Private Project

Rasan Piya

Through a portrait of the life of Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan, an Indian classical vocalist and poet versed in Awadhi and Braj bhasha, the film delves into India's Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb (a syncretic Hindu Muslim culture), the student teacher relationship and the encounter of this tradition with modernity. In the contemporary landscape of a divided India, Abdul Rashid Khan and his music symbolize a resolute resistance against the looming shadows of communalism. The film Rasan Piya is an attempt to document, preserve, and honor his enduring legacy.

  • Niharika
  • Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan
    Key Cast
  • Akshay Madan
  • Niharika Popli
  • Mathew Arackaparambil
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Genres:
    Biography, Music
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 19 minutes 20 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 15, 2015
  • Production Budget:
    12,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    Hindi, Urdu
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Indian Film Festival The Hague
    The Hague, Netherlands
    October 9, 2015
    Dutch Premiere
  • Film SouthAsia
    November 22, 2017
  • Mumbai International Film Festival
    January 20, 2016
    World Premiere
    Jury Special Mention
    June 12, 2016
Director Biography - Niharika

Niharika is an independent filmmaker and editor. Her debut documentary feature, Rasan Piya, based on the life and music of Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan, received the Tareque Masud Award for the Best Debut Film at Film Southasia 2017 and Special Jury Mention at Mumbai International Film Festival 2016.

She has edited Vani Subramanian's documentary feature, Sometimes Up Close, Sometimes from Afar about changing and evolving spaces of viewing cinema in India over the last 100 years, Safe Access - a documentary about the challenges faced by the LGBTQIA+ community in India while accessing healthcare and a documentary on Dalit Artists of Mithila, Bihar.

She created video narratives for Roysten Abel's Weaving Voices that premiered at the Mahindra Roots Festival in 2023 and contributed to Chaitanya Tamhane's internationally acclaimed Marathi film The Disciple.

Her film and exhibition titled, The City That Spoke To Me, made in
collaboration with artist Pakhi Sen, premiered at Film Southasia in 2022. Her most recent documentary feature. If I Could Tell You opened with a special screening on the International Day of Sign Lanquages at Museum of Art and Photography, Bangalore in September 2023 and received an award at Purple International We Care Film Festival on disability issues.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

I first met Baba in 2007, at a SPIC MACAY concert. I have vivid memories of that concert and of how deeply it affected me. Since then I've keenly followed his music. Having been tremendously inspired by him, I always wanted to document and share his very special story.
Besides his music I was also struck by his child-like innocence and wonder, which I’ve tried to capture in this film as well. Exploring the interplay between the child and the sage in him was perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the time I spent with him.