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I am proud to be Indian: Zubin Mehta

music Updated: Jul 24, 2012 02:08 IST
Robin Bansal
Robin Bansal
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

US-based Western classical music legend of Indian origin, Zubin Mehta couldn’t have asked for more — an “Indian vacation for the first time in 38 years”. As we caught up with the 76-year-old at The Oberoi, Gurgaon, where he stayed for a night before heading to the US on Monday, the Mumbai born got a taste of real India. “I was just talking about how incredibly India has progressed and suddenly the power went off. How ironic,” he laughed. “Anyway, I’m very proud to be an Indian. Though I have to say, living in America for around 40 years, I’ve had great hospitality there, great friends and most of my career has been there. But I eat Indian food all the time,” he said.

Despite being an NRI for decades, Mehta continues to hold an Indian passport. In a recent interview, he said, “Though I face enormous problems because I carry an Indian passport, I like to retain it.” Happy that his childhood friend Pandit Ravi Shankar’s musician daughter, Anoushka, named her baby boy after him, he said, “I was very very touched. She brought the little one to our house in Florence. I’ve grown up with her father. Spiritually, we are one family.”

Desi glamour for Zubin’s wife
Legendary musician Zubin Mehta, 76, was in India last week with his American wife, Nancy Kovack. The couple were in Hyderabad for a couple of days before arriving in the Capital to accept Germany’s highest honour, the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit, on Sunday, for his contribution to the field of classical music and for promoting bilateral relations between India and Germany. What caught everyone’s eyes was Nancy’s choice of outfit — a blue sari.

Asked if he has any plans of moving back to India after 38 years of staying in the US, he said, “Not for the moment.” Has he kept in touch with Bollywood? “I don’t know that world, but I remember that Amitabh Bachchan and his family once came to one of my concerts in New York. I was very pleased,” he said.

Mehta, who wishes to perform in Jammu and Kashmir, expressed grief over the death of actor Rajesh Khanna. “I’ve not been reading anything else except that (his death) in newspapers. It’s a great loss.”