Raga of a role model

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  • Published 26.01.07

Green full-sleeved shirt, blue denims and a turquoise blue pendant — the lanky Ayaan Ali Khan looks straight out of the pages of a glossy. As he takes off his dark glasses and breaks into a charming smile, you know exactly why this 28-year-old was voted the Most Stylish Person in Music by the Lycra MTV Style Awards last year. Or why he was persuaded to walk the ramp, invited to inaugurate a school, flag off a Botox Clinic...

The younger son of sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan is a youth icon for all the above, but he is quite clear about who he is. Ayaan is a musician first, an entertainer later — someone who effortlessly blends tradition with trendy. “I think the MTV award is a recognition not of us but of our music,” says Ayaan, who shared the title with elder brother Amaan. “I have never worked towards building an image. I have always been who I am. I have never been embarrassed to touch a senior artiste’s feet even when I was with my friends. You don’t have to break away from tradition in order to be contemporary,” says Ayaan, trained in the Senia Bangash school by his father.

The impeccable sense of dressing is something Ayaan has imbibed from his father. “My father has been criticised for wearing very good kurtas on stage. But what’s wrong in that? Presentation is very important. There are a lot of people who appreciate what you do, but they also come to see you,” he stresses.

The promising sarod player took the stage on the second night of the 55th Annual Dover Lane Music Conference, with which he shares an “emotional bond”. This is where his grandfather Haafiz Ali Khan had performed too.

Ayaan’s looks and sense of style are pushing him to places beyond the stage, which he accepts as an extension of his personality. “I walked the ramp last year and have anchored TV shows. I think these are facets of your creativity. Doing alternative things doesn’t make you a lesser musician,” explains Ayaan.

Bollywood offers are trickling in but nothing exciting enough. “The last film I was offered was Jai Santoshi Maa, which I didn’t do, obviously.”

Ayaan is equally interested in experimenting with different music forms. Along with Amaan, he cut their first electronica album Reincarnation in July last year. Their next, Mystic Dunes, a thematic album revolving round the desert, will be launched on February 2. A large part of 2006 was spent performing all across the world.

The young Khan has also learnt to take comparisons with his elder brother in his stride. “Our natures are so different... We have our own minds when we play together. And we are more friends than brothers,” he signs off, with that winning smile.