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Sunday Long Reads: Sale of Ustad Asad Ali Khan’s rudra veena, Anurag Kashyap’s dark phase, Babil Khan’s debut, and more

Check out this week's interesting reads!

Ustad Asad Ali Khan, Ustad Asad Ali Khan’s rudra veena, sale of Ustad Asad Ali Khan rudra veena, Ali Zaki Hader, Renuka George documentary 'Ustad Asad Ali Khan – A Portrait', eye 2022, sunday eye, indian express newsAli Zaki Hader with Ustad Asad Ali Khan at their Asiad Village home. (Courtesy: Ustad Asad Ali Khan family)

The Distress Sale of Ustad Asad Ali Khan’s rudra veena and the story of a lost legacy

When not travelling for concerts, Ustad Asad Ali Khan’s rudra veena would be carefully placed on one side of his queen-sized bed in his Asiad Village home in the Capital. In 2010, when filmmaker Renuka George was making a documentary, Ustad Asad Ali Khan – A Portrait, she was intrigued. In jest, she asked him, “Khan sahab, why does your veena sleep on the bed next to you?” He earnestly replied, “When I sleep on the bed, how can my veena be on the floor.” George recalls this conversation as a striking example of the musician’s devotion to his instrument.

Khan’s son Ali Zaki Hader remembers his father’s fastidiousness differently. Besides transporting it with utmost care for concerts, Khan was also particular about the veena while he accepted stage honours, got photographed or made speeches. He’d make sure that Hader did not move away from the veena. “I had to wait upon the instrument till he returned. No one was allowed to touch it. I had to guard it with my life,” says Hader, 45.

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Anurag Kashyap on his dark phase: ‘I imploded, went off Twitter, went into rehab thrice’

Anurag Kashyap speaks about the inspiration for his new film, moving away from gangster-giri, and emerging from a long funk. (Photo copyright: @FIFM2022)

It’s a bright November morning, and the 19th edition of the Marrakech International Film Festival, in full swing after a two-year lockdown-enforced lull, is swarming with local and international visitors. Anurag Kashyap, a regular at the festival which loves all things Bollywood, is delighted to be back. The world premiere of his new film, Almost Love With DJ Mohabbat, at the open air giant screen at the Jemaa El Fna square, was packed; the director, along with his young cast, Alaya F and Karan Mehta, can’t stop smiling.

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Babil Khan: ‘Baba would have been happy watching Qala… and would’ve then said, let’s get back to work’

Babil Khan is actor Irrfan Khan and Sutapa Sikdar’s son.

Babil Khan had to undergo an intense and immersive process to essay the role of a young vocalist in Anvita Dutt-directed Qala, set in pre-Independence India, that is scheduled to release on Netflix on December 1. After the initial readings, he was not allowed to go through changes to the script. Instead, nudged by Dutt, Khan tried to remember details of his character Jagan, use his imagination, and borrow from his own life to build the character.

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‘I am not looking for a subject or object, they are looking for me’: Paresh Maity

Paresh Maity (Express Photo By Amit Mehra)

Known for a visual vocabulary that spans multiple mediums, in a career of over four decades, artist Paresh Maity, 58, has addressed numerous themes and brought to life cities from across the globe. In his biggest exhibition that travels across four cities (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru) over five months, he is showing over 450 works that combine paintings, large scale installations, sculptures and soundscapes. The Delhi-based artist on experimenting with mediums and what it is like to belong to a family of painters.

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Saluting Salim Ali, who would have been 127 this November

The baya-weaver is a notorious serial polygamist (Credit: Ranjit Lal)

I often wonder what Salim Ali – who would have been 127 years old this November would have thought of the birding scene (and birders) in India today. Sure, he would have been excited by all the technological advances: in his time, he trundled all over the country in bullock carts or on foot (probably the best way to bird-watch); armed usually with field-glasses and an air-gun with which he would collect specimens. These days, birders drive around in powerful 4 wheel-drive SUVs and use highly sophisticated DSLRs (Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras), armed with razor-sharp telephoto lenses as large as bazookas. GPS, laptops and, of course, the internet have made the job of identifying species so much easier – though I do suspect he would have still preferred to have a specimen in his hand (dead or alive!) which he could examine and describe.

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How to celebrate life and seek new adventures

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It is my hope to embrace every second of my life, without fear, with dignity and grace. (Credit: Suvir Saran)

I will turn 50 on November 29, a day that comes with a gravitas I have been waiting to grasp and make mine. Fifty is a milestone in any life. It is also that time in one’s life when we must appreciate the party that is about to begin — a celebration of life and living, loving and sharing, caring and nurturing, mentoring and learning. I look at the numeric age as just a number; age is for wine, not people. You are what you feel, see, think, and grasp.

Having waited for this day forever, I don’t find myself asking the question that many seem to ponder about: “Where has time gone?” Nor do I wonder what I would redo in my life. Instead, I find myself being thankful. It has me thinking hard about the whys and whats of my life.

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First published on: 27-11-2022 at 13:21 IST
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