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

mahmood farooqui mahmoodfarooqui at yahoo.com
Thu Jun 2 12:53:42 IST 2005

Dear Prashant,

Please post the interview as soon as possible...I have
been following with postings with great interest,
music being the very stuff of Hindi cinema it is
amazing how little we know about its conditions of
production, yours being one of the first serious and
sustained attempts I have come across.

I knew about the Kumar Sanu school of singing but the
Sonu Nigam school was news for me...



> 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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