Q: How was the experience of working with Sharon Isbin?
Ayaan: Sharon, one of the greatest classical guitarists of our times, is so creative, artistic and enthusiastic. The idea was to bring the spirit of sharing the unique treasures of our own artistic traditions, as well as finding common ground in ‘ragas’ and medieval modes. The idea is to achieve a crossfertilisation at both the cellular and cosmic levels of two classical music traditions, which are often held to be radically different.
Amaan: Through this collaboration, the aim is to preserve the essence of both Indian and Western traditions so they can flow into each other without artistic compromise. The sarod and the guitar come from of common family of stringed instruments; however, sarod is a fretless string instrument played with the fingernails while guitar is a stringed musical instrument, usually with fretted fingerboard and 6 strings, played with the fingers or a plectrum (guitar pick).
Q: How this idea was conceptualised?
Ayaan: It took many years to get someone to write the score for the guitar. After a few years of waiting, we finally had Kyle Paul, a guitarist who took my father’s residency at Indiana University on board who did the most splendid job. In an amazing way, it interweaves our varied musical, spiritual and artistic traditions with mystical beauty, creativity, grace and great emotion. Indian music finds resonances and parallels in other music, so that the Western musicians concerned can find a way into Indian music without the years of formal training expected of an Indian.
Amaan: An obvious connection featured in this album is that the sarod and guitar are both leading plucked stringed instruments of their respective traditions. The sarod does not have frets, and this enables it better to replicate the essential slides and other embellishments demanded of raga performance. Thus, it requires a guitarist of the calibre of Sharon Isbin to interact with three sarods individually on separate tracks. Yet if we focus only on the music, this is a meeting of living musicians across cultures and it is as feeling human beings that we can understand and appreciate each other and thereby heal this divided world, and what better way is there to achieve this ideal than through the joy and spiritual nourishment that music brings.
Q: You are carrying forward the legacy of Ustad Amjad Ali Khan. How difficult is it to match the expectations of the audiences from you?
Amaan: Even though our conditioning was in a musical environment, now it’s a passion and a reason for my existence. Being Ustad Amjad Ali Khan Saheb’s son, is a matter of great honour. I feel highly privileged that God gave me the opportunity to be born to him. My father’s music of course no doubt is the real inspiration but so is his humility, simplicity and politeness. Almost unreal for a man of his stature. The relationship was more of a fatherson than a teacher-disciple. Of course, the change in role for us and for him from a guru to father and back to a guru is somewhat effortless; however, it is a relationship with two people. He has been the most patient teacher and the most loving father. Abba’s teaching and philosophy is beyond music. It’s a way of life.
Ayaan: It was as natural as that. Though there was no pressure, it was understood. The mantra taught by our parents has been to be a good human being first and good music will follow. Music is who we are and our nature reflects in our music. Therefore, as siblings we know each other’s mind on stage. There is no rehearsal. When we were growing up, our father would always be very happy to see us listen to music, not just practice it. Not just his own music, but the music of an entire range of artistes from the era of our grandfather to the contemporaries of our father. We were never asked to listen to a particular artist, or not to listen to another; to listen only to classical music and not to listen to the music of the West or Bollywood. The choice and the freedom were entirely ours.
Q: Apart from carrying the traditional legacy, how are you working to give a modern touch to classical music especially in this digital age?
Amaan: Indian classical music allows innovation. Our father believes in tradition but not convention. We have played new compositions that have been written for Strings for Peace; however, there was room for all of us to improvise and give our interpretation and musicality to the pieces.
Ayaan: Sky is the limit. The main mantra is that we have never taken any concert for granted. You are as old as your last concert and every concert is the first concert of your life. We have done many collaborations in the past with Allman Brothers band guitarist Derek Trucks, American Folk song writer Carrie Newcomer, Grammy nominated Oud player Rahim Alhaj and also with the performed with London Philharmonic, Avignon Symphony Orchestra, Welsh National Opera and National Youth Orchestra of United Kingdom.
Q. This collaboration brings two different traditions together. How important are such collaborations during a global pandemic?
Ayaan: Strings for Peace, I believe, is extremely relevant. Especially in the wake of a pandemic. We have known Sharon for a decade, and began to really work together only last year. It is difficult to create fusion as it is a marriage of different cultures and it takes a lot of time for the perfect harmony. When we started out, little did we know that this creation will come to fruition at a time when humanity will need to consider meditation and contemplation more than ever.
Amaan: Musicians and listeners of music have been communicating with each other across all barriers through this ‘language’ from time immemorial. As we use flowers in worship, welcoming, honouring, departure, and celebration no matter what our race, origin, religion or language, we similarly arrange musical notes into ‘bouquets’ or compositions which display all our human feelings and emotions.
