Nothing can beat Zakir

Jan 11, 2012, 08:06 IST | Sheena Thomas

Zakir Hussain clearly seems to be in a great mood when CS catches up with him and he has no intentions of letting anyone spoil it

Zakir Hussain clearly seems to be in a great mood when CS catches up with him and he has no intentions of letting anyone spoil it. Not even the poor performance of the Indian cricket team in Australia. So before we can shoot any questions, he hands out a disclaimer that we can't ask him any hard questions, especially stuff like why India fares badly overseas. Like always, music is something that he can't tire of talking about. Zakir, who just performed with Pandit Shivkumar at a spiritual concert yesterday, chats with CS:

Who: Zakir Hussain
What: Talking about creating magic on stage

When time stood still
Performing with Pandit Shivkumar Sharma is always special. I remember, we once had to perform in Rangbhavan, and the time given to us was 20 minutes. But magic happened when we started playing. We ended up playing for two hours, and even the audience lost track of time. It truly was as though time stood still, and that's what we titled our album when we immortalised that performance. 

It's magic
For me, music is sacred, but that idea isn't something that I would impose on my audience. As an artist, my first job is to entertain, because the crowds are there to have a good time. Having said that, during a performance, it is possible that I'll have five minutes when some magic happens. But you also have concerts when it doesn't and you want to get off stage as quickly as possible. It's like Sachin going out to bat and getting out on zero. On such days, I try to resort to the tried and tested stuff that'll get the audience clapping. But deep inside, it's quite tiring. However, another way to look at it is to accept that struggle as a challenge, and for me, a challenge is always exciting.

Oh my god!
It always helps to be focussed when you're going on stage. Very often, I like to go with a blank mind because I want to see the faces in the audience and connect with them. For me, the stage is the best place to be, which is why music is not a chore for me. Not to say, that I practise everyday. Days go by before I can get my hands on the tabla. But that telepathic connection is always there because music is sacred for me. I'm a religious person, but I belong to the multi-layered variety. I was born a Muslim, I play an instrument that has its roots in Hinduism, I'm married to a Catholic and my two daughters are baptised. I think I'm the best example to cite when there are religious divisions. I don't believe in following a set of rules to draw closer to God. Religion to me is much more action-based than that.

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