I started listening to Indian classical music from a very young age
and had, over the years, been completely seduced by its charms.
However, my passion was accompanied by a singular lack of knowledge
that left me uneasy about exploring the subject cinematically. A chance
meeting with Zakir changed that and set me off on a path of discovery.
“It’s good that you know so little,” said the Ustad with disarming
candour. “Perhaps that will help you discover things afresh for your
The logic seemed unarguable at the time. Over the next three
years, as I repeatedly confronted my ignorance, I realised it had nothing
to do with the validity of the argument. I had simply succumbed to
Zakir’s legendary charm.
For my part, the excitement of the journey was in the fact that the
tabla is the traditional accompaniment for all forms of North Indian
classical music. This meant that, emanating from Zakir’s art, I could
explore a wide variety of our music - instrumental, vocal and dance.
However, the uniqueness of Zakir’s tabla playing ensured that even
greater riches lay before me. For, not only has he re-defined the sound of
the instrument, Zakir has also enlarged its scope by connecting with a
range of musical cultures both at home and abroad. It was surprising how
little of this had been previously documented.
If this film can contribute in some little measure to treasure the art
of Ustad Zakir Hussain, it will have served the cause that set it in motion.