[Reader-list] Murtaja Mustafa , Bollywood Music ,Prashant Pandey

Prashant Pandey prashantpandey10 at rediffmail.com
Wed Jun 1 10:56:57 IST 2005

He has got training from the best
masters of the Indian classical tradition.
A voice that evokes in you what is
termed as spiritual. No wonder A.R
Rahaman has chased him from time to 
time for singing opportunities. 
The man is Murtaja Mustafa,son
of the legengary Ustad Ghulam Mustafa. 
Murtaja Mustafa is one of most chilled 
out singers that I have ever met.Both of us
are  sitting on a red persian carpet in 
his small drawing room decorated with 
trophies,awards,and ancient muscial 
instruments. " yaha pe Rahman ki class lagti
hai",(So this is AR Rahman's music class!)
I say to myself. Thats another story;we will 
come to it later.  

I had gone to his Turner Road residence 
to meet the legendary classical vocalist ,
Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan. Apart from 
being the leading light of the Rampur 
Ghrana , Ustad ji  has taught/mentored 
almost every second playback singer. 
Right from Asha Bhosle ,Manna De to 
Shaan  and Sonu Nigam, Ustad Ji has 
helped generations of playback singers 
to excel in their art. Then there are 
two special disciples who are just family 
to him- AR Rahman and Hariharan. Ustad is
extremely low-profile and quiet in 
his demeanour. He also doesn’t prefer to
talk much about his star students. 
I had lot of questions in mind when I 
started the interview but I started to 
realize that he was not at all interested 
in critiquing anybody or anything. He
answered all my questions in parables 
like a Zen master.Then he has also taught
his two sons Kadir and Murtaja. If you
have heard Rahmans’ Pia Haji Ali (Fiza),
Anarkali (Boys, Tamil) and Chupke se (Sathiya)
,and Ismail Darbars' Kisna (Kisna) you 
would feel instantly what and how their 
smooth vocals have contributed to these songs.
Murtaja has often collaborated with Rahman (bhai) 
on films like The legend of Bhagat Singh,
whose background score he recorded in London. 
Murtaja is also working on an album 
where all the three brothers will sing. 
Then there are usual routine classical
performances, studio recordings and 
riyaz and more riyaz ; Mustafa household 
never sleeps. Murtaja told me, “Even if
I come at 3 o clock in the night and I
have a 10 am mixing session next day in 
the studio I will reach the studio at 
sharp 10 am. Same applies to Papa, he
has taken sessions with Rahman bhai 
at 3 am in the morning”. Something 
like this offers an insight on the 
industry where professionals try to 
beat lack of time and space with passion.
Motivation levels are very high here.  

I had a good chat with Murtaja. I had 
been chasing him for a fortnight and
he finally got me an appointment 
with Ustad ji and also agreed to talk 
to my Dictaphone. The result – he got 
late for a recording session and missed 
altogether his Friday Jumma Namaz. 
It re-affirmed my belief that in my
research, respondents have at times 
proved to be more self-sacrificing 
than me. Such gestures often make me 
feel more responsible for my work.

Readers,let me know if you want to know
more about the interview I will do a 
detailed posting.


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