Amjad Ali Khan receives Mallikarjun award

Dharwad(Karnataka): Sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan, whose unique style of playing the instrument with his finger nails has enthralled audiences worldwide, has been presented the Mallikarjun Mansur award in recognition of his achievements.

"I deem it a great honour bestowed on me. It is a big award for me," Khan, a Padma Vibushan awardee, told a packed audience on receiving the award at a function here on Tuesday night.

Khan showered praise on the cultural heritage of Dharwad, which he said has patronised music in a big way and urged Rajasekhara Mansur, son of the legendary Hindustani singer Mallikarjun Mansur, who presented the award, to continue his father`s legacy.

The award, instituted by the Karnataka government, carries a cash prize of Rs one lakh and a citation. Vocalist Kishori Amonkar, Pandit Jasraj and Dr Balamuralikrishna were its earlier recipients.

Khan, who has captivated audiences at home and abroad, played ragas like Kedar, Siddhakalyan, Ganesh Kalyan, Bhairavi and Durga after the felicitation function, enthralling music connoisseurs.

Earlier, speaking to PTI, the sarod maestro professed his desire to score music for movies. "I am not against films or anything else but would like to score music for films if it suits my vision and creative taste," he said. He said he is happy that many young filmmakers have approached him to score tunes for their films, but bemoaned that modern fast paced songs lack melody.

"Songs today lack melody and the emphasis is more on racy item numbers. Old songs still appeal to today`s generation as they are melodious," said Khan, who has acquired global fame and composed for the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.

The innovative genius, who has composed many ragas of his own, is upbeat about the future of Indian classical music. "I have great hopes and expectations from young classical musicians of today. The future of Indian classical music is bright."

In a word of caution to young hopefuls, Khan said there are no shortcuts to becoming an established classical musician. The only way to achieve and understand classical music is through the Guru-Shishya parampara (tradition), he said.

"To achieve something in life you have to surrender to your guru and work as a servant. Hence there are no shortcuts to become classical musicians. Guru-Shishya Parampara is the only way to establish oneself as a classical musician," Khan said.

Khan has the distinction of being the first north Indian artiste to have performed in honour of saint composer Thyagaraja at his birth place at Thiruvaiyur in Tamil Nadu.
He is also a recipient of many awards like Sangeet Natak academy award, Tansen Award, UNESCO Award, UNICEF National Ambassadorship and International Music Forum Award.