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Ash-Abhishek wedding: Rift in Bismillah Khan's family

Written by: Staff

Varanasi, Mar 28 (UNI) Music legend Bismillah Khan is accredited with elevating the shehnai from an instrument played at marriages into a full-fledged classical music instrument.

His nephew and disciple, Mumtaz Hussain, however, has expressed a strong desire to perform at the much-touted wedding of Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan in Mumbai next month.

I have already sent my biodata to Amitabh Bachchan stating my desire to perform the shehnai at Abhishek's wedding and hopeful of being invited by the family,'' Mr Hussain told newspersons yesterday.

Interestingly, Mumtaz who was trained under Khan Sahib is the grand son of Ali Bukksh -- the Guru and uncle of Bharat Ratna Bismillah Khan himself.

''I want to bless both Ash and Abhishek on my uncle's behalf with renditions of various 'ragas' created and played by Khan Sahib,'' Mumtaz added.

Far from appreciating the craving of Mumtaz to perform at the Mumbai wedding, the sons and secretary of the late shehani maestro have reacted sharply saying, ''it amounts to an insult to Khan Sahib, who elevated the shehnai from an instrument played at marriages into a full-fledged classical music instrument.'' ''He (Mumtaz) has denigrated the unrivalled musical stature of Abba (Khan Sahib) by acting like a beggar to perform at a wedding.

Khan Sahib held self-respect much more than anything else and sending a bio-data to perform at the wedding was like begging, which does not go well with a disciple of music legend Bismillah Khan,'' Khan Sahib's musical successor and second of his five sons Naiyar Hussain Khan told UNI here today.

''Khan Sahib kisi ke darwaze ashirvad dene nahi jaate the. Mumtaz ne apni harkat se unki rooh ko dard diya hai'' (Khan Sahib never went to anybody's doorsteps to bless anyone, but Mumtaz's act has rendered pain to the soul of the music legend,'' Mr Khan added.

The youngest of the five sons of Khan Sahib, Nazim Hussain -- a tabla player said ''who is Mumtaz to act as a representative of Khan Sahib's family. If at all he believed in the ideals set by Abba, Mumtaz should have waited for a call from the Bachchans instead of begging before them.

''By expressing a desire to perform at a wedding he has given an unpleasant U-turn to the persona of Khan Sahib, who is accredited with transforming shehnai,'' he added.

Meanwhile, Khan Sahib's secretary S Javed termed Mumtaz Hussain's desire an ''insult to the Sehnai maestro who was against playing at weddings. Even if he was ever requested to play at weddings he performed at a special concert rather than performing before the gharatis or baratis.'' Just after the demise of Khan Sahib on August 21 last, a controversy was triggered when Mumtaz announced himself as the musical successor of the music legend in a section of media. His utterances were immediately countered by Khan Sahib's sons and Naiyyar Hussain was declared the musical successor to the shehnai icon.


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