The Week, March 2009
Considering a five thousand years old civilization which includes several Dynasties and rulers of various religions, it is amazing how our ancient Indian classical and folk music survived all historical changes, especially during the British Raj which was around for almost two hundred years in our country. Definitely, they have left long legacy and lineage of western music in our country. Certain states of India like Tamil Nadu, Goa, Karnataka, Bengal, Maharashtra, Kerala, Andhra and Delhi, one can feel the parallel world of music exists

There are many talented Guitarists, Pianists, Violinists, Mandolin and Keyboard players. I discovered two brilliant violin players; Dev Shankar and Jyoti Shankar also known as the Violin Brothers .They know western classical music and have got a diploma from Trinity college of Music, England. I am sure that there are many more western classical musicians in our country who have done a course with Trinity College. The Violin brothers are currently learning Indian classical music from me.

I have heard another brilliant violin player in band called Mrigaya, Sharad Srivastava. There are many outstanding and brilliant groups of orchestras and bands like Parikarma, Indian Ocean, Silk Route, Mrigya, Euphoria etc. I wish them all the luck and success. In the year 1972 there was an Indian Wood Stock festival called Mallavali Music festival at Lonavala-Pune, where all the western musicians of India were performing and Father Alvaris, the organizer also invited me to perform; I really enjoyed the music of that festival. After some time in Delhi, the Statesman group and their young magazine called J S organized a huge western music festival in Lodhi Garden. Here again, there were many outstanding groups and I was scheduled between Silencers and Human Bondage (popular Bands in India at that time). This festival was designed and organised by Mr. Saeed Naqvi and the Late Amita Malik.

More recently, I was very happy and honoured with the response of Samaagam, my Sarod Concerto. We had a six city tour covering Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Chandigarh, Delhi. All the musicians and the technicians received so much love and warmth from our countrymen! Every city gave us a standing ovation. It was a great experience and honour for the entire Scottish chamber Orchestra. By the grace of god, they all went back with beautiful memories and an over whelming response. In May this year, I present Samagam with the Taipei Chinese Orchestra and also premier a new piece called “Shanti” by the TCO. I hope that Samagam comes back to India soon we have a similar experience the next time.

I am also very happy and proud about the Oscar awardees for the movie ‘Slum dog millionaire’, especially Danny Boyle, Christian Colson, Simon Beaufoy, Anthony Dod Mantle, Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke, Resul Pookutty, Chris Dickens, A.R. Rahman and Gulzar Saheb. I would also like to congratulate Mr. Mani Ratnam, the creative film maker who gave the first break to Rahman in his film ‘ROJA’ as a music director in the year 1991. If the Oscar was in my hands, I would have given it to Rahman for ROJA itself, but I believe that destiny, awards and honours are entirely in the hands of God almighty. I am very happy to know that the Oscar award winning team is donating their money to the slum areas of India, especially Mumbai. I would like to appeal to the Govt. of India to seriously and effectively take some action to help and improve the living condition of the people who are in slum areas in our country.

Mumbai or Bombay (as the world remembers) was always the financial capital and the ‘Jaadu Nagri’ (Magical Town) full of glamour and excitement. Today bollywood with the help of 100 TV channels has become very big. The world has really become a global village. People from all sections of life especially from the creative world came to Mumbai to achieve their goals or to fulfill their dreams and some really became super stars overnight. Classical musicians and dancers have always been coming to Mumbai from different parts of India. Some played in the orchestras and some became film music and dance directors or playback singers.

I personally admire and enjoy good film songs and I always look forward to seeing a creative film. I feel sorry when I hear that some big budgeted movies costing 50-60 crores fails on the opening day itself. I think the Indian film Industry should always trust and respect the talent of creative people; the success part is only in the hands of God almighty. There are so many talented creative young and old people in the world. Please trust your own judgment, listen to your own gut feeling. Talent, hard work and dedication are important but there is no simple logic or formula to achieve success.