13-year-old Suleman, a flute player and disciple of Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia, has won India’s Got Talent Season 7. He gives credit to his father Suresh Pal who nurtured his talent. Sangeeta Yadav talks to the father-son duo
He is shy and doesn’t like to talk much. He lets his music speak for him. With the flute in his hands, he touches everyone’s heart. Suleman, winner of India’s got Talent (IGT) Season 7, has carved a niche for himself at age 13 through sheer hard work and dedication.
“The best part of IGT was that I won. It was a beautiful journey of tough competition. During auditions, I played Vande Mataram and various Bollywood medleys. The challenge for me was that I had to play on different types of flutes for various songs and switching from one flute to another without a breather. I had be precise and swift so I practised for hours to master it,” Suleman says.
It was during a concert at an Amritsar college where a Professor advised him to audition for IGT. His best moment on the show he said was:
“when Salman sir came on the show and praised my performance. That was my fan moment. Kirron ma’am loved me like her son and said that she wanted to take me home with her. Karan sir gave me a golden buzzer and I am grateful to him for spotting my talent,” Suleman adds.
Hailing from Amritsar, Suleman, a Class VII student of Millennium School, wants to fulfill his father’s dream to become a famous flute player.
“Since three, my father Suresh Pal started teaching me to play the flute. After rigourous training for three years, I started giving duet performances with him. There are over 100 ragas but I can play only 40 of them on any Bollywood song,” he says.
He never dreamt getting an opportunity to be a disciple of Pt Hari Prasad Chaurasiaji.
“Suleman was six and performing at a school function where slide guitarist Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt was also to perform. When Bhattji came into the auditorium, the principal asked Suleman to end his performance. But Bhattji stopped the principal and asked Suleman to continue. My son’s performance touched his heart. He told me that he wants to recommend Suleman to Pt Chaurasiyaji. I couldn’t believe my luck when I got a call from Mumbai. I brought Suleman here for workshops,” Pal recounts.
He is proud to be Suleman’s father.
“My son’s mind is sharp in picking up tunes and tricks. When he was just three, he used to wake up early in the morning and play the tabla perfectly. I didn’t want to teach him flute as it’s very tough for a three-year-old child. But he progressed well and I gained confidence when people started applauding him at concerts. My dream to become a famous flute player never got fulfilled but now when I see my son, I feel my dream will get realised through him,” Pal says.
For Pal, things were not so easy. He had to convince his parents to let him play the flute. His parents insisted that he study and wanted him to get a regular job.
“When I was 20, I heard Pt Chaurasiaji playing on TV and since then I knew where my destiny lay. I bought a flute for Rs 50 and started playing on my own. My parents were against it and wanted me to study and get a job. They thought of music as a hobby. But I never let go of my passion. I didn’t have a guru but gradually, I started understanding how to blow air into the flute and various other techniques. In 1992, when my father passed away, the family’s responsibility came on my shoulders. That is when I took up a carpenter’s job. I also started performing at concerts and would earn Rs 300 for an
hour’s performance in college and Rs 150 in schools. Soon I became a music teacher in Cambridge School,” Pal tells you.
With the winnings of Rs 5 lakh, Suleman intends to save the money to use it in the future. He has also won the IGT trophy and a Maruti Suzuki Celerio.
(The article also got published in The Pioneer Newspaper – http://www.dailypioneer.com/show-time/igt-winner-is-13-and-on-top-of-the-world.html)