Born in a family of musicians in Indore, India to a sarangi and veena player, Shahmir Khan, Ustad Amir Khan was trained by his father. His mother died when Ustad was a tender age of 9. He also had a younger brother named Bashir. Ustad’s grandfather was a singer who spewed melodies in the courtroom of Bahadurshah Zafar. Ustad’s father played his melodies in the court of Indore’s Holkars.
During his training period, Shahmir Khan discovered his son’s inclination towards vocal music and thereafter directed his training towards to vocal training. The duo started focusing on the Merukhand technique during the training. The different styles of music Amir could play at his age were hard to believe for many. Ustad Amir was then trained in Sarangi by his father. He also learned the basic tabla learning from his maternal uncle.
In 1934, Ustad Amir moved to Bombay in 1934. He also recorded for over six 78-rpm records. He also joined the Maharaj Chakradhar Singh of Raigadh Sansthan in Madhya Pradesh on his father’s advice. Amir’s father’s demise in 19367 was followed by a Khansahib’s move to Calcutta and Delhi, after which he returned back to Mumbai.
Even after decades of his death, Amir’s melody still lingers in the hearts of Indians. His melodies had a soulful element woven with contemporary classics. Amir who carved a niche for himself in the music industry. His singing had become a rage in different parts and pockets of India, especially Bengal. His classic approach to Hindustani music made his melody a melody of hearts. Melodies like ‘Aaj Gawat Man’, ‘Saa Ree Gaa Maa’ are just a few tunes which became popular hits in the Ustad Amir Khan era. These are timeless melodies which have etched a special place in the heart of many Indians.
Here are some of Ustad Amir Khan’s prominent works which continue to lighten the hearts and free the spirit. Amir was considerably reticent and was rarely heard speaking about himself. However, in an interview with the Films Division for a documentary film on him, he said, “Mai Indore (gharane) ke Naam se gaa Raha hoon.” Do you like to hear old classic tunes of Ustad Amir Khan and his contemporary vocalists? Comment below if you do and which song from the past has got your heart!