It’s a career that's spanned a little over a decade and has witnessed a change in how music buffs listen to Bollywood music. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Bollywood’s go-to musicians have been one of the industry's few music composers to bring about that change.
Recognising this feat, the trio were honoured with the Years of Excellence at the recently concluded JD Annual Rock Awards held at Hard Rock Café. Amidst a room filled with contemporary musicians, rock junkies and electronica artistes who collectively form the Indian indie scene - SEL walked away with the biggest honour of the evening.
“I am very happy to be conferred with this honour,” says Shankar Mahadevan, the lead singer and co-composer of the trio. Although Mahadevan missed the ceremony, he gave his thank-you speech from Dubai and spoke about how the Indian music industry let him spread his classically-trained talent pan film, radio and even stage.
“I started out as a classical musician and dabbled with world music. Bollywood never seemed like a possibility. I found Loy (Mendonsa) and Ehsaan (Noorani) and formed a band. At most we thought, we’d play a few gigs and record some albums,” recounts Mahadevan, who is thankful that Bollywood happened to them at a time when the industry was opening up.
“What used to be considered alternative then is contemporary now,” says Mahadevan, whose debut track as a solo artiste called Breathless in 1997 is still one of his most requested tracks.
“2010 has been on our landmark year as a band. We went live on stage, toured the world and now there is so much to look forward to. I never thought a decade in the industry meant a lifetime too,” smirks Mahadevan.
Besides their film projects, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have also given the anthem of the Cricket World Cup 2011. “We’ve composed three versions of a classical-folk, rock song De ghumaa ke in three languages. One of our most energetic numbers,” he says.