Classical music is popular but needs backing: Rashid Khan

Ustad Rashid Khan, the renowned Hindustani Classical music maestro, who has recently been awarded the Padmabhushan, will be performing in a three-hour long Classical concert in the city over the weekend. The GUIDE caught up with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award winner and he shared his views about Classical music today and the younger lot of musicians. Excerpts from the interview:

Padmabhushan Ustad Rashid Khan

Can you tell us about your upcoming concert which will have a three-hour continuous Classical performance?
For the first time, such a concert is happening in Pune. I am really looking forward to it. Though I have not yet decided on what I will be presenting it will definitely go with the taste and interest of the audience here. We really need to have such classical concerts more often.

At present, in our country, what is the state of Classical music?
As an artist, all I know is to perform. There are crores of people who love Classical music. But it definitely needs some quality support. As a reality check, the media and government should work more to offer recognition to Classical music and the artistes.

Following superhits like Poore Se Zara Sa Kam Hai (Mausam), Aaoge jab tum (Jab We Met) and Allah Hi Rahem (My Name Is Khan); why
don’t we get to hear you more often in Bollywood?

I like to sing for Hindi films. But I choose to do it only if I get approached by good composers. My only criterion is that the song I am singing should comprise of sangeet, raag and sur. I won’t be able to do anything apart from Classical music; this is what I live for after all.

I have worked with the younger lot of music composers in Bollywood like Pritam, Sandesh Shandilya, Salim-Sulaiman and Aadesh Shrivastava. They are talented. So, even with the younger lot of musicians, I don’t mind working if I get to sing my kind of songs.

Have yesteryear’s Classical music legends been sidelined in the game of name and fame in the industry?
It is true to a certain extent that proper recognition has not been given to many artistes who are worth it. We artistes have been performing for several years. If people were better aware of the efforts in the field of Classical music, there would be much better work produced.

Unfortunately the government is not aware of the state of the long-forgotten musicians. Out of whatever we earn, 40% gets deducted for tax. There were great artistes who have struggled all through their life, lived for the music but nobody comes to place a flower on their grave! Unfortunately, our government is run by politicians who are corrupt and greedy. What recognition can we expect from such leaders? We are in dire need to preserve our music and our culture which is definitely the best in the world.

What would you advise aspiring musicians who want to make a mark in the music industry?
Riyaz (practice) has no other substitute. But they should also remember that daily 3-5 hours of correct ‘riyaz’ is much valuable than 10-hour long practice. You should be able to incorporate your heart and soul in the work you do. Try to innovate something new even from a normal bandish or raag. Make your song beautiful; proper training is vital for that.

Today’s singers like Sonu Nigaam and Hariharan are well trained and understand music, hence they are well-received. Make a mark as the legends like Ustad Ghulam Ali Khan, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar Khan and Ustad Vilayat Khan did. A successful musician is someone who will be remembered forever.

On June 9, 6 pm onwards
At Ganesh Kala Krida Manch, Swargate.
Call 24447712 

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