In a recent interview, Amaan Ali Khan — sarod player and the son of sarod maestro, Ustaad Amjad Ali Khan — said, “Every raga has its own soul, and you are there to present that soul to others.” On November 28, in a programme organized by Meghmallar at the Science City auditorium, he proved that just being a tool is not enough to express a raga’s soul. One also has to be powerful and sensitive enough to convey the agony and joy of a particular raga to listeners.
On that evening, Amaan started his performance with the Raga Shree, a beautiful late evening raga with a hidden melancholy in its tune. Through a long, elaborate alaap which continued for more than 40 minutes, Amaan managed to touch the sadness present deep down in the raga. His skill attracted the audience. In his magical presentation of the alaap, he regaled his listeners with the unusual movements of kadi madhyam and komal rishav. His renditions of the key notes ensured that his jod was appreciated by the audience. Amaan then played a jhaaptaal bandish in the same raga. Not only was his playing fluent, maintaining the necessary pauses along with an excellent use of mirs, but he also showed his expertise at manifesting the grandeur of pain. His power over the sensibilities of his listeners was evident.
Amaan’s next presentation was the Raga Rageshree. The alaap was short and needed more time to set the proper ambience for the soulful evening raga. Amaan presented two compositions by his father in the same raga. One is in teentaal and the other one is in adachowtaal. His performance included both complicated and straight taans as well as nice vistaars, though it seemed the force of his playing prevented one from feeling the true essence of the raga. The bandish in adachowtaal was beautiful. The technique of presenting taans on the tabla — played by Pandit Shubhankar Banerjee — was the most attractive part. In the last phase, Amaan seemed to be in a hurry.
Amaan also gave a short, enjoyable presentations of the Raga Charukeshi in ektaal and the Raga Kalavati in teentaal. He concluded his performance with a folk dhun which included the famous Rabindrasangeet, “Ekla cholo re”. Pandit Shubhankar Bandyopadhyay accompanied him perfectly. Although the audience enjoyed the whole programme, it will be remembered for Amaan’s lyrical presentation of the Raga Shree.