He juggles his work in Bollywood and as an independent singer with remarkable ease. Singer-composer Shankar Mahadevan of the Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy trio was in town on Sunday for the Get Breathless with Shankar Mahadevan Show organised by Diagio.
HT City caught up with him.
There’s been a lot happening for you in Bollywood…
Yes, we are going great now and are really busy. We hardly get time to perform live. I will fly to Malaysia on Monday for a show with Shakti and Zaakirbhai (Hussain) will come all the way from Los Angeles. I will be back in the studios the next day. I am really enjoying doing so many things.
You’ve had three hits, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, Don and Salaam-e-Ishq in the last few months. Don’t you feel that Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is following a formula with a disco, a romantic and a hip hop number in all films?
But that is what the crowd demands. We always have to keep this aspect in mind before composing. We have composed one disco, one romantic and one hip hop funky number in all the films but the content is different. Though Where’s the party tonight?, It’s the time to disco and Aaj ki raat are picturised in a disco, the music and content of the songs are different.
So you do cater to what the director and audience demand…
Of course, the director is the captain of the ship. I always follow his instructions but that doesn’t mean I am ready to compromise on quality.
<b1>There has been quite a controversy with Daler Mehndi alleging his voice has been removed and replaced by yours in Jhoom Barabar Jhoom….
I really don’t think it was a big issue. A singer’s voice can always be removed if the director thinks it doesn’t fit. It has happened in the past, too. Even scenes of the actors get chopped during editing. The matter is in court and it will be solved.
What is the status of the first studio album by Shankar- Ehsaan-Loy?
We are working hard on it. The album will be ready this year. The music’s going to be broadly definitive ranging from hip hop, lounge to club and will be full of energy.
While other composers are splitting, how do you three hold together?
We come from different musical backgrounds. It’s our USP too. We work more like a band rather than just composers. All our compositions come out during jam sessions. I am sure we will never spilt because we understand and respect each other’s creativity.
Do you plan to launch your son, Siddharth? The audience has already heard him in Bunty Aur Babli.
This is something I am never going to do. If he wishes to take up music he can do it but he will have to do it on his own. I can only guide him. Truly speaking both my sons are musically inclined and at times I feel proud. My younger son, Shivam, is only six and a few days back I was taken by surprise when I saw him composing a tune on his piano.
Daler's Take on the Jhoom Barabar Jhoom controversy:
A miffed Daler Mehndi recently got vocal about being dropped from the music credits of Shaad Ali’s Jhoom Barabar Jhoom. Yash Raj Films, the producers issued a one-line explanation — “Yash Raj Films had got Daler Mehndi to sing for one of the Jhoom (Punjabi version) songs, but the terms and conditions did not work out….”
The irate singer reacted by saying that he was “completely shocked at their statement”. He elaborated: “I went out of respect to sing this song for Yashji and Gulzaar saab. During dubbing, Shankar, Ehsaan, Loy, Shaad Ali were all present. They were very pleased after I finished dubbing and were happy with the result.”