Q. Due to Covid-19, the future of stagecraft, live shows look bleak. How do you look at the future?
Ayaan: Like all industries, the music industry too has been hit very badly with the pandemic, especially as a congregation is the first step of the field. So many concerts and projects have all been invariably postponed so it has been a big blow; however, better to be safe than sorry. Many artistes all over the world are out of jobs too who have been associated with institutions.
Amaan: It’s a difficult time for all of us. Our salutations to all the doctors, nurses and frontline workers who are doing such a great job round the clock.
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Hina Khan: ‘I always wanted to be a journalist; I was a Bharkha Dutt fan’
Hina Khan has 13 years of experience in the entertainment industry. She did, recently, confess that she had always preferred to pursue a career in journalism, much like her idol Barkha Dutt. Hina revealed that she got into acting by chance.
In 2009, Hina made her acting debut in the Star Plus television series Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai, in which she played the lead character Akshara Singhania. Before leaving the role in 2016 to work on other projects, she performed it for eight years. Recently, she remembered how her friends had pushed her to register for the show’s auditions.
She told Curly Tales YouTube channel, “I don’t think I wanted to become an actor. I wanted to become a journalist, always. I was a huge Barkha Dutt fan. But destiny had some other plans. Auditions were happening in Delhi and I gave the audition, my friends kind of forced me. I got selected in the first round, then they asked me to come to Bombay, I cleared all the rounds and I started shooting. So this is how acting happened for me.”
Hina also recalled her time when she was working in a call centre before becoming an actor. She said, “”Some girls I knew in my PG used to work at a call centre, and they used to make good money. They said ‘we just call people and tell them to pay your debt.’ I said ‘bas? dhamkana hai, hadkana hai? (You just have to threaten them, berate them)? I can do it.’ Over there also, the first month I was the highest collector on the floor. My first cheque was 45,000. My salary was 250000 but I got 45,000 with incentives because I made such a good collection. I would tell them my sob stories that if you will not pay they will throw me out. I have done all of this. I was very naughty. If acting didn’t happen, maybe I still would have been there at some post, or something else.”
Following Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai, Hina took part in the reality competition shows Bigg Boss and Khatron Ke Khiladi. She appeared in movies like Smartphone, Hacked, and Unlock among others, and she also played Komolika, the antagonist in Kasautii Zindagii Kay.
Govind Namdev to be featured in Munshi Panna Masale
Govind Namdev, a seasoned actor well renowned for his scene-stealing performances in the films Virasat, Pukar, and Singham, has been chosen to represent Munshi Panna Masale.
Recently, Govind Namdev, Mansvi Raghuvanshi, Shivantika Dixit, Rahul Achlesh Gupta, Rama Shukla, Almas Khan, and other artists worked on the brand’s TV commercial. An alternative aspect of the seasoned artist will be shown in the commercial. Govind Namdev is portraying the role of a strict grandfather to a troubled child in the TVC. Soon, the commercial will air. Director Abhinav Raghuvanshi and Vishal Tiwari of Yati Media Work production business are supporting the video, which is directed by Prabhakar Shukla with Raju KG serving as the DOP.
Govind Namdev finds the partnership intriguing and the project to be a welcome change of pace while filming the commercial.
“Be it a film or a TVC, my job is to put in my 100%. When you are surrounded and supported by a talented team, your work becomes simpler. It was a pleasant experience for me to shoot this unique commercial,” Namdev added.
The market for Indian spices is very large, both in India and abroad, according to the directors of Munshi Panna Masale, Vishnu Kumar Goyal and Nitin Kumar Goyal. “With Munshi Panna Masale, we are trying to take the level of spices to a whole new level. Munshi’s Masale will change the dynamics of the market with its quality and superior taste.”
Currently, only a few states in India have access to Munshi Panna Masale. However, the business will soon broaden its borders both domestically and internationally.
PNN has supplied this article. The content of this article is not in any way the responsibility of ANI.
