According to most legends of Hindustani classical music,an accomplished ustad (master) is always on the lookout for the perfect shagird a pupil who can carry on the legacy and hold the masters wisdom. Somewhere in the 70s,in the sleepy town of Badaun of Uttar Pradesh,Ghulam Mustafa Khan,a noted musician of the Rampur-Sahaswan gharana,noticed his little nephew humming,and realised that he had an extraordinary musical talent.
This little boy was Rashid Khan,the great grandson of the legendary musician Ustad Inayat Hussain Khan. Grueling lessons,arduous training and countless hours of riyaz later,Ustad Rashid Khan still feels that music is a constant learning process. In the city for a long form of Hindustani classical music recital,Khan performed at Ganesh Kala Krida Manch on Sunday along with noted tabla performer and founder of Taal Chakra,Vijay Ghate.
Earlier,musicians had the luxury of performing for longer hours. The artistes and the listeners were of that temperament. We cant do that anymore, says Khan,as he sits comfortably on the stage.
In a story told in several versions,Pandit Bhimsen Joshi had famously told Khan that he was the assurance for the future of Indian vocal music. On Sunday,performing in the trademark Rampur-Sahaswan style of gayaki,the 46-year-old sang in his deep,full-throated voice. His style of elaborating the khayal,his playful taankari and his enthusiasm on the stage kept the crowd enthralled.
Khan is acclaimed for infusing an emotional content into his melodies. This was generally considered to be lacking in the styles of the earlier exponents. The older ustads,being essentially court singers,emphasised on polished technique,skillful execution of difficult passages and the power to astound with their skills and finesse, he explains. He adds that the nawabs and maharajas and their courtiers found these things more interesting. Khayal to them was classical art song and emotional appeal was not an important requisite for this type of music, says Khan.
But after the Independence,especially in the second half of the 20th century,classical music,including khayal,which like the thumri,was the most popular vocal form and was patronised by audiences coming from the middle and upper-middle class segments of society. That is when the khayal became more personal, he says.
Khan,who won the Padma Bhushan award earlier this year,has also made his presence felt in Bollywood through songs such as Aaoge jab tum saajna from Jab We Met,Bhor bhayo from Morning Walk and Allah hi rahem from My Name Is Khan,among others.
Contrary to what most classical musicians say,Khan feels that there should be no lines drawn between works of art,especially music. Be it Bollywood or Hindustani classical music is music, he says firmly. Recently releasing a new album of ghazals called Ishq Lamhe,he is currently busy with its distribution.