On the occasion of his second death anniversary, unmatched doyen of Hindustani Classical Music, Padma Vibhushan Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan had an annual award instituted in his name by his family and students, alongside a concert that paid tribute to the late legend. Titled ‘Haazri’, the concert was held at the landmark Shanmukhananda Hall, Sion. Living legends Padma Bhushan Ustad Zakir Hussain and Padma Shri Hariharan performed ghazals and thumris alongside Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan’s 22-year-old grandson, Faiz Mustafa Khan who helmed the opening act at the show. On the occasion, the first Padma Vibhushan Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan Award was conferred upon maestro Padma Vibhushan Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia. Besides Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, Ustad Zakir Hussain and Hariharan, noted celebrities like Suresh Wadkar, Padma Wadkar, Jaaved Jaafri, Prasoon Joshi, Armaan Malik, Shilpa Rao, Zakir Khan, Ashish Shelar, Vishwas Nangare Patil, Taufiq Qureshi among many others graced the occasion. Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia received the first Padma Vibhushan Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan Award at the hands of Amina Mustafa Khan, the late Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan’s wife. The late legend’s sons Qadir Mustafa Khan, Murtuza Mustafa Khan, Rabbani Mustafa Khan and Hasan Mustafa Khan were also present on the occasion. The event was handled by NR Talent & Event Management.
Padma Vibhushan Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan was a torchbearer of the Rampur Sahaswan Gharana and has been the recipient of various awards and accolades. He has also mentored many of the ace Bollywood singers like Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, A.R. Rahman, Hariharan, Sonu Nigam, Shaan, his sons and grandsons.
Speaking about the thought behind this award, Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan’s son Rabbani Mustafa Khan expressed, “We have started the award to honour his legend and make it enduring. He lives on through his music and there’s no better way than to celebrate it annually by felicitating stalwarts from the field he had dedicated his entire life to! So, every year on the 17th of January, we will celebrate his barsi with a musical concert and an award.” From the next year, Rabbani reveals that they have plans to add two more days to the celebrations and add more categories of award to make it grander.
Awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi as early as in 1984, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia’s contribution to making Bansuri a mainstream wind instrument has never been in question. He is overwhelmed by the love shown by Ustadji’s family and students through their decision. “I am grateful for his honour. Khan Sahab and his family have always been very special to me. He was an exemplary singer, performer and Guru. He is unparalleled in the number of talents he has mentored to reach greater heights of glory. Some of the most famous, popular singers of today’s generation are his students. He must be so proud of them.”
“Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan Saab used to be our neighbour when we used to live in Mahim, when I was almost 10 years old. I was so lucky that he gave me a chance to keep theka for him when he used to do his riyaaz. What’s incredible is that when it was time for him to make his first solo LP, he chose me – a school kid, to accompany him on the Tabla. I was supposed to arrive at the HMV Studios to play with him. I left my school at half day and took the bus to go to Pheroz Shah Mehta Road but for some reason, I was very late and the people at HMV kept insisting on using some other Tabla player. But Khan Saab was adamant and he waited for me to come and we made that recording. So I can never forget that kind of support from that great an artist to a little kid who was just starting out his journey in Classical Music,” reminisced Ustad Zakir Hussain. He continued, “It is important that we establish an everlasting legacy in the name of Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan Sahab and I guess the award would be one of the ways to be able to that.”
Veteran singer Padma Shri Hariharan considers Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan an artist par excellence, calls him the ‘Badshaah’ of Khayal singing. “When I heard Ustadji’s album for the first time, I told my amma that I want to learn from this Guruji, and, “as luck would have it, he accepted me as his student. He was a maverick, who was not only a celebrated vocalist but one who even wrote all his bandish in multiple languages such as Hindi, Urdu, Sanskrit, Persian etc,” he averred.
About taking Ustadji’s legacy forward, in the form of his grandson Faiz Mustafa Khan performing on the occasion, Rabbani Mustafa Khan proudly enthused, “We are so glad that my nephew, my eldest brother Murtuza Mustafa Khan’s son – Faiz Mustafa helmed the opening act at ‘Haazri’. Faiz was the youngest musician on Coke Studio to perform with the legendary AR Rahman. In fact, our three generations – my father Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan, us four brothers, and Faiz, have performed together with AR Rahman and Sivamani. Faiz is surely going to take our legacy to newer heights,” he signed off.