Sitarist Shujaat Khan, who will perform at the World Sacred Spirit Festival in Jodhpur this weekend, can’t help but be a little delighted by the arrogance of classical music.
(Photo: Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images)
Q What are the features of the Imdadkhani gharana?
The gharana was named after my great-grandfather. The way we know sitar today has been mostly established by my father, Ustad Vilayat Khan. He introduced the gayaki ang, or the vocal style. We keep the melodic aspect very high, even though we are playing an instrument.
Q. Which are some of your favourite ragas and why?
It is difficult to say.
Q. What are some of your fond memories with your father?
My fondest memories with my father are of us travelling together. He was very observant, even of little things. These things often seep into your music when you’re in concert. He also had a sharp wit.
Q. Do you feel that Indian classical music is doing well?
Oh, yes! It always has. I played recently in Delhi for an audience of 3,000. People who enjoy the purity of classical music, understand the pleasure that comes with it. Classical music is never going to come to you. You have to go to it. I love that arrogance it has.
Q. If not a musician or a sitar player, what would you be?
Oh, God! Very often I look at my competence in any other field and I thank God that I’m here. I don’t think I would have done very well anywhere else. I enjoy travelling, spending time with my family and friends, watching TV all day and just being lazy, but when I sit down to work, I feel this is what I was meant to do.