Rasan Piya. The first documentary I watched on MUBI. I glanced through the synopsis and got to know that the movie is on a musician. After a lot of scrolling and checking the thumbnails, I began to watch this movie.
This documentary is on Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan, known as Baba. He hails from the family of Tansen, one of the famous poet of Akbar times.In 14th Century, Amir Khusrow has brought the Khayal tradition to the North Indian kingdoms. Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan sings in Khayal tradition and has written a lot of bandish.
At first, Baba was put into tailoring profession by his father. Once, he was challenged by his cousin in music at Dargah. Then Abdul took up to his challenge and got into music. Once he got into, he never turned back. He wrote poetry and composed a lot of bandishes as well. He was encouraged to use a pseud name in his poetry. Under the pseudo name, 'Rasan' he composed and penned a lot of poems.
Before independence, he was Riyasat of Gwalior Kingdom. Post independence, the royalty got perished and through musical conferences, the events began to flourish. In 1960s a rival musician poisoned Baba with mercury. He was bedridden for five years but, he survived at the end. Baba became famous soon after he moved to Kolkata for the sake of ITC Sangeet Academy.
Baba quotes Amir Khusrow, Kabir, Ghalib a lot. Watching him sing, teach his students, laugh with his friends, and talk to his loved ones, I wondered where does this energy come from. At the age of 107, he left the earth.
Special cheers to the director, Niharika Popli. Thanks to her efforts, we get to see a documentary on Abdul Rashid Khan. This genius deserves more documentation.