Ravi Shankar was a miracle man: Amjad Ali Khan
Ustad Amjad Ali Khan fondly called late Pandit Ravi Shankar 'Dada', an elder brother. The sarod maestro is saddened by Ravi Shankar's death and says he was a miracle man filled with humility and grace.
"So 12.12.12 has done its damage! And what a loss! I just landed in Mumbai for the release of my book on my father and I heard this tragic news. Another great classical musician Pandit Manas Chakraborty also passed away on 12.12.12. Both were from Bengal," said Khan.
"I used to affectionately call Pandit Ravi Shankar 'Dada', an elder brother. He was like my Guru Bhai. My wife Subhalakshmi and Panditji's wife Sukanya are great friends. Sukanya calls my wife 'Akka', an elder sister," Amjad said.
"We attended numerous music festivals together. If the sitar is today regarded so highly, it is because of Pandit Ravi Shankar. His name is synonymous with the sitar," he added.
Pandit Ravi Shankar passed away Tuesday in the US. He was 92.
Recalling his association with Ravi Shankar, Amjad Ali Khan said: "Panditji's first guru Ustad Allauddin Khan and my guru Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan sahab were 'guru bhai'. Both the Gurus learnt from the same guru from Rampur. They both hailed from the Senia Gharana. So, Panditji and I were musically related. On a personal level, we were constantly in touch."
"I've been to his house in the US and India. And he has been to our home many times. When some years ago I was performing with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Panditji came and sat in the audience to watch the concert and after the performance he waited outside the green-room to meet me. He possessed all the qualities of a great artiste, including humility and grace," he added.
Amjad calls Ravi Shankar a miracle man and says his name has become synonymous with sitar.
"I had performed at the concert for his 75th birthday in Los Angeles. In Varanasi, he used to host a music festival every year. Panditji was a miracle man. God was really kind to him. He achieved all that he desired to achieve in life. Panditji took Indian classical music to the West," said Amjad.
"The Beatles played a very important part in his life and music. I think he is the only Indian musician who was known all over the Western hemisphere. The minute one hears the word 'sitar', the name Pandit Ravi Shankar comes to mind," he added.
Amjad Ali Khan credits Ravi Shankar's wife Sukanya for his success and is confident that their daughter Anoushka will take the legacy forward.
"I credit his wife Sukanya for his success. She took really good care of him. I am sure their daughter Anoushka will carry her father's legacy forward. We're very fortunate that we have 10-12 very talented young sitar players to carry Pandit Ravi Shankar's legacy forward, like Shahid Parvez, Niladri Kumar etc. And, of course, Anoushka," he said.
"The future of sitar is ensured. The tradition of classical music of Miyan Tansen and Swami Haridas will continue. But masters like Pandit Ravi Shankar would never be born again. Khuda kare unki punjee ko bachche hifaazat se rakhen(May God keep the legacy safe and secure)."