Sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan said on Friday he was “shocked and appalled” that his application for a British visa to perform at a festival in London had been rejected.
The 70-year-old celebrated artist tweeted he was to perform next month at London’s Royal Festival Hall and had applied for a British visa. He tagged foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and the Indian high commission in London, among others, in his tweet.
“Extremely sad for artists who are spreading the message of love & peace…,” he said in another tweet. He said he had been performing abroad almost every year since the early 1970s, and the rejection of his visa application had “upset” him.
In London, hectic efforts were on to resolve the issue related to the refusal of a visa to Khan, with organisers of the music festival where he is scheduled to perform hopeful that he would be able to appear as planned.
Khan, who has performed in Britain many times, was due to appear at the Darbar Festival to be held in the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, on September 17 and 18. Tickets have been sold for the events.
A spokesman for Southbank Centre told Hindustan Times: “It is extremely unfortunate that Amjad Ali Khan has been refused a short-term visa to come and perform at Southbank Centre, which we understand is due to a recent change in the visa’s guidelines.
“We are working closely with the high commission to try to rectify this situation and are hopeful that he will be able to perform on September 17 at the Royal Festival Hall as planned.”
The spokesman said Khan is one of many international artists that Southbank Centre is bringing to London in partnership with the Darbar Festival.
According to the programme, Khan was to reflect on his 50-year career during the festival. His wife, Subhalakshmi Barua Khan, is scheduled to join the programme billed as a “candid conversation”.
Several prominent Indian artistes are due to perform at the festival, including Shubha Mudgal.
The Darbar Festival is dedicated to Bhai Gurmit Singh Ji Virdee (1937-2005), a tabla teacher who was born in India and in whose memory the event was launched in 2006.
The news came a day after Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan was detained for two hours at the Los Angeles airport, triggering a Twitter storm and apologies from US envoy to India, Richard Verma, and senior US state department official Nisha Biswal.