Well-known classical musicians Amaan and Ayaan Ali Bangash, sons of legendary sarod player Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, say they do not take the privilege lightly and instead, consider it a responsibility.
“The journey of a classical musician is way long and with age and experience of life, it keeps changing. Our achievement, failure, heartbreak… everything gets transcended into music,” Ayaan told IANS.
Born and brought up in Delhi, the brothers — who performed at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival here last week — started learning sarod under the tutelage of their father and guru.
Remembering one of his early concerts that gave him a life lesson, Amaan said: “I think I was 12 years old when we went to London for a concert where I played very badly. Some of the respected musicians were sitting in the front row.
“We came back to the hotel room and Abbu (father) had fever… He was upset and felt embarrassed due to the bad performance. I got my life lesson.
“That day, that very moment bhai and I understood what music meant to my father. And that is the responsibility we have as the son of a living legend like Ustad Amjad Ali Khan. We cannot afford to play badly or make any moment an embarrassment to our father, who is respected by the music connoisseurs worldwide.
“So when critics say that we got it easy, they should not forget the fact that we carry the privilege as a responsibility to deliver the best, because people expect the best from us. Criticism and competition also keep us on our toes because they are the best friends who bring out the best from us.”
Among the two, who was the born artist and who was the naughty child?
“I think that is quite clear. Ayaan was a good listener and inclined towards music from childhood, I was more into sports,” said Amaan.
Countering that, Ayaan said: “No, no, nothing like that. Both of us loved music. But Amaan bhai has a curious mind, I was an introvert child who would listen to Abbu and follow his music.”
Amaan said: “Honestly, I troubled my parents more. I would question everything. I would look for a chance to go out of the house, I always looked for a challenge to take up, looking for an interesting task.
“Abbu understood that about me and then he gave me music as a challenge. That is how I started taking music in the beginning.”
Asked about if they were given special treatment in their school days because of the popularity of their father, they had a different story to share.
“We were the different kids from the rest of our class because most of the kids are either coming from a business or political family. As a kid, I used to wonder why my father does not go to the office wearing a suit and holding a briefcase,” said Ayaan.
Amaan added: “Delhi is different from Kolkata or Mumbai where people have high respect for musicians, teachers and painters. So it was actually opposite. Having said that, Ma and Abbu always gave a good upbringing and we imbibed humility.”