Musicians from the Hindustani circuit don’t become “successful” when they find an opportunity to work with AR Rahman. They only become (more) popular. Long before Rahman developed a liking for the ‘shehnai brothers’ Sanjeev and Ashwini Shankar’s music, which led him to include them in a popular TV show, they were content playing at traditional concerts and fusion projects in India and abroad.
While Sanjeev’s shehnai sounds beautiful with Shubhendra Rao’s sitar, one can fathom the depth of Ashwini’s mastery that he perfected through riyaaz. At times one cannot differentiate between the sounds of the brothers’ shehnais owing to the harmony in their duet. It boggles the listener. He cannot tell from which shehnai the alaaps originate. Sons of Pandit Daya Shankar and grandsons of the well-known Pandit Anant Lal, the brothers have been trained by Pandit Ravi Shankar as well.