You went to Bombay in 2001. How was it?
I had been to Bombay in 1998 at the invitation of one of Bombay's big holy men who owns a huge spiritual institute. I had sung Bhajans for him and had been honored there as well. I was given this fancy shawl as a gesture of gratitude. In my innocence I presumed that the man would welcome me with open arms and if nothing else will allow me to stay in his multi-room abode for a few days while I found my bearings.
I reached there only to be rebuffed by that man. He said there is no room here. Why did you come? We don't need you to sing anymore hymns-everyone here is already purified. I sadly walked out and was wondering what to do when one of the young boys who lived there remembered my last trip and welcomed me warmly. I left my bag with him and walked around Bombay, looking at the hustle and bustle till I found myself at the very busy Andheri train station. The world around me was filled with the sounds of life. The last train left at 2 a.m. but there were still people around.
I thought to myself, here I was so worried about where I would spend the night, but God had provided a world stage in a railway station where I saw people enacting out so many aspects of life that before I knew it was close to dawn. I went back, took a bath outside the holy man's home thanks to a tap there and was ready to face the world. That experience turned me into an atheist. I felt that these so called holy men who have the city's biggest business tycoons at their feet, the keepers of our religion, don't know a thing about being a humanitarian, so why would I be attracted to religious rituals propagated by such people?
Today humanity and humanitarianism is my religion.
You are very fond of A.R Rahman. Is it true that the title song of Mangal Pandey was inspired by a folk song your father used to sing?
Yes, its true. Rahman just asked me if I knew of any music that would bring out the martial aspect of the song-the patriotic fervor depicted in the movie. I told him we have something called the " alaa" gayaki and hummed a tune my father used to sing. Thirty minutes later he had a wonderful composition ready. He captured the madness, the fervor so beautifully in the tune he composed.
Javed Akhtar's lyrics too were outstanding.
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and A. R. Rahman are not musicians but the messengers of God in my eyes. I met so many people in the US and Canada who knew Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan personally and I kept hearing story after story about his humanitarian ways and that of his family. His words and music were beyond the ordinary.
I feel the same about Rahman. He is a man of few words, and has touched the soul of the world with his music. He reminds me of a young Lord Krishna. He is so untouched by any kind of impurity and that is reflected in his music. When I record with him, I'm transported to a different kind of heaven where all the music is not of this earth.
(...) Full article by Kavita Chhibber here
jeudi 20 septembre 2007