I’m always high on music: Zila Khan

Zila Khan is one of the most powerful Sufi singers in the world.

music Updated: Oct 16, 2010 18:41 IST
Veenu Singh
Veenu Singh
Hindustan Times

With an impeccable lineage, representing the eighth generation of legendary Hindustani classical musicians, Zila Khan is one of the most powerful Sufi singers in the world. The daughter of sitar maestro Ustad Vilayat Khan, Zila has successfully established herself, independent of the formidable legacy of her father, by becoming the first and only female singer from the Imdadkhani gharana. Her performance at the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games left.

One word that describes you best?
Insatiable, whether it’s for research on Sufi literature or life in general.

Which superhero would you like to be and why?
Invisible Woman from Fantastic Four!

If a traffic constable hauls you up, what will you do?
Since I don’t have the body to seduce him/her, I’ll sing Allah ke bande, hans de.

What makes you feel sexy?
The unsaid word in poetry which hangs humungously in the air, even though it’s not written. Jo baat saare fasaane me, jiska zikr na tha, vo baat saare fasaane me mujhko achhi lagi.

You get high on…
I’m always high on music. The nashaa of music is the most potent high.

The colour ‘pink’ for you is…
To do more work for the awareness of breast cancer; the pink bow.

What did you do with your first pay cheque?
I shared it with my parents and other family members and bought a watch for myself.

The one tune you can’t get out of your head?
The song I performed at the CWG closing ceremony.

If you could have chosen your own name, what would you have chosen?
I love my name Zila, which means ‘to belong, to reside, to stay, to keep’. That’s the root word which over the centuries came to mean Zilla Parishad also. So when people ask ‘Where is your zila?’, it means ‘where do you belong?’

What is the weirdest thing that ever went into your mouth?
A $4,000 dish that had an exotic name, and I almost spat it out, to my and my host’s embarrassment. We still joke about it.
Share a secret with us…you can trust us, we’ll only print it!

I have a fetish for watches.

Love is... Unconditional, yet intertwined with respect.

What makes your day?
Freshly plucked champa flowers kept in a bowl of water.

The last movie that made you cry?
Hotel Rwanda (on DVD).

If you were the last person left on earth, what would you do?
Pick up a McLaren (racing car) with great music blaring from it, and drive around with no borders to worry about and no fear of accidents.

First Published: Oct 15, 2010 15:24 IST