Award-winning Play Like a Lion travels India to explore the origins and legacy of iconic Indian sarodist Ali Akbar Khan’s music—through the eyes of his son Alam. Carlos Santana, the Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart, slide guitarist Derek Trucks, jazz saxophonist John Handy, virtuoso sarodist Aashish Khan, tabla masters Zakir Hussain and Swapan Chaudhuri provide commentary in this film narrated by Mark Cohen and directed by Joshua Dylan Mellars.
Maestro Ali Akbar Khan, who introduced Indian classical music to the US at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1955, was “The Emperor of Melody,” a national treasure in India and the US, a multi-Grammy nominee, and according to renowned master violinist Lord Yehudi Menuhin, “possibly the greatest musician in the world.”
Play Like a Lion is airing on PBS stations in the US and Canada following its warm reception at international film festivals and the Indian Embassy in collaboration with the Smithsonian. After debuting in Berlin, the film made its US premiere at the Mill Valley Film Festival. The festival run included screenings in Washington D.C., Denver, Vancouver, San Francisco, London, Miami and Houston.