Bismillah and Banaras

Bismillah and Banaras Movie Poster

In a delicious paradox that can only be Indian, the man who best embodied the spirit of the holy Hindu city of Varanasi was a Muslim.

Although he was born in Bihar, Ustad Bismillah Khan (1916-2006), he moved to Varanasi as a young man, and lived there until he died, spending some seven decades in an old, crumbling haveli, surrounded by his shehnais, a large extended family, and an even larger circle of hangers-on. In a tribute to the inspirational musician, historian Ramchandra Guha states that 'the spirit of Beneras is the spirit of Bismillah Khan, an irreducibly composite city'. This documentary introduces the life, passion and philosophy of the maestro.

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