Wah! Ustad


People usually think classical music is tranquil, calm and soothing. But that’s not all that is to it. Classical music has different elements,” says Ustad Sujat Hussain Khan, who is in the Capital, to perform on the occasion of 62nd anniversary of India’s independence. He had performed here around 20 years ago, but has been visiting Nepal time and again.

“I was born and brought up in Shimla, so I have this connection with mountains. If you are fond of mountains, you are fond of Nepal,” says Ustad Khan adding that he finds Nepali music, culture and tradition so similar to India that he never feels that he is away from home whenever he is here.

He belongs to the Imdad Khan (his great-grandfather) gharana and his passion and dedication is evident in the way he so masterfully plucks his sitar.

“I got into playing classical music mostly because it ran in the family. I started playing at the very early age of two when I did not even know what I was doing and thought that the small sitar was just another toy,” remembers Khan.

Trained by his father, he was already performing on stage by the time he was six. “I was a normal child and used to go to school and play sports with friends but I practised sitar every night for eight hours,” he shares.

Ustad Khan realised that sitar and classical music was his calling when he was 10, and by the time he was 14, he was travelling the world playing Indian music to audiences of

all origins.

Commenting on Indian classical music going global, he says, “Indian culture is very vast and deep, and it sure is making news everywhere. Be it Indian colour, Indian music or Indian designs — all are just in vogue. And it’s a good time for us. But it’s just a circle — today it’s Indian, tomorrow it will be something else.”

He believes that Indian classical music still makes a big impact.

“Youngsters today are interested in Western music and that is not bad... but out of 100, there will be 10-15 people who will continue to love and learn classical music. It is not a different kind of music. It just needs more research and hard work, and as long as people are learning and enjoying it, the classical music will never die.”

The sitar maestro just cannot say which has been his best performance so far. “Every show is my baby, so I can’t chose one. There are times when I am tired or something just is not right, but at that time too I try to find something enjoyable to make it memorable.” And as a solo artist, he does not have set plans for any performances. He says he usually improvises on stage making for a unique recital each time.

Yes, Ustad Khan’s both performances were unique to say the least.

The Indian Embassy and BP Koirala India-Nepal Foundation had held Ustad Khan’s recital on August 17 at the Regal Ballroom, Yak and Yeti.

The evening was made memorable by the variety Ustad Khan presented. Sometimes the music from his sitar was soothing and calm, while peppy and fast at other times.

The jugalbandi between the sitar and tabala was intriguing and received a huge round of applause.

The August 18 performance at the Tribhuwan Army Officer’s Club, Tundikhel, for the general public was another mesmerising event. The crowd also got the opportunity

to listen to Nepali sitar maestro Dr Dhurbesh Chandra Regmi.