Warm, charming and down-to-earth are words that best describe Begum Parween Sultana. The 61-year-old Assamese Hindustani classical singer known for her soulful renditions of khayal is all set to perform at a musical concert on December 1 at Nehru Centre Worli. Married to Sangeet Martand Ustad Dilshad Khan, Parween talks to CS about the upcoming concert and being wedded to music:

Who: Begum Parween Sultana
What: Talking about her upcoming concert
Where: At her residence in Kandivali

Concert craze
I am really looking forward to this concert, as it has some talented artists like Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Pandit Jasraj, Shrinivas Joshi performing in it.  Moreover, late Pandit CR Vyas, who initiated this classical music event, was like an uncle figure to my husband, Dilshad and me. I feel that classical music is simply divine. It has the power to heal your soul. As an artist, it's my responsibility to give 100 per cent at a concert, and I will look at doing the same here. I haven't zeroed down on the ragas or khayals that I will do only after gauging the audience's pulse at the event (smiles).

Married to music
Well, it's a blessing to be married to someone like Ustad Dilshad Khan. Initially, we shared a teacher- student relationship that later blossomed into a romantic one.  While training under him, I understood that he was the perfect 'mental match' for me. Even now, he is a very strict guru in our music room, who wants no interruptions during riyaaz. But I'm the boss at home (laughs out loud). After my father Ikramul Mazid, he has been my biggest support. It is not easy for a married woman with a child to actively pursue a career in music world, where you have to train and travel constantly. But my husband has never complained about anything. He is my best friend. We have been together for 36 years, which is no mean feat in today's world (laughs out loud).

Assam connect
Like every Assamese, I too was deeply saddened by the death of Bhupen Hazarika. He was like a father figure to me, and a source of great inspiration. When I was growing up in Assam, the state was a neglected one. I remember travelling to Kolkata every now and then for my music lessons. But I must tell you that people from the North East love music. There is a lot of folk music and western classical music in places like Meghalaya and Mizoram. The choirs of Shillong are also very famous, as are some of the rock bands. So you see, music is an inseparable part of our lives.