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Nitin Mitta

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A Master in the making

Nitin Mitta

An exclusive Interview with the budding tabla maestro Nitin Mitta.

"After the vilambit, performed without the tabla, Nitin joined the maestro - Pt.Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, for the drut, and he was a revelation! From the likelihood of going home without playing, Nitin got a chance to play a tabla solo when a string on Bhatt's Mohan Veena snapped. When Bhatt came back, he had heard enough to play a jugalbandi with the young man". The concert then continued for one full hour after that.

Nitin Mitta, a young, talented, ever-smiling artist of our own Hyderabad, is all set now to make it big with the new boost he got by recently playing with Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, the world renowned, Grammy award winner. In a tête-à-tête with him, he tells us how it all started and who were the people behind the success.

Q. Hello Nitin! Now that you are better known especially after your performance with the great maestro, can you tell us how it all began?

Answer : "I started my formal tabla classes at the age of 5. That was when my parents forecasted for me. They tell me that I used play on the table, without any hesitations, even when I was 4-5 years old. It all started as a hobby. My uncle Sri.M.Janardhan, famous Sitarist and a disciple of the great Pt. Ravishanker used to encourage me whenever he was here in vacations and occasionally I used to play Tabla with him at home".

Q. So you mean, you did not have any mentor to walk you up or someone who could make it easy for you to grow up in your profession selected?

Answer : "I was like any other child", recalls Nitin, "I used to play cricket, shy away from studies - and why just that, even music was not so appealing to me then. I used to practice quite irregularly."

"The turning point, if I may call it, was from this TV serial called "Sadhana" - which featured various classical artists. One of the episodes was featured on Ustad Zakir Hussain, this was when I was 15 years old. The episode inspired me so much, that I decided now, on what I have to become in my life. I started practicing rigorously after this incident even without anybody prompting me to. My parents supported me a lot in developing into what I am today".

Q. Now that we are already into it, can you give us an insight into who your teachers are?

Answer : "My first Guru was Sri. Satyanarayana Garu. I was nine years old then. It was him who I mostly attribute all my successes to. I used to go to him quite regularly, discussing about the intricacies of the traditional classical music. Especially more so, after I was awarded an eight year Scholarship for the promotion of classical arts & subsequently a National Scholarship for two years with a further extension of another 2 years to it. This gave me a nice opportunity to mingle with many other budding artists of my age group, talk to them, discuss various aspects of music as they perceive.

My next Guru was Pt. Sri. Arvind Mulgaonkar from Mumbai, inciden-tally he and my first Guru, both were disciples of the same Guru Ustad Sri Amir Hussain Khan saheb and thus both of them were Guru Bhai - that's what we call it! This also helped me to maintain the same Gharana. Now on a regular basis I go to Mumbai to continue my training there."

Q. Can you recall on your first stage performance?

Answer : "My first stage performance was for the Madras Doordarshan. I accompanied my uncle Sri M.Janardhan in a recording. Then I performed in Colombo for the Muthu Krishnan Mission, during the navarathri time. I also performed in Germany, England, Finland and Paris apart from the various stage performances in India."

Q. Can you name a few artists whom you accompanied on stage performance?

Answer : "I accompanied quite a few legendary artists - Sri R.Vishweshwaran, Pt. Sri Jasraj, Pt. Sri Ullas Bapat, Sri Gaurav Majumdar and Pt. Sri Vishwa Mohan Bhatt are a few names with whom I had a privilege of performing. Every time I perform with one of them, I get to learn a new lesson. It is an experience every time!"

Q. How far do you see yourself from the success flag post? Are you soon going to be there?

Answer : "Playing Tabla or for that matter any instrument is not a great deal. Anybody can do it if he undergoes a year of training. What matters is the particular style in which you play the instrument & derivation of what the audiences are willing to listen to. That's where an ordinary instrumentalist is different from an Ustad. It's very simple, all of us learn the alphabets A to Z and would have undergone equivalent schooling but then one becomes a doctor, one becomes an engineer and one other becomes a businessman. It all finally is dependant on the individual, what he perceives to be is right and the best for his life. I still have a long way to go and I am constantly working on it."

Hard work, zeal, will power and a desire to make it big - one can see all these in Nitin. His ambitions are not unachievable because, a lot of them have done it in the past. However, it is only time that matters. We wish him good luck in achieving his goals soon and hope that we get to hear more of that quality music from him quite often.

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