THE SIXTH STRING OF VILAYAT KHAN By Namita Devidayal
An imaginative, deeply empathetic biography of one of Indian music’s most charismatic figures.
Everyone knows Vilayat Khan, but no one knows Vilayat Khan. In this beautifully layered biography, Namita Devidayal presents the ustad: vivid, volatile, bitingly funny, and also the sensitive, meditative, mindful man who produced music that contained the ecstasy of ‘fairies dancing, elephants walking’.
She follows his footsteps from Gowripur (now in Bangladesh) to Calcutta, Delhi, Bombay, Shimla, Dehradun, and Princeton, USA, where he spent his last few years.
She chronicles his times from the untimely death of his father Enayat Khan’s that left him orphaned at ten, the extreme penury of his teenaged years, and then the peaks in Bombay and across the world— a life full of glamour and glitches—but always with the music, unharmed, protected, at the centre. It is all here — an absolute feat of research and storytelling.
The Sixth String of Vilayat Khan is a no-holds-barred biography that is at once straight-talking and respectful of the achievements and complexities of a towering personality and the failings that made him human.
Namita Devidayal makes a comeback as one of India’s finest writers on music. She is the author of the award-winning The Music Room, which was named as a favourite book of the year by Ram Guha, Sonia Gandhi, among others, and was also loved by Mick Jagger.
She works as a journalist with The Times of Indiaand is co-director of the Times Litfest in Mumbai.
Release date: 28 Nov 2018 | Publisher: Westland | Imprint: Context | Price: INR 699 | Pages: 380