Ustad Zakir Hussain: 'Hindustani classical music is more popular than Bollywood all over the world...' By Shantiswarup Tripathi

Ustad Zakir Hussain, the eldest son of tabla player Allah Rakha, is a famous tabla player, composer, percussionist, music producer, and film actor.

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Ustad Zakir Hussain, the eldest son of tabla player Allah Rakha, is a famous tabla player, composer, percussionist, music producer, and film actor. Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Vibhushan awardee Ustad Zakir Hussain is considered one of the greatest tabla players of all time. On February 8, 2009, for the 51st Grammy Awards, Hussein won a Grammy in the Contemporary World Music Album category for his collaborative album Global Drum Project with Mickey Hart, Sikiru Adepoju, and Giovanni Hidalgo. Zakir Hussain has a total of 5 Grammy Awards, equal to the late sitar maestro Ravi Shankar and master conductor Zubin Mehta. Incidentally, he is at the top position in the list of Indians who have won the most Grammys. He received 3 Grammy Awards in February 2024.



On February 24, he arrived as the chief guest at 'Vasantotsav 24' organized at Ajivasan Hall in Mumbai, where Tal Yogi Padmashree Suresh Talwalkar was honored with his hand.

On this occasion, Ustad Zakir Hussain said – “Today we have come here in Aajivasan. Today Suresh Wadkar ji has organized “Vanstotsav 24”. At this time famous classical singer Mahesh Kale is performing. After this, famous tabla player Tal Yogi Padmashree Suresh Talwalkar ji will be honored. I consider myself very fortunate that I have been friends with Suresh Wadkar ji since childhood. We both used to participate in music concerts together as young participant contestants. We have been friends since then. This friendship of ours continues even after 40-50 years. I thank God very much for this.”



Ustad Zakir Hussain on Bollywood Music

Expressing his displeasure on the question of Bollywood music becoming popular in the world instead of classical music, Ustad Zakir Hussain said - "I do not agree that the reach of Indian classical music is less in the entire world. In reality, the journalists of our country do not pay attention, if they had Googled it, they would have come to know that Hindustani classical music is famous all over the world. You can also add folk music to this. If you pay attention, you will find that every year there are eleven hundred to twelve hundred Hindustani classical music shows all over the world. Even today, if you open a newspaper, you will find that a program of Hindustani classical music is being organized in some city of the world, be it New York, Los Angeles, or any other city. But I would like to apologize for saying that our media does not see anything except 'Page 3'. Our media is infected with the 'Page 3' virus. I or Rakesh Chaurasia or Radhe Kumar, these people perform at least sixty to seventy musical programs every year all over the world. All these are very successful and take place in very big halls. You guys look carefully... go to Wikipedia or search on Google, and go to Facebook. If you go to YouTube and search, you will find that Hindustani classic music is more popular than Bollywood all over the world. If you compare it with Western music i.e. jazz or rap etc., you will find that Hindustani classical music ranks in the top five in the entire world. Bollywood is now making its mark. Let me tell you that today, when Bollywood programs are held in America etc., our Indian brothers living there come to listen to Bollywood music. But in America itself, when there is a classical music program, apart from Indian brothers and sisters, Americans also gather. Please know the truth…today young classical musicians are gaining a lot of popularity.”





Discussing the Grammy Award, he said- “Two of my albums were nominated for the Grammy. One is power. Which has been created jointly by Shankar Mahadevan, Ganesh Raj Gopalan, John McLaughlin, and Selvaganesh Vinayakram. It was awarded under the ‘Best Global Music Album’ category. We did not nominate this album for the Grammy Award. The Grammy Academy consists of a panel of seven hundred artists. All of them together decide which album to nominate. After reaching the final five, a second panel judges them and declares them the winners. So our ‘Shakti’ record was selected in the Best Global Music. The amazing thing is that this was Shakti's fiftieth year. We made our first record in 1973. We made another record, its name is – “As We Speak”. It is me and Rakesh Chaurasia ji. Flute player Rakesh Chaurasia ji is the son of the late flute player Omprakash Chaurasia. Apart from this, we have two friends – Bela Fleck and Edgar Meyer. It was nominated in two categories – one category was ‘Best Global Performance’ in which my record ‘Pashto’ was selected. The second category was – Guest Contemporary Instrumental Record…our record ‘As We Speak’ was selected for this category. In this way, we won in all three categories. I am lucky that these musicians played the song with me and we got the Grammy. We stood there proudly because the Indian flag was with us. We were representing India there. This is our motherland. We all were happy that the name of our India is becoming brighter today. ,

Ustad Zakir Hussain further said – “Pandit Ravi Shankar ji has won five Grammy Awards. After that, I am the first Indian to win five Grammy Awards.