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‘There are no shortcuts to art’

One would think being born as sons of ghazal and thumri singer Ustad Afzal Hussain is half the battle won. The Hussain duo, however, have a different take on the blessing: “That’s where the struggle begins.” Brothers Ahmed and Mohammed Hussain, from Japiur, Rajasthan, have a strong command over various genres of Indian classical music, bhajans and ghazals.

brunch Updated: Jun 15, 2013 09:34 IST
Usmeet Kaur

One would think being born as sons of ghazal and thumri singer Ustad Afzal Hussain is half the battle won. The Hussain duo, however, have a different take on the blessing: “That’s where the struggle begins.”


Brothers Ahmed and Mohammed Hussain, from Japiur, Rajasthan, have a strong command over various genres of Indian classical music, bhajans and ghazals. We know them better as the ones who sang Veer Zaara’s Aaya Tere Dar Par Deewana.

About being born into a family of artistes, Ahmed says, “I was five and Mohammed seven when we started learning music from our father. In our family, music is religion; that’s where the struggle began. Our father was our guru; he never treated us like his sons. We started off as child artistes (in 1958) with AIR Jaipur.”

Stating that art requires constant struggle, they say, “Struggle mirrors reality. To be famous, one needs to struggle. Then, maintaining stardom is also a constant struggle. In our era, we use to visit big personalities for their approval of our art. In 1979, actor Dilip Kumar called us home for a performance and gave us a ghazal written by Bahadur Shah Zafar — Yaar tha, gulzar tha, bad-e-saba thi, main na tha. Then, in 1988, we met Lata Di (Lata Mangeshkar); she and her father complimented us with, “Rajasthan ki mitti surili hai.” Today, the scenario has changed completely. People who don’t even have a way of life are gaining stardom.”

“We just know one thing — there are no shortcuts to art. To be a real superstar, it is important to focus on work; it will fetch you fame automatically,” they add.

With a few upcoming Bollywood projects on their plate, they add, “We are happier working by ourselves — live performances and albums — our latest album being Khawab Basera (2013). In Bollywood, music directors don’t understand the grammar of music; perfection is missing; which is why we don’t fit into this system.”

The Hussain brothers were in Chandigarh to perform at Chandigarh Summer Festival 2013 organised at Tagore Theater, Sector 18.