Arjun Kapoor and Malaika Arora visit London’s KOYN restaurant for a romantic date
Bollywood couple, Arjun Kapoor and Malaika Arora, often share their moments via pictures and videos on Instagram. The couple recently stepped out for a date on Monday, when Arjun was shooting for his upcoming film in London. Both of them went to a restaurant and Arjun shared a photo of Malaika from their date.Malaika was recently spotted at the Mumbai airport and have joined Arjun at London. The couple went to London’s KOYN restaurant, which is owned by Samyukta Nair, who is a friend of Arjun and Sonam Kapoor. In the photo, Malaika is seen wearing a black jacket, a wristwatch, and a statement ring. Her tattoo, which reads ‘Love…’ is also visible in the photo. Sharing Malaika’s photo from their latest date on Instagram Stories, Arjun Kapoor wrote, “Great host Samyukta Nair. Amazing food KOYN London. Best company Malaika Arora.”In a recent interview, Malaika had opened up about her relationship with Arjun, and called him ‘the best boyfriend.’ She said that the actor was her biggest cheerleader. Malaika said, “He is that not only that I bond with him, but he is also my best friend. It’s very important to love your best friend and fall in love with him. Arjun gets me, he understands me, he says it the way things are. I think we both are each other’s biggest cheerleaders as well. I can talk to him about anything and everything under the sun. That’s the most important bit about being in a relationship – you should be able to just be your true self and I can just be myself around Arjun.”
Progressive Indian cuisine: Avant-garde or déjà vu?
In the context of contemporary Indian cuisine, one trend subsides and the other immediately surges to allow the diners to ride the wave. The rising wave at the moment seems to be the one that is rediscovering ancient grains, foraged foods, and forgotten, almost lost family heirloom recipes recovered from regional repertoires.
It was more than a decade ago when the words “contemporary” Indian, “progressive” Indian, or “avant-garde” Indian were first heard. In the context of food, the trendsetter was Manish Malhotra, who opened the doors of his restaurant—the Indian Accent—then housed in a small boutique hotel in the Capital called The Manor. Indian Accent was promoted by Rohit Khattar, a restaurateur with innovative ideas who had trained in the US. Even earlier, he had created a buzz with his unique eatery, “Chor Bizarre,” where everything was deliberately and deliciously mismatched.
What Manish unveiled was a stunningly new concept. This was a multi-course tasting menu, far removed from the traditional Indian thali or pattal that served many dishes, dry or with gravy, on the same plate. It took some time before the idea gained traction.
Many food critics thought that Manish was trying to turn desi dining on its head. In less than a decade, Indian Accent has become a must-visit landmark dining destination. The portions were small and there was a lot of fusion of exotic and traditional ingredients.
The presentation was aesthetically pleasing, one may even say tantalizing, and the wines were lovingly paired. No one complained that after the meal, both the belly and purse felt light. Within ten years, Indian Accent had opened branches in London and in New York.
Manish never claimed that what he was offering was ‘progressive’, a much-abused word in politics, nor could anyone accuse him of borrowing from the Nouvelle French Wave.
The Indian accent in his recipes remained distinctly Indian, and the fusion was never confusing. Since then, there have been many iterations of this theme.
What’s avant-garde or contemporary for one generation doesn’t take too long to become passe for the next. This is what happened to the next big trend that hit Indian shores. This was the excursion into molecular space that some Indian chefs undertook with great haste.
Foams of all kinds, liquid nitrogen, and blow torches made those slogging in the kitchen feel that they were the peers of the scientists working in advanced laboratories at home and abroad.
This trend never really caught on because the worthies presiding over 5-star hotel chains were not setting a trend but merely following it. What created alarm was when molecular delicacies prepared without adequate care not only burned a hole in the pocket of the customer but literally a hole in the stomach. The wannabe scientists beat a hasty retreat.
However, by the time this hiccup was over, new chefs had emerged on the scene to ‘take Indian food to the next level’. Among them, the most consistent and inspiring, arguably, is Chef Vineet Bhatia, who has been awarded multiple Michelin stars during his career abroad. He has opened a string of celebrated restaurants in London, Dubai, and Saudi Arabia. His creations remain true to their Indian roots but are more than just tweaked. For instance, his square green jalebi.
There are other chefs who have been honoured with Michelin stars, like Shrijit Gopinath, who has consistently retained his two stars in a restaurant in the San Francisco Bay Area at the Taj property. Vikas Khanna first hit headlines with his restaurant ‘Junoon’ in New York, which had the cream of society eating out of his hands.
What needs to be underlined is that most of these chefs appear to have “diluted” the strong flavour of regional Indian delicacies, often blending two flavours, to win over loyal patronage that goes beyond the diasporic community. It would be difficult to sustain the claim that they have accelerated the evolution of Indian food in any significant manner.
Zorawar Kalra, owner of Massive Restaurants, is one of India’s most interesting and successful businessmen. Inspired by his father, the legendary Jiggs Kalra, he has displayed an incredibly Midas touch. Over the past years, he has launched a slew of restaurants—the Punjab Grill, Farzi Cafe, Made in Punjab, Masala Library, Papaya Grill—always remaining ahead of the curve.
Zoravar is on the side of sensible, safe molecular interventions in the Indian kitchen and upgrading the skills of the cooks, equipping them with the latest gizmos and gadgets.
