In the winter of 2003, American sitarist, Andrew Mendelson ventured to India on a trans-continental musical quest. As a long-time student of North Indian Classical Music, Mendelson was invited to Rajasthan to study under his Guru, acclaimed sitarist, Krishna Mohan Bhatt. On a whim he entered a music competition and won first prize: the Sur Nur, or Light of Music award. It turns out this seemingly local event – the Sri Mahendra Bhatt Music Competition – is the largest Indian music contest of its kind in the state of Rajasthan. What's more, Mendelson was the first American ever to compete for, let alone win, this prestigious award. A Cricket in the Court of Akbar follows Mendelson as he returns to India to compete for the grand prize in the Tournament of Champions, the Sur Sadak competition. Amidst rigorous practice and musical study, he finds that his western lifestyle is at odds with the centuries-old practice of Indian classical music.
Doubting his place in the Hindustani tradition, Andrew dives into the culture – the great monuments and colorful landscapes – to better understand the roots of this music. Can Andrew overcome this culture clash as he competes against the next generation of India's musical masters? And, can North Indian classical music exist in a world where Western cultural values and modern commercial interests rule a changing India?
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