"At the Swami Haridas – Tansen Sangeet Mahostav, Sathya Sai Center, Lodhi Road, Delhi. December 2010".
I saw Ustad Mehmood Dhaulpuri live, for the first and the last time in Dec 2010. I couldn’t gather the amount of conscience that it takes to observe such an artiste, but then, I tried. He was playing with Ashwini Tai that day. As the concert started, I started noticing more and more, the magic of those fingers. I went into a state where I could not notice my surroundings. I could just see the stage. I couldn’t even see our annoying car driver who was sitting right by my side. But I could listen to Ashwini Tai and I could see those fingers moving. Everytime he played a unimaginably complex phrase an then everybody would go ‘Aaahh’.
Nabanita Chowdhury - Puriya Dhanshri at India International Centre, New Delhi on 21 September, 2010. Harmonium: Ustad Mehmood Dhaulpuri; Tabla : Pt. Subhash Nirwan.
Ustad Mehmood Dhaulpuri was born in 23 March, 1953 in Dhaulpur, Rajasthan. He belonged to a family of musicians. Most of the men in his family were Sarangi players. But at that time, Harmonium was in vogue. He took up Harmonium from the age of eleven. He started learning from various people, including Ustad Nasir Ahmed Khan of Dilli Gharana. It is pretty ironic that he was awestruck by the playing of a Harmonium in a Hindi movie song from the movie, Love in Tokyo. Ustad Mehmood Dhaulpuri brought back the ‘once banned’ Harmonium into the mainstream classical arena once again. He also believed that Harmonium was not a foreign instrument. Ustad Mehmood Dhaulpuri was blessed by three daughters and two songs, who are carrying forward his tradition. Every vocalist in Delhi wanted Ustad Mehmood Dhaulpuri for the accompaniment.
He said he imparted the Sarangi style into the playing of a Harmonium. It’s a vocalists dream to have an accompanist who understands the need of a vocalist, and who understands that the amount of interference in the improvisations must be very low. Ustad Mehmood Dhaulpuri was one such artist. He was praised by everyone whoever he played with. He would just accompany. He would never try to gain attention or overpower the performance of a vocalist.
Ustad Iqbal Ahmed Khan - Kamani Auditorioum, Delhi
Harmonium: Ustad Mehmood Dhaulpuri
He was too young to die. He was just 58. In Hindustani Music, 58 is not old, rather this is the age when an artiste of such high caliber starts getting attention and recognition. It all started to happen to Ustad Mehmood Dhaulpuri. He became the proud recipient of the Padma Shree, but soon after, he passed away. I’ve read that his financial condition was very weak. Ustad Mehmood Dhaulpuri accompanied all the major artists of the country including Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Begum Parveen Sultana, Pandit Jasraj, Girija Devi and Kishori Amonkar.
‘Yeh harmonium mujhe aisi jagah le gaya hai ki jise main khwaabon mein bhi nahin soch sakta’, he said on the DD Urdu interview.
May he be blessed, as God blessed us by him ! Rest in Peace.
By Kovid Rathee - August 4 2011
To read as well: "No longer by their side... Artistes remember harmonium maestro Mehmood Dhaulpuri". The Hindu - June 3 2011http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-fridayreview/article2072193.ece?css=print