His different outlets cater to different clientele, from millennials on a small budget to those on unlimited expense accounts. Many of his eateries operate in India and have had a filter-down effect on emerging trends in tier two cities.
It seems that in the context of contemporary Indian cuisine, one trend subsides and the other immediately surges to allow the diners to ride the wave.
The rising wave at the moment seems to be the one that is rediscovering ancient grains, foraged foods, and forgotten, almost lost family heirloom recipes recovered from regional repertoires. Of course, the chefs have learned a lot from the pioneers who have preceded them.
They present their creations with a flourish, and the plate looks like a canvas painted by an abstract artist. They are sensitive to the health concerns of the younger generations as well as fads like veganism.
Nishant Choubey is one such chef who has wowed his guests in places as far apart as Bangkok, Dubai, Mauritius, and the US. He has showcased some very interesting dishes in the Michelin-plated Indus in Bangkok and won the prestigious Iron Chef contest there.
These achievements and accolades were a hard act to follow in Bangkok, where at one time, Gaggan reigned supreme. However, what Gaggan served was his interpretation of Pan-Asian and not necessarily Indian. His restaurant has a months-long waiting list that continues to attract fun-loving tourists with gimmickry like lick-you-plate.
It is difficult to forecast the future of Indian progressive-contemporary or avant-garde cuisine. At the moment, except for Zoravar Kalra’s and Nishant Choubey’s work, other creations are largely confined to expensive deluxe eateries.
The other difficulty is that many of the exciting creations of gifted chefs, like Manu Chandra’s Coorgi Pandi (pork) Curry with Levantine Pita or a Chocolate Bombe with dizzying Old Monk, are not likely to find a mass market and contribute to the evolution of pork dishes in the subcontinent. Food and drink taboos are hard to shatter.
The siddu stuffed with an inventive filling or pan-braised paneer with tandoori ananas, millet pulav with rista, on the other hand, may become aspirational and quickly find their way to tables in more affordable eateries.
Actor Anaya Soni’s health condition serious due to kidney failure
Indian TV serial actor Anaya Soni health condition is serious due to kidney failure and has to undergo a transplant soon.
Taking to Instagram Indian TV serial ‘Mere Sai’ fame actor on Saturday said, “Doctors are telling that my kidney is failed and I have to go on dialysis… My creatinine have come to 15.76 and haemoglobin is 6.7 …condition is serious.. I m getting hospitalize in holy spirit Andheri East hospital on Monday .. pray for me guys life has not been a easy journey for me was trying to take it easy by enjoying the present moment …” but yea time aane wala tha pata tha mujhe .. but this too shall pass .. soon have to go with my kidney transplant .. will apply for kidney post dialysis.”
Meanwhile, after the actor break the news on social media her fans flooded the messages and commented, “Our prayers are with you wishing you a speedy recovery, Get well soon Buddy.”
Earlier in 2021, actor Anaya Soni also shared her health updates regarding and asked for financial help from her fans for her treatment.
Moreover, talking about Soni’s work front she has worked in Tv serials like ‘Mere Sai’, ‘Naamkaran’, ‘Adaalat’ and ‘Crime Patrol’.
Ajay Devgn receives an award in the National Film Award, Kajol shares pic
Bollywood actor, Ajay Devgn, received the Nation Film Award in the best actor category for his performance in 2020 movie, Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior. The actor took to Twitter on Friday and expressed his gratitude and thanks to his fans. His wife, actor Kajol, also beamed with pride as Ajay received two awards at the 68th National Film Awards ceremony in Delhi. Kajol gave him a shoutout on social media as she shared a photo of Ajay from the prestigious awards event.Ajay also shared best actor award with South cinema star, Suriya for his performance in the Tamil film Soorarai Pottru.Kajol took to Instagram stories on Friday, to share a photo of Ajay receiving the award from President Droupadi Murmu at the ceremony that took place at Vigyan Bhawan, Delhi. Praising Ajay and his style, she wrote along with the photo, “Bringing home two National Awards and looking good is difficult!” Ajay Devgn also shared a picture with Suriya, and tweeted, “It was fantastic to share time with my esteemed colleague and fellow best actor award winner, Suriya. Deeply respect his talent and love his movies.”He also tweeted, “Not counting the wins or the blessings, just feeling grateful for all of it. Most importantly, your love. I share this win with all of you. Honoured to receive my awards from the President of India, Droupadi Murmu.”Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior is a historical-action film, which traces the life of Maratha warrior Tanaji Malusare. Om Raut helmed the project. Released in January 2020, it features jay in the titular role along with Kajol as Savitribai Malusare, and his Omkara co-star, Saif Ali Khan as the antagonist Udaybhan Singh Rathore.
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