Celebrating a maestro

Screening

Celebrating a maestro

A section of the audience.

Think of the tabla and the name that comes to one’s mind is the talented Zakir Hussain. As a child, he had enlarged the scope of the drum through his various experiments. Celebrated all over the world, it was not surprising when director Sumantro Ghosal, got inspired by the maestro and came out with a documentary called The Speaking Hand.

In a recent screening of the documentary at Bangalore International Centre, Sumantro said, “I started listening to Indian classical music from a very young age and had, over the years, been completely seduced by its charms. However, my passion was accompanied by a singular lack of knowledge that left me uneasy about exploring the subject cinematically. A chance meeting with Zakir changed that and set me off on a path of discovery.”

The documentary charts Zakir’s growth from the bylanes of Mumbai to his current fame as a musician.Through the documentary, one gets to experience many of the performances with the legends of Indian classical artistes.

 Zakir HussainBeat by beat, one gets to hear what the instrument means to Zakir. In one such clipping, he says how as a child he thoroughly enjoyed the tabla but couldn’t sit for more than five minutes on it. “I would play for few minutes and run off to play cricket with my other friends,” he said.

He slowly goes on to explain the intricacies of the tabla providing a better understanding to those who are still unknown to the instrument.The journey also included the many traditional accompaniments of the tabla like the instrumentals, vocals and dances.

“When he plays the tabla, he becomes one with the music,” said Hariprasad Chaurasia, while describing Zakir in the documentary. Likewise, the film has many such interesting interviews giving it a unique structure by itself. Throwing light on the many ranges Zakir has reached through his music, both in India and abroad, the full house at the Centre felt that the Ustad was right there performing for them.

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