The Week, August 2013
I saw Mr. Sunil Dutt for the first time in the film ‘Mother India’. He gave the epic performance as Nargis’s son and eventually got married to her in real life. I remember very regularly that he and Nargis with so many other artists use to go to remote places to entertain the Army Jawans especially in the North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA). I have been a great admirer of Dutt Saheb and Nargis. What a beauty! I met her only once in New Delhi where she was coming out of Cottage Emporium located in Janpath, I held the door for her. What a personality! She was wearing a white sari. I venerated her work right from the fifties. Nargis’s mother, Jaddan Bai, was a great singer and an artist par excellence. There several are old recordings of her singing.

I was invited to give a musical tribute by Mr. Sunil Dutt on the occasion of centenary celebrations of Satyagrah of Mahatma Gandhiji (2006). Though the co-ordination took few months, finally a representative of Dutt Saheb came and apologized and conveyed that ‘Dutt Saheb was planning to offer you half an hour to perform but now he can only give fifteen minutes; therefore he is embarrassed to invite you for fifteen minutes only’. I told the messenger that the celebration is to pay respect and remember Mahatma Gandhi, so I feel highly honoured to offer my Sarod rectal even if it’s for five minutes. It was a very memorable concert that took place at Sabarmati Ashram Early morning at 5.30am. I saw and meet all the young and old Congress Party members including the gracious Sonia Gandhi. After my concert Sunil Duttji met me very warmly as always and again apologized for the duration of the concert. May his soul rest in peace! After the concert I visited Gandhiji’s Samadhi and offered flowers. Mr. Ahmed Patel (General Secretary of Indian National Congress) on behalf of the Congress Party was also involved with the planning of the event. I feel sad to have seen Sanjay Dutt suffer so much right from his early years. He has been a very talented actor and has carried forward his parent’s legacy to great heights creatively. What he delivered in films like Munnabhai and Vastav have truly been remarkable. We are all praying for Sanjay Dutt’s early release so that he can continue to give his best to the world and be there alongside his family.

I am very happy to know that The Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts is celebrating its silver jubilee. IGNCA, was established in memory of our late Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi. This center carries forth her views on art and culture which projects creativity as critical to human evolution. The Center views art holistically and includes a whole range of artistic fields, including literature, multimedia, theater, crafts, music, dance and painting. The Center hopes emphasize the need to utilize the arts to invoke human evolution, both in India and abroad.

Kapila Vatsayan, founder director and chairperson of IGNCA is an epitome of knowledge and grace. She is a scholar of classical Indian dance, Indian art and Indian architecture and art historian. She received blessings from Legendary Achchan Maharaj, Fayyaz Khan Saheb, Abdul Kareem Khan Saheb and Kesar Bai Kerkar who were all Strong Pillars of Classical Music. Her contributions to the Nation, especially in the field of Art and Culture will always be remembered.

I am also happy to see that The India Habitat Center in New Delhi has completed 15 years of programming. I have always admired their methods of presenting concerts. This institution has become an iconic landmark of the city and is representative of the pulse and beat of the spirit of the nation. I hope that it continues to flourish as it is and remains a center-point for the meeting of minds and artists.

Amjad Ali Khan