Interview By: ADITYA N. NAIK
The singer who shot to fame with the amazing ‘Allah ke Bande’ appears to be nothing but a messenger of God. Having a conversation with this simple man is an enriching experience. He shares his journey with great humbleness and never fails to add songs, dohas and shayaris to compliment his words. The man with a god-gifted voice is back with his band, Kailasa’s latest album ‘Ishq Anokha’ and talks about it.
“To remain original is the biggest challenge in today’s world.”
Your songs carry a certain flavour. So how different is ‘Ishq Anokha’ from your earlier work and what was the inspiration behind this album?
There are eight songs in the album and all are love songs. Do listen to it because you will experience a different kind of feeling only after listening. If you ask me I will praise all the songs and say that they all are different from each other just like everyone says (laughs). I find inspiration in everything. Life always inspires us. Sleep is equivalent to death and waking up every day is equivalent to taking a new birth. Every new day is a gift of god. You can utilise the day to your best and thank him or else you complain and take out your frustration on things and people that you don’t like. It’s all your choice – how you want to perceive it. There are stones and diamonds lying all around. It’s in your hands what you want to choose.
In a time when bands find it difficult to survive and singers are coming with singles, your band is coming with an album, that’s a fifth in the list. How did you manage to survive such long?
It’s been 10 years since Kailasa was formed. It’s not that we never had rifts among ourselves. Sometimes, we were also not on same page but we managed to overcome all such differences and we bonded more with every hurdle. We have managed to reach at this stage only after years of struggle. We were not born with a silver spoon in our mouth. We had to carve our own path. We have seen days of hunger. The kind of background from which we come helps us to be grounded. Tough life makes you durable. That reflects in your manners, personality and lifestyle. I’m also a human. So I have dreams, ambitions and weakness too but my journey has toughened me. I have learnt how to keep away from getting influenced. In life, we love to swim against the current. We love to face the challenges and hence we are subjected to challenges. That’s the aim in life. When there is a team of talented individuals then there will be ego clashes. Everyone would like to lead the team but the fact is that there can be only one king. One can defeat that ego with patience only. If your training is good then you can overcome ego just like that and musicians do have ego. Everything has a quota. There is quota for getting respected, abused, appreciation and all such things. But you cannot decide on that. Destiny decides that for you. What you decide is the quantum of good work that you can choose to do and how can you make people happy. To keep someone happy doesn’t mean you have to lose your originality. To remain original is the biggest challenge in today’s world. Sugar is good but its overdose makes it poisonous. Same goes for salt. To keep a balance in life is one of the most important aspects in life. So it’s important to keep the relationships balanced too. This is how we have managed to survive all these years.
How did you manage to get Nawazuddin on board for the video?
Nawazuddin is a very old friend of mine. We keep meeting very often. One day he was hanging around here in the studio and he listened to the song. He asked to play it again. Then he smiled and said he would love to feature in this song. I clarified that this is an album song but he insisted to be part of the song. So I asked him to ‘Come for the shoot next week!’
Few years ago there was a great market for album music. That market seems to have become extinct now. Do you feel that era will ever come back?
That era has already made a comeback. Saheb, don’t say that the era ‘will’ make a comeback (laughs)! When a life is lost then someone gets a birth – that’s the law of nature. So when this culture of album and non-film music died then a new god came to the rescue. That god has already taken birth and he has arrived in the form of ‘digital’. What was not possible earlier is possible now which we had not even imagined in our wildest of dreams. Earlier if you wished to send a message to Amitabh Bachchan then you had to be lucky enough to see your letter being read in Vividh Bharati beating thousands of other entries. Now times have changed. Not just music, every single message is being sent by my ‘digital’ god, even abuses! Now if you wish to abuse someone, your nicest choice of words can be delivered to them instantly. The new god, whom we fondly call ‘Social media’ are the new post masters (laughs).
“I find inspiration in everything. Life always inspires us.”
Then what do you have to say about the music industry now?
There is nothing like music industry in India. People don’t know much about music here except that music is part of our films. I sincerely wish that there would be a day when we would have a proper music industry in our country. Now it’s filmy music only and it’s pretty shallow. You would be amazed to know that India is a musically rich land where we have songs even on monsoon. In every state there are beautiful compositions in regional languages that we are not even aware of. English has crippled our culture. We are living in a mess now. There is lack of dedication in the ‘so called’ music industry now which has no depth. Music is not meant only for entertainment. Even your breathing process is music. You may say that you are breathing and this is the only form of entertainment that you need but your life is someone else’s life too. If you want to see spirituality then enjoy music as it is the face of spiritualism. Just drive down to Lonavala. It’s a two hour drive from here you won’t find anyone listening to Hindi film songs. Go to Punjab and you will find people going berserk for Punjabi songs. Go to Patna and you will see people dancing madly to the tunes of Bhojpuri songs. That’s the reality. Sitting here we assume that we have digitally launched our songs in a grand way and we call it successful but that’s not the case. May be it will take another hundred years for Bollywood songs to penetrate into the interiors of India (laughs).
Last few years have been quite good for you. Do you choose your songs or it’s the other way?
I had sung for three songs for ‘Bahubali’. All the songs were appreciated. The movie went on to win national award. I also sang for ‘Dum Laga Ke Haisha’ and it also won national award. I had sung for Rajat Kapoor’s ‘Ankhon Dekhi’ and the songs were beautiful. For ‘Housefull 3’ also I have sung a song ‘Fake Ishq’. In a way I’m blessed that all the film songs that I have been part of has had meaningful lyrics. As per my songs are concerned since I write, compose and sing myself I would like to thank god for bestowing me with the musical gift. When I was called to Hyderabad to sing for ‘Bahubali’ my approach towards it was very casual. I thought it would be like singing for just another song. You can also say that I was over-confident. On the day of recording, things were already running late. So I kept praying let the recording get over soon because I had a flight to catch. But when they started the recording, they played the visual and prompted me to start. It was simply surreal. It kicked me and all my notions changed. I said to myself its better if the flight gets delayed and let me give my best to this song. So that was a lesson for me. Being overconfident always backfires. Put your heart and soul into everything that you do. Your five meaningful songs are better than hundreds of soulless songs. It’s like paanch Pandavas are better than sau Kauravas (Laughs)!