For this musician, who struck the chords of a sitar at the age of four, “music is the purest reflection of ones inner being.” Niladri Kumar, who will be in the city on January 30 as part of Citi-NCPA Aadi Anant Festival of Indian Music, a travelling musical festival, gets talking to Hyderabad Express and starts off by explaining about it. “It’s a festival whose core lies in the age-old tradition of guru shishya parampara and in the traditional values of our music and the culture associated with it and it’s interpretation in today’s times,” says the artist who was trained under his father, a sitar maestro Pandit Kartick Kumar.
The big question
Not just a regular musician, Niladri is the only zitar player in the country, an electric version of the sitar. He also plays the sitar and the surbahar.
The instrumentalist, however, does not limit himself to playing only Indian classical music – that he has been trained in, or the tunes he grew up listening to – but has also composed quite many Bollywood numbers. From soul touching songs like Alvida in Life in a Metro, Tere Naina in My Name is Khan to Make some Noise in Desi Boyz and Crazy Kiya Re in Dhoom 2 –the musician has touched upon all genres.
Ask him what he thinks of the current Bollywood music scene, he replies, “It is a mix of extremely talented people and extremely lucky people. Bollywood surely is the biggest face of music in India but is it truly Indian music? That’s a big musical question we should ask ourselves.”
- Favourite genre of music: Any Music in tune and tempo. In sur and in Taal.
- Favourite stage setting: Solo, group and Jugabandi. Depends on who, where, why and other factors.
- When I am not playing music...
- I am gaming. I love cars, watches, electronic sound gadgets. Also a foodie.
Playing in Hyderabad
While he has touched millions of hearts through his private albums and also Bollywood compositions, mood in an auditorium comes alive when he strikes a chord. And that Niladri tells us that he borrows energy fromthe audience. “Most times when I sit on stage, the vibrations I receive from the audience makes me alter my music and thoughts,” he explains.
He is all praise for the Hyderabadi audience says his music is made for Hyderabadis. “Hyderabad is a culturally rooted place and the DNA of the audience is about depth in its listening habits. At the same time it is also one of the more progressive and modern cities in this electronic digital age we live in. So this music is exactly what this city is. Tradition meets innovation,” he shares and adds that he loves the local food, and sherwanis sold around Charminar.
On the current scene
Internet’s growing connectivity has made music traverse boundaries and Niladri feels that it is a positive sign as long as it helps create a balance. “If internet can bridge tradition and innovation then we can call it successful. Only time will decide that but for now, internet is the way the world communicates and musicians are a part of the same world,” quips the 42-year-old.
And on the increasing number of television shows that are throwing opportunities for young and budding singers, Niladri questions, “Are music shows really for music and finding talent or just for entertainment and TRPs?” and adds, “If they were honest then we would have had 25 great singers if not musicians in the least.”