They came, they played, they captivated.
When Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan performed at the brink of dusk on the penultimate day of the Hindustan Times Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, it was as if the setting sun and the rising half-moon watched, along with the hundreds gathered at the Asiatic Library steps.
Making their debut at the festival, the sarod maestros rendered superlative melodies to a packed audience of teenagers, retirees, and familiar faces that included filmmaker Kabir Khan and joint commissioner of police Himanshu Roy.
Reaching crescendos that made the audience cheer, the brothers — sons of sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan — also took turns to make teasing yet captivating jugalbandis with tabla players Satyajit Talwalkar and Anubrata Chatterjee.
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In keeping with the eclectic musical culture of the country, the duo performed ragas and rhythms from different regions, beginning with the Hindustani Raag Rageshwari, moving on to a classical interpretation of a Bengali folk song, which they dedicated to Rabindranath Tagore, and closing with Raga Kirwani.
“We are fortunate to have such eclectic music in our country. This is our dedication to all the musical maestros of India,” said Ayaan.
The audience could not get enough of the musical extravaganza, cheering for an encore, to which the duo readily obliged, playing compositions by their grandfather, Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan.
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“The audience has been so overwhelming. We had been waiting to perform at the festival, and we are so happy to have got an opportunity this year,” said Amaan.
Added his brother: “This was one of our most momentous concerts in Mumbai. The setting at the Asiatic steps was breathtaking.”
For the hundreds who had gathered at the venue hours before the performance, to be sure of finding a space, the wait more than worthwhile.
“I would not have had a problem waiting another hour to see them perform. This was the first time I saw both perform live and it was simply extraordinary,” said Yasira Charania, 19.
MK Shah, 76, who had come all the way from Vasai, went backstage to show the musicians a sketch he had made of them as they performed. “It was such a great experience. I asked for their autograph on the sketch, and I was not disappointed by the brothers,” he said.
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