Ustad Rashid Khan needs no introduction. The torchbearer of the Rampur- Sahaswan Gharana, this classical singer has made waves since his debut in the late 70s. The vocalist is currently in town for the Rain Raga concert to be held on August 11 at the Nehru Centre. "I find it boring to give long interviews to journos. I get bored after ten minutes," says the moody artist. But when CS asks him about his favourite raag Malhar, the musician opens up for a freewheeling conversation. Read on:
Who: Ustad Rashid Khan
What: Talking about his favourite raag Malhar
Where: At a hotel in Santacruz
On a rainy day
It's no fun singing raag Malhar in the summers or winters. You can soak in the spirit of this raag only in the monsoons. My favourite versions of the raag are Megh Malhar, Miya Malhar and Sur Malhar. You see, the rainy season is a special one. There is so much natural beauty all around. As you drive down the highway in the rains, listening to some melodious songs, you feel the essence of good music in a totally different manner. That's why our ancestors composed different raags for different seasons.
I was once in Jamshedpur performing at a summer concert. It was the typical hot weather of the Bihar-Jharkhand belt. A section of the audience requested me to sing raag Malhar. I was a little hesitant but later relented. You won't believe it, but it started raining in an hour. The rains came in full force along with strong winds. The organisers had to erect a shamiana for the concert to continue. The people were thrilled and so was I. It was a true Tansen-like experience, though I will never have the audacity to compare myself to the legend.
In some ways, I might represent the typical classical artist. People have rarely heard me sing filmy songs, though I quite like them. I also like to sing in beautiful surroundings, a la Nawabi style. There should be flowers, diyas/lamps and of course lots of paan. I simply can't live without paan (betel-leaf). I carry my paan, chuna and kattha with me, wherever I go. A paan is a must before a concert. Also, when I see the audience walking about or chatting during a concert, it irritates me no end. I just feel like walking off. But you'll never see me dressed traditionally off stage. It's always denims and tees. I feel that the traditional outfits look great only in live performances.