P Dutta in Refuge and in the years to come did all genres of films. A decade later he got married, became a father and continued to   do films.

Today Abhishek has expanded his canvas beyond cinema and is the proud owner of Kabbaddi and Football teams.

The beauty about Abhishek is that after all these years and so many films, he is still the little boy I met in the 90s and even today wherever he meets me, he folds his hands into a Namaste and becomes a little boy again.



Maestro Amjad Ali Khan (Day 1269)

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Amjad Ali Khan is one of the undisputed masters of the music world. Born to maestro Haafiz Ali Khan, he gave his first performance at the age of six and is credited with reinventing the technique of playing Sarod.


Over the course of a distinguished career spanning more than six decades, he has won numerous accolades including a Grammy nomination and three Padma awards. He has performed all over the globe with the best of artistes and remains as passionate about music as when he started as a little boy.

IMG-3809Many books have been written on Amjad Ali Khan but in the latest published by Penguin Master on Masters Amjad Ali Khan talks about the influences on his life.





Chaudvin Ka Chand (Day 1268)

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Today the graceful Waheeda Rehman of the Black and White and color movies turns 80. In an interview to me she said her generation of artists was not exposed to advanced technology and only relied on their instincts. “We worked at a slower pace and prided in our spontaneity.  “In those days it was unthinkable for a director to start a new scene on the same day. It was always a new mood and a new scene on the following day. Today so many disconnected scenes are shot on the same day and competently so. The post-production happens simultaneously at different places in different stages but this hasn’t diffused the magic of cinema which is wonderful. I feel we are making great films today and have terrific actors and technicians. I feel proud to be a part of Indian cinema that has completed more than 100 years and it is indeed a privilege to be born as an artist and lived such an enriching life.”

wr 2 @bhawanasomaaya