I Greatly Admired Ustad Rashid Khan, Says Anuradha Juju For Her Latest Release “Mitwa”

07 March,2024 04:57 PM IST |  MUMBAI  |  BrandMedia

Ustad Rashid Khan stood out as the pinnacle of excellence in Hindustani classical music.


In the vibrant world of music, collaborations act as pathways for fostering innovation, creativity, and deep artistic interactions. Anuradha Juju, a renowned artist with a passion for blending diverse musical styles, recently unveiled her latest release, "Mitwa," a project that not only showcases her talent but also pays tribute to the late Ustad Rashid Khan, a legendary figure in Hindustani classical music.

In an exclusive interview, Anuradha Juju shares insights into the inspiration behind "Mitwa," the collaborative process with Ustad Rashid Khan, and the creative journey that brought this project to life.

Reflecting on the genesis of "Mitwa," Anuradha Juju shares her lifelong dream of collaborating with revered artists and learning from their expertise. With a deep admiration for Ustad Rashid Khan's unparalleled vocal prowess,

"As an artist, I've always cherished the opportunity to sing alongside those I admire, learning from their expertise. Despite starting my journey later in life, each collaboration done by me is with artist's I greatly admire, Ustad Rashid Khan, who was arguably the world's finest male vocalist in Hindustani classical music. However, with the encouragement of my husband and the interest expressed by music composer Rahul Ranade, this ambitious endeavor materialized. Ustadji graciously approved after hearing my singing.


Together, we crafted a song blending classical and semi-classical styles, showcasing Ustadji's mastery and my own. Elements of Western classical music, orchestrated by Ishan Chhabra, further highlighted his versatility. The heartfelt lyrics beautifully conveyed a tale of love, resulting in a truly unique piece.

Ustadji's untimely passing has added significance to the song, now his final work. It's an honor to have shared this project with him, and I'm committed to ensuring it receives the recognition it deserves. Each collaboration holds a special place in my heart, with this one becoming even more precious in light of recent events. I've had the privilege of performing with talented artists like Suresh Wadkar, Mika Singh, Kumar Sanu, and Shaan, each leaving an indelible mark. Looking ahead, I eagerly anticipate collaborating with individuals who bring something unique and meaningful to my musical journey.", Said Anuradha.

The collaboration began with my search for an exceptional male vocalist, and Ustad Rashid Khan stood out as the pinnacle of excellence in Hindustani classical music. Despite being unable to physically join the production in Mumbai, our series of video calls facilitated the creative process. His agreement to collaborate was profoundly special, and witnessing his joyous approval of the final product was deeply gratifying. Despite his unexpected absence, his enthusiastic response validated our collaboration and highlighted his towering presence in the music world, which I cherish. The song's vocals were recorded in Mumbai and Boston, with my husband as the recording engineer in Boston. Video production is crucial in today's music industry, and I'm deeply involved in creating both music and videos. For this project, I wanted to portray a mature love story, featuring a Kathak dancer and a Hindustani classical vocalist facing challenges in their artistic pursuits. Choosing the right actors was vital, with Rohit Roy embodying the vocalist's character and Aditi Bhagwat perfectly suited for the dancer's role. The video, led by Abhishek Basu and supported by Bappa Lahiri, was meticulously crafted to reflect the storyline's essence. Despite tight schedules, the final product was satisfying, resonating with my personal journey as an artist.

Talking about the immensely captivating music video Anuradha said, "Aditi Bhagwat was the perfect choice for the dancer role in our storyline. Her dedication to classical dance and versatile talents across various styles like Kathak, Bollywood, and more made her an ideal fit. Rohit Roy, recommended by mutual friend Bappa, portrayed the Hindustani male vocalist with spot-on intensity. Collaborating with both Aditi and Rohit was seamless, with their professionalism bringing the storyline to life effortlessly."

Recording the song after the late Ustad Rashid Khan's vocals was a learning experience for me. We aimed for a grand song, fitting for Hindustani Music's stature, leading to the involvement of the grand Budapest Orchestra. Although I wasn't physically present during the music video filming, my extensive involvement ensured seamless integration of various elements. I emphasized highlighting the hand mudras and footwork essential for a Kathak dancer, capturing emotions like love and admiration through close-ups. The video effectively showcased the vocalist's prowess and fan adulation, contributing to its overall beauty, a result I'm pleased with.

Anuradha wanted listeners to honor Ustad Rashid Khan's final work and recognize my efforts in delivering the song. Despite my training in Hindustani classical music, I predominantly perform in Bollywood and semi-classical genres. Preserving his legacy is now our responsibility, and I'll always cherish his praise. The dedication behind producing this song and the Budapest Orchestra's execution should be acknowledged. The love and emotion conveyed through both audio and video are significant. Additionally, I want the audience to understand the depth of the word "Mitwa," symbolizing various forms of love. Love transcends age and stage in life, as depicted in the video where characters fall in love through mutual respect for each other's artistry.

My main challenge was not being physically present with my team. There's a unique energy when we're all together in one place, fostering interaction and sparking new ideas. Despite being miles away, technology allowed me to collaborate on "Mitwa" with great artists like the late Ustad Rashid Khan and the Budapest Orchestra in Budapest, along with another artist in Arizona. Dealing with different time zones like IST and EST was also a challenge, but every member remained professional, and I'm pleased with the progress of the song.

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