Like any other talent landing in Bombay, Kailash Kher once sang film songs to survive. But the passion of this essentially sufi singer was hugely influenced by maestros Kumar Gandharv and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
I am overwhelmed and happy that my song in the film ‘Shivaay’ is being liked by one and all. Before saying anything about myself, I would like to mention that people say that I am an arrogant person, that I cancel my recording if it is not according to my taste. Well, I am fortunate that people change their perceptions after meeting me. People who know me closely can certify how much struggle is hidden behind the rise of this popular singer Kailash Kher, and this is the very reason that I love to remain grounded.
In the year 2002, I ran away from my home in Delhi to Mumbai but returned to Delhi after a few months, as I was unable to adjust there. But I returned to Mumbai in 2003 against all odds.
Well it was not my cup of tea to do playback singing in Hindi films and because of this fact, till date I have never approached any producer/director for any assignment. I came to Mumbai to sing in my own voice and in my own style, as Mumbai was considered to be the haven for artists.
I thought of searching my favourite music directors and then to compose music for them. I then got an opportunity to sing jingles. Initially I was paid Rs 5,000 per jingle, then it rose to Rs 7,000, then Rs 10,000, and it went on increasing. By that time, I got accustomed to the climate of Mumbai.
Like all the other friends of mine, my days were not a bed of roses and I had to struggle hard. Definitely, I also faced the same problems which my friends have faced. Let me be frank. I came to Mumbai from my house with Rs 2,000 in my pocket and occupied a PG accommodation for Rs 50 per day, which gave me a bed and a common washroom. I used to eat outside. On the whole, my accommodation and food would cost me Rs 70 per day.
I had brought two things from my home, an ordinary mobile phone and a bike. Whether I had food to eat or not, but my mobile phone had sufficient talk time balance as well as sufficient fuel in my bike. There were times when I had to skip my food just to fill petrol in my bike, and it was during those hard times that I often used to question the Almighty God as to when my struggling period will get over, and whether everybody else had also faced these hardships. Then I heard a voice from within, that everybody does not even get this chance to struggle and make a career in Mumbai and that was a consolation for me.
Many people used to give up hope and return without waiting for the day when the doors would open. I did not give up and worked hard waiting for the new day to be ushered in.
My first playback debut was for the film ‘Baaz - The Bird in Danger’. My music director was none other than Ismail Darbar. I was fortunate enough to have sung the song with Sunidhi Chauhan. After the song was released, I called up my elder sister and told her that she can see my name on the cover of the cassette, and that too along with Sunidhi Chauhan. Sunidhi’s name was in the beginning followed by my name in the corner. I just could not forget the happiness which I had experienced that day.
Change is the need of the hour. Many people opine that melody has lost its significance in today’s music. I don’t consider myself competent enough to comment on this, but would like to say that there was a time when transistors and bicycles were all we had, but these are gone. Now it is all about smart phones and mobikes. Therefore, we have to mould ourselves with the passage of time, whether it is your professional or personal lives. If you put on a blue clip on your hair people might ridicule and make fun of you. But my question is, why?
Is it necessary that whatever you don’t understand is always wrong? Everything may have been at their best during the previous generation. But that does not mean that everything in this generation is all bad. We have to accept everything with an open heart. But to some extent it is true that we have to take care of our generation as it is drifting towards marketing of every item.
I have often been asked as to who is my favourite singer or whose songs I love the most. I would say that I rarely listen to any film songs. If I have liked some song, it could be by some unknown singer. May be a folk singer who puts his soul into the song. One thing really hurts me. And that is, to remain in the market a classical singer has also to sing disco songs. In my 12 years of singing career, I have sung songs in more than 20 different languages. I say it with pride that never have I sung a song against my desire. Since I also sing folk-rock, one can see me singing dance numbers in between. Basically I happen to get offers for these kinds of songs which I normally turn down, but sometimes I feel that singing a few songs away from the mainstream should not be such a huge issue. One more thing, my wife Sheetal is a great fan of my songs. Her favourite songs are ‘Daulat Shohrat’ and ‘Sach Na Batana’. Sheetal herself is a short filmmaker and writes editorials for a paper as well. Apart from this my five year old son is a hard core devotee of my songs. He listens to ‘Beetles’ and also tries to tune in to my song ‘Teri Deewani’.
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