Santoor whiz Rahul Sharma talks fusion with
You got married last year.. what has marriage taught you?
(Chuckles) Lots of things. I’ve become more mature and responsible since I’ve had to run the household. My wife has accompanied me on all my professional trips, so I’ve had great company. (Smiles) It’s been a very understanding-each-other kind of first year.
What are your music plans now?
I have collaborated with an Egyptian musician, who plays the oud.. the album should be out in a month or so. I was in Egypt in December.. we’ve even shot a music video next to the pyramids. My wife Barkha has started a fashion designing company, Barkha-Sonzal, and designed my outfits for the video.
Are music videos essential even for instrumental music?
, with an actor like Aamir Khan, needed publicity to get the audience in. You even see photos of spiritual gurus plastered all over town to attract people to their meetings.
Is this essential because the audience is diminishing at the concerts?
I don’t think that’s true at all. Last year, at the IIT festival, Mood Indigo, I played to a crowd of 5000 college kids. I’m going to IIM’s fest, Backwaters, in Kerala now.. so even the youth is interested in this kind of music.. it’s just that music videos heighten the interest. <b1>
Have you ever received flak from purist musicians who think you are trying to do too many things with classical music.. considering you are into fusion music as well?
(Laughs) Purists either don’t attend my fusion concerts or don’t have the heart to criticise me outright.. because no one has directly said anything like that. I would like to believe that’s because I haven’t stopped pursuing classical music.
Initially, you started out with pure classical albums but now it’s either fusion or world music.
The santoor sounds brilliant in fusion with other instruments. But I haven’t strayed away from classical music. In 2007, I went for a U S tour with Zakir Hussain, and we played pure classical music. In fact, I’ll also be coming out with an album with Zakir bhai within the next two-three months.
You have released around 40 albums to date. How do you work at such a frantic pace?
(Laughs) I was faster before marriage.. I have slowed down now. Jokes apart, I hadn’t signed on any one label earlier.. so I would release albums with all the different labels. Now I have found an anchor in
Sa Re Ga Ma
, which promotes my album in the right manner and their strategy is to have a gap of a couple of months between two albums.
After 40 albums, do you think you’ve mastered the santoor yet?
No, not at all. I’m not the master.. my father (Pandit Shivkumar Sharma) is. I am still finding my way.
Do you plan to get back to film music now? You rejected offers after
Mujhse Dosti Karoge.
Yes, I guess it’s the right time to get back to it. If I had gone the Bollywood way earlier, I wouldn’t have been able to do all that I did with the santoor.
Amaan and Ayaan Ali Khan are making their acting debut soon. Have you ever thought of acting in a movie?
(Laughs) I did get a few offers, but I would have made a fool of myself before the camera. In any case, after the age of 30, it’s a little too late for me to debut as a movie star.