Amjad Ali Khan was just six-years-old when he gave his first performance. It took decades for him to achieve the moniker of ‘Sarod Maestro’ and the ustad says one cannot achieve instant fame in classical music.
Khan says performing classical music is akin to entering a dark tunnel, with the hope of a sun-ray sometime in the future.
“We live in an ‘instant’ time where everybody wants to become superstars within a short time. It is not possible, there is no shortcut in classical music. It is only hardwork, struggle and dedication. Classical music is not just my profession but my passion, it is a way of life,” Khan told.
“It is like entering a dark tunnel with the hope of sun-ray, someday. In our field, planning is not allowed. But young people want to know what will happen after 5 years (in the career). We were only allowed to surrender to music,” he adds.
After performing at the age of six in his home town Gwalior, Khan says his “actual journey” began when he was a 12-year-old and “every town, city and state of India nurtured me and made me who I am today. It takes that much dedication.”
Khan says, contrary to perception, classical music is not dying and is here to stay as it is deeply connected with traditions.
“The future is very bright, there is no question of classical music dying. It is deep rooted in us. Classical and folk music are our identity. There will always be some change, like how people are doing fusion, collaborations. It’s healthy.”
Khan has now penned his latest book, ‘Master on Masters’ in which he has payed tribute to the greatest icons of Indian classical music.
“In the fraternity of classical music, one only writes on your guru or father. People sometimes say that classical music is dying but they don’t know the people who are responsible for the honour and popularity of classical music. I have written about all of them,” he says.
The book chronicles the lives and times of some of the greatest icons of Indian classical music.
Twelve eminent musicians of the twentieth century that are featured in the book are: Bade Ghulam AliKhan, Amir Khan, Begum Akhtar, Alla Rakha, Kesarbai Kerkar, Kumar Gandharva, MS Subbulakshmi, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Bismillah Khan, Ravi Shankar, Vilayat Khan and Kishan Maharaj.