DEEPAK BHATT – From the Local Trains to Bollywood

Deepak Bhatt is now amongst the renowned Masters of Percussion. He has shared the stage with national and international musical geniouses like Zakir Hussain, AR Rahaman, Shankar Ehsaan Loy, Amit Trivedi, Steve Smith, Vishal – Shekar, Pritam, Salim suleman, Shankar mahadevan and various other. He is known to create magic on his dhol and given music to various movies and advertisements. But what many do not know is that before his claim to fame, Deepak actually played the dholak in the local trains as well as on the footpaths and that is where his talent was discovered!

The society would say that he was born into a poor family, Deepak always believed that he was born into music. He gravitated towards the ‘Dhol’ at a very early stage in his life. As a child, he would follow his father and brother to various local festivals and functions and watch them play and this is how he learnt the basics. Practising on a ‘Dholak’, the smaller version of the ‘Dhol’, he decided to follow in his father’s business. He played during functions, in marriages, festivals, even so far as playing on the local trains of Mumbai. While this practice contributed to the meager income of the Bhatt family, it never really satisfied Deepak as his ambitions were much higher, and fate had a different plan for him.

On one particular afternoon, while Deepak played his best on the train between Santacruz and Bandra, someone noticed his potential. This person then introduced him to the master himself, Ustad Taufiq Qureshi a well-known percussionist, composer and brother to Mr. Zakir Hussain, who decided to mentor this prodigy-in-making. Deepak was just 14 then, but he showed great promise and ever since, his passion and dedication towards his instrument has brought him a place amongst the Masters of Percussion.

Despite belonging to a family where even a meal a day for everyone was an issue, Deepak has come a very long way. His story is true testament to the ‘Rags-to-riches’ tales, although despite his current status, Deepak is a very humble man with a very open mind towards music. If we are to take something away from his life, it is to never lose hope, and always follow your heart.