MJ Tribute
I am really shocked and deeply sad to hear that the pop star and heart throb of the whole world, Michael Jackson died. It is really unbelievable. On CNN, Larry King is conducting interviews of celebrities of the music and film world, and also showing the family friends like Elizabeth Taylor. I am a great fan and admirer of the legendary Michael Jackson. All this time I was hoping to meet him some day some where. Some time back, I heard Michael was spending time in Bahrain. The King of Bahrain is very fond of music, and Michael was recording in this studio. I believe the King has built a beautiful studio in Bahrain. I feel sad to mention that in the year 1984, Michael’s friend approached me after my concert in Los Angeles and requested me to postpone my return to India for another week. In fact I was dying to be back home as I was missing my family. I was travelling for two months all over in the US. The friend wanted Michael Jackson to listen to my Sarod. I politely told him the reason of not accepting the concert at his residence. I feel sadder to realize that I lost out interacting and to meeting the king of pop. God had gifted him with extra sense of rhythm and grace in his dance and music. Seeing Michael Jackson’s dances through many of his music videos, I often felt as if the rhythm is moving with grace and beauty.

In our country especially in Bollywood, most of the choreographers blindly followed, and borrowed dancing techniques from Michael Jackson for the Indian movies. Many actors from the film and entertainment world were inspired by this icon. It was a very rare combination of two different art forms, dance and singing. We have many artists who manage only in one art form beautifully. How the world has changed? Today the expectation of the world is multidimensional musicians or dancers. Earlier I used to admire Elvis Presley. What showmanship he had! with similar kind of approach to music and dance. While I was in the state of Tennessee, I visited the museum of Elvis Presley. I was amazed to see the cars and clothes Elvis used. The museum in Memphis has really beautifully preserved and maintained. I am sure Michael Jackson must have admired Elvis Presley and also liked his showmanship. I salute to the dedication, commitment and professionalism of Michael Jackson. It was indeed sad to see him always surrounded by a chain of controversies. As they say, ‘men love to see heroes rise but enjoy to see them fall.’ The period for an artist after fifty is indeed the peak years of their life as here the approach and imagination of most artists takes a turn that incorporates their lives journeys, feelings and experiences. Almighty though had other plans for this sensation.

How to become Michael Jackson? This question will always be there for every dancer or singer of the world. I was told by his friend that Michael had good feelings for India and Indian classical music. He also used to have photographs of gods and goddesses of Hindu mythology. He was a very kind, generous and compassionate person. I am sure the world will always miss him. My whole family will also miss the presence of Michael Jackson in this creative world. May his soul rest in Peace!

In our country, we had great classical dancers like Bala Saraswathy, Rukmini Arundale, Sitara Devi, Roshan Kumari, Gopi Krishna, Birju Maharaj, Yamini Krishnamurthy, Indrani Rehman and now Shamik Davar for contemporary dance style. There are musicians and dancers in every country. Every country has their regional or folk dances and music. But the complete concentration on dance is only in our Hindi movies, especially on each song sequence. Historically every heroine and hero of the movies used to dance. But some ladies were outstanding dancers like Vyjayanthimala, Padmini, Ragini, Rekha, Hema Malini and Madhuri Dixit who created sensation. Among the heroes, actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Jitendra, Mithun Chakravarty, Govinda, Hritik Roshan, and Akshay Kumar are amongst outstanding dancers. The present wedding ceremonies, the sangeet dances is based on all the filmy songs which has a fast beat. Today’s young actors have to be outstanding dancers. Every artist or actor has to be multidimensional or multifaceted.

Every country is most interested in a multicultural activity today. Concerts of two musicians of two different countries or an album by two musicians of different cultures/ Keeping this thought process in mind, the world premiere of my collaborated album, Ancient Sounds with Iraqi Oud player Rahim Alhaj was on the 19th June in Albuquerque, USA. To promote the album, we tour in different cities this month and in fall.