These days, Deepak Bhatt is considered one of the renowned Masters of Percussion. During his career, he has shared the stage with national and international musical geniuses 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 his music has been part of various movies and advertisements. However, what many do not know, is that before his claim to fame, Deepak actually played the dholak in local trains as well as on the footpaths… and that is where his talent was discovered!
Society would say that he was born into a poor family. However, 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. Practicing on a ‘Dholak’, the smaller version of the ‘Dhol’, he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and join his music 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.