It’s wah ustad! at the Gwalior Heritage Festival

March 9th, 2008 - 2:29 pm ICT by admin  

By Azera Rahman
Gwalior, March 9 (IANS) For the people of Gwalior it was an evening to remember as sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and his two sons gave a bravura performance with fusion band Advaita and the Ananda Shankar dance troupe adding to the magic. Amjad Ali Khan and his two sons, Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan, gave a spell binding performance on the second day of the Gwalior Heritage festival Saturday evening.

The trio literally lighted up the stage as they walked down the bridge to the stage set amid a pond at the picturesque Moti Mahal palace.

As he sat to perform, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan said that he would like to start with a raga that he had composed for his wife and one-time well known Bharatanatyam dancer, Subhalakshmi.

“On the occasion of International Women’s day (March 8), I would like to thank my wife, Subhalakshmi, for gifting the world Amaan and Ayaan,” he said with a smile. Dressed in a bright red silk kurta and yellow shawl, he then started playing the raga Subhalakhsmi.

Soft and melodious, the performance, as it always does, invited loud applauses from all quarters.

“My relationship with Gwalior is a very old and a cherished one. I have always been treated like a son here. Late Madhavrao Scindia had always showered me with his love and support. My attachment to this place, therefore, is quite deep and natural,” the maestro said.

He next played Rabindranath Tagore’s Bengali composition “Ekla Cholo Re”. Amaan and Ayaan also played together before joining their father on stage. The performance fetched loud applause. Ayaan’s newly wed wife, Neema, was also present among the audience.

A fusion music performance by Advaita fastened the tempo of the evening with their electronic-cum-classical flavour. Also a dance performance, “Mrignayani” by the Ananda Shankar Centre for Performing Arts and choreographed by Tanushree Shankar, had the audience in raptures.

“Mrignayani is a special performance because it is based on Raja Man Singh’s wife by the same name. Before she agreed to marry the king, she gave him three conditions. First was that a palace should be built for her, which he did on top of the hill. Second was that she would only drink the water from her village, which he fulfilled by building a canal right from her village to the palace.

“And the third condition was that whenever the king goes for a battle, she would accompany him as the queen. This dance drama, therefore is a tribute to the valour of Mrignayani,” Jyotiraditya M. Scindia, MP and scion of the royal family of Gwalior, told IANS. He is the man behind the festival.

Mark Adams, a tourist from the US, said that he has come to India just for this festival.

“I have been to India earlier, but this time I came just for this heritage festival. And I am not disappointed. The dance, the music and the ambience is simply magical,” he said.

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