Ustad Ghulam Ali Khan treated Hyderabadis to a serene and sonorous ghazal concert
He came as the messenger of amity with his ‘Paigham-e-mohabbat’ and conquered hearts establishing an instant rapport with the audience. What hurt the artistic eye as an unaesthetic ambience of the metallic N Convention centre was lost in a matter of minutes and it looked as if we were wrapped in the warmth of his music. Every ghazal or nazm was an interactive ‘dhun’ with a brief on the circumstances or authorship or connotation of the piece.
Romance in content and emotive rendition are the two arterial nerves of ghazal singing. A rich tone and reach are added assets. Ustad Ghulam Ali Khan has all of these in abundance; hence his instant success. His choicest repertoire drew cheers as he dwelt on the import of the couplets and then drifted into a romantic interpretation through his sonorous voice. Who cannot but hold a sigh at the line, jawaa hai jism jab dil bhi jal gaya hota or for that matter the pun on the word ‘shaayad’ (perhaps) in the Sufi number, isi raah guzaar par shaayad hum mil sakhe... The entire song is hope against hope looming large in the form of rhetoric. He brings in an element of his classical background by lacing his verses with a stylistic swar taan which would be the ultimate in ecstasy of the ghazal that has already transported you into a misty world of music.
The Ustad’s regard for Jagjit Singh manifested with every piece he sang. Guzar tho jaayegi tere bin lekin bahuth udaas..ye baath was simply a marvellous lyric that made its way into your heart, melting it like sunshine on snow. This one, a nazm was explicitly explained by the Ustad for finer distinction with the ghazal. It was indeed very educative to the novices who had an ear for music but couldn’t make much out of the genre offered as a spread.
If ever one could create the illusion of a wave running towards the bank measuring its step, lashing across the embankment, rising as high as the sky before it drops its hood on to the edge of the land — all such pictures were literally recreated by his stupendous voice. The song, dil mey ek lehar si uti hai… He plays around the word ‘lehar’ recreating the different ways in which the waves ebb and flow in all the three octaves of the Pahadi raag. Making it explicitly clear that he was particular to render only meaningful lyrics in the most meaningful way, Ustad Ghulam Ali gave Hyderabadis something that would never cross our path, something so serene, so subtle, so full of spirituality even as it carries the mantle of romanticism, the underlying essence of Sufism.