Ustad Sultan Khan
Award Name : Padma Bhushan
Year of Award : 2010
Award for : Arts
Location : Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India
Ustad Sultan Khan was an Indian sarangi player and Classical vocalist belonging to Indore Gharana. He was one of the members of the Indian fusion group Tabla Beat Science, with Zakir Hussain and Bill Laswell. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian honor, in 2010. He was born on 15 April 1940 in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India. He learned sarangi from his father Ustad Gulab Khan. He began playing sarangi at a very early age and had gained mastery over it before he was 18. Soon the dearth of opportunities in a smaller city began to become a hindrance in his progress. But his fortunes changed a bit when he got a job in All India Radio at Rajkot in Gujarat. It was at this place where he began to perform in public functions. Though it took time, he eventually gained recognition in Rajkot as well as other cities nearby. Soon he was being called to different places to perform.
In every celebrity's life comes one turning point which alters the course of their life. Such moment came into Ustad Sultan Khan's life as well when he got the opportunity to perform in front of Melody Queen Lata Mangeshkar. Lata had been told about ustad by her brother Hridaynath Mangeshkar who had listened to his sarangi earlier. No need to mention that Lata became so much impressed with Ustad's sarangi playing that she asked him to permanently shift to Mumbai so that his talent could be nurtured. In no time ustad gained prominence as a sarangi player in Mumbai music circle. He used to be called in big music concerts where biggies of Indian music like Allahrakkha Khan, Pt. Shiv Kumar & Pt. Hari Prasad Chaurasia performed. The decade of 70's saw him sharing the stage with Pandit Ravi Shankar and The Beatles. He was not only involved in the music of Oscar winning film Gandhi, but he also collaborated with pop queen Madonna. Though Ustad had a formal training of classical music in singing also but he never seriously thought about it until director Sanjay Leela Bhansali requested to him to sing now famous albela sajan ghar aayo re song. This song and the subsequent pop album Piya Basanti with Chitra made him popular among the youth. The song helped him in making new grounds when it won MTV International Viewer's Choice Award. Since then Ustad has recorded 6 albums as solo singer. He has also got 45 records as a sarangi player under his belt.