On the occasion of the second death anniversary of the doyen of Hindustani classical music, Padma Vibhushan Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan’s family and students had an annual award instituted in his name, alongside a concert that paid tribute to the late legend. Titled Haazri, the concert was held at Mumbai’s prestigious Shanmukhananda Hall.
Living legends Padma Bhushan Ustad Zakir Hussain and Padma Shri Hariharan performed ghazals and thumris alongside Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan’s 22-year-old grandson, Faiz Mustafa Khan, who helmed the opening act at the show. On the occasion, the first Padma Vibhushan Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan award was conferred upon maestro Padma Vibhushan Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia at the hands of Amina Mustafa Khan, the late stalwart’s wife.
Awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi as early as in 1984, Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia’s contribution to making the bansuri (flute) a mainstream wind instrument has never been in question. He is overwhelmed by the love shown by Ustad Mustafa Khan’s family and students through their decision. “I am grateful for his honor. Khan-saab and his family have always been very special to me. He was an exemplary singer, performer and guru. He is unparalleled in the number of talents he has mentored to reach greater heights of glory. Some of the most famous, popular singers of today’s generation are his students. He must have been so proud of them.”
Noted celebrities like Suresh Wadkar, Padma Wadkar, Jaaved Jaafri, Prasoon Joshi, Armaan Malik, Shilpa Rao, Zakir Khan, Ashish Shelar, Vishwas Nangare Patil, Taufiq Qureshi among many others graced the occasion.
The late legend’s sons Qadir Mustafa Khan, Murtuza Mustafa Khan, Rabbani Mustafa Khan and Hasan Mustafa Khan were also present. The event was handled by NR Talent & Event Management.
Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan was a torchbearer of the Rampur Sahaswan Gharana and has been the recipient of various awards and accolades. He has also mentored Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, A.R. Rahman, Hariharan, Sonu Nigam and Shaan apart from his sons and grandsons.
Speaking about the thought behind this award, Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan’s son, Rabbani Mustafa Khan expressed, “We have started the award to honor his legend and make it enduring. He lives on through his music and there’s no better way than to celebrate it annually by felicitating stalwarts from the field to which he had dedicated his entire life! So, every year on January 17, we will celebrate his barsi (death anniversary) with a musical concert and an award.” From the next year, Rabbani revealed, they have plans to add two more days to the celebrations and add more categories of award to make it grander.
Ustad Zakir Hussain reminisced, “Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan-saab used to be our neighbor when we used to live in Mahim, when I was almost 10 years old. I was so lucky that he gave me a chance to keep theka (rhythm) for him when he used to do his riyaaz (practice). What’s incredible is that when it was time for him to make his first solo album, he chose me—a school-kid, to accompany him on the tabla. I was supposed to arrive at the HMV Studios to play with him. I left my school at half-day and took the bus to go there, but for some reason, I was very late and the people at HMV kept insisting on using some other tabla player. But Khan-saab was adamant and he waited for me to come for that recording. So I can never forget that kind of support from that great an artiste to a little kid who was just starting out his journey in classical music.”
He continued, “It is important that we establish an everlasting legacy in the name of Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan Sahab, and I guess the award would be one of the ways of doing that.”
Veteran singer Padma Shri Hariharan considers Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan an artist par excellence, and calls him the “Badshah” of Khayal singing. “When I heard Ustad-ji’s album for the first time, I told my amma (mother) that I want to learn from this Guruji, and, as luck would have it, he accepted me as his student. He was a maverick, who was not only a celebrated vocalist, but also one who even wrote all his bandish in multiple languages such as Hindi, Urdu, Sanskrit and Persian.”
About taking this legacy forward, in the form of his grandson Faiz Mustafa Khan performing on the occasion, Rabbani Mustafa Khan proudly enthused, “We are so glad that my nephew, my eldest brother Murtuza Mustafa Khan’s son Faiz Mustafa helmed the opening act at Haazri. Faiz was the youngest musician on Coke Studio to perform with A.R. Rahman. In fact, our three generations – my father Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan, we four brothers and Faiz, have performed together with Rahman and Sivamani. Faiz is surely going to take our legacy to newer heights.”
It is very heartening that such crusaders are leveraging and promoting Hindustani classical music when things are sadly going the Western or fusion way even among the Next-Gen artistes who are offspring to our classical giants.