The freedom within the discipline : Niladri Kumar, Musician
Updated on: 05 Jun 2016
Young musical maverick Niladri Kumar has done it all -- played classical music with greats like his father Kartick Kumar, Zakir Hussain, and Pandit Jasraj, collaborated internationally with maestros like John McLaughlin. He's invented a five-stringed electric sitar called a zitar, cut private albums. He's played his instruments for Bollywood biggies like A.R. Rahman, Vishal Bhardwaj, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy on tracks in films like Dil To Pagal Hai, Bunty Aur Babli, Omkara, Dhoom 2, Bahubali. This fifth generation sitar player has taken the next step and turned music director.
He continues to innovate, with his maiden project. In the news is the track 'Tere Bina' for the Hindi film Shorgul where lawyer and former minister Kapil Sibal has penned lyrics, and underprivileged girls from Mumbai have sung the chorus for this Arijit Singh song. In Bengaluru to launch the music for Kannada film Niruttara, he chats with MetroPlus. Excerpts:
Whether it's the sitar or zitar you're playing, what does your music mean to you?
At different times, at different places, playing for different people, it means different things. I don't know how I would feel if I didn't have the medium of music to express myself to the listener. If I'm playing for myself, when I'm alone, that's a different zone altogether. Lot of music lovers want to hear that zone. That's mostly difficult. The great Annapurna Devi-ji, daughter of the great Ustad Allauddin Khan Saheb, was once asked by someone if they can sit in on her riyaaz. She very bluntly and beautifully conveyed the message – she said riyaaz is like taking a bath. You're cleaning your dirt away. It's not a good thing to come and listen and see. I agree – it's a very personal space. When you take that on stage, it's a whole different approach. If you reach a level in life where audience and you are connected in such a way that you have the freedom to do what you want, play what you like, and you know they are with you -- that is the supreme stage of connectivity between a musician and his audience.