The Albatros around my Neck – Retracing Echoes of Loss between Lucknow and Berlin

Sarod-maestro Irfan Khan is the representative of a musical dynasty in India – the Lucknow-Shahjahanpur-Gharana. Irfans anchestors shaped classical Indian music. Among them was Sakhawat Hussein Khan, Irfans grandfather, who was one of the first Indian musicians to perform on European stages in the 1930s.Filmmaker Markus Schlaffke follows Irfan Khan beginning in 2014, when Irfan returns to India after having taught music abroad for several years, to resume his concert career and to arrange the family affairs.

From there on, the film documents Irfans efforts to take care about his musical heritage, which he is afraid could be falling into oblivion soon. Without institutional support, Irfans preservational undertaking becomes at times a frustrating business – or as Irfan puts it: “It feels like an albatross around the neck!”. The film tells the story of some of the most influential Indian musicians. It turns out to become a journey through a landscape of memories that begins in Lucknow’s palaces and leads to German archives.