Ustad Sultan Khan Passes Away
Sarangi maestro and singer, Ustad Sultan Khan passed away on Sunday, 27th November. He died on the way to the hospital, succumbing to kidney failure, which he had been fighting against for the past 4 years. Not only was he an authority on Hindustani classical music, he also gave hits like Piya Basanti Re and Albela Sajan to the Indian Pop industry.
Training under his father Gulab Khan, Sultan Khan gave his first performance when he was eleven years old. This performance was given with Ravi Shankar in the Dark Horse World tour (1974). He also performed in Sanity and Gravity (1998) where he sang and played the Sarangi. He was a part of ‘Table Beat Science’ with Bill Laswell and Zakir Hussain and always worked hard to popularise Sarangi as a musical instrument, all over the world.
He taught sarangi playing to many big music producers of Bollywood like Ram Gopal Varma and Sukhshinder Shinda. Norwegian singer, Deeyah is also his disciple and Sultan Khan performed in I Alt Slags Lys, her debut album. Other notable students of Sultan Khan include names like Anand Vyas and Ikram Khan. Sabir Khan, who is his son, was his student too.
He won numerous awards like Padma Bhushan in 2010, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (twice), American Academy of Artists award and Gold medallist Award of Maharashtra. In 1997, Ustad Sultan Khan was requested to perform on Prince Charles’ 50th birthday.
His soothing baritone and his awe inspiring demeanour made common people appreciate Indian Classical music. He was versatile as a singer and his song ‘Piya Basanti Re’ was one of the chart toppers at a time when pop music was ruling the nation. He also sang sufi songs in Maqbool and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and made his mark in Jab We Met’s ‘Milo chalein’. This goes on to prove that unlike many classical musicians, Ustad Sultan Khan never hesitated in trying new and exciting genres.
He was never knows to shy away from challenges and this is why he will be remembered as one of the stalwarts of the Indian Classical industry. His funeral will be held on 28th November in Jodhpur which happens to be his hometown.