A popular Bollywood playback singer today, Kailash Kher is still in touch with his roots. His heart goes out for folk and fusion music still and the guy doesn't leave an opportunity to pitch in. Looking forward to NH7 Weekender, Kher is all buoyed up about performing in Delhi, which -- he says - always gives him a good high. During the interview over the phone, Kailash talks about how he is a fan of humanity and hums a few songs to illustrate his point.
You keep doing interesting things like composing a song for Anna Hazare during his campaign and now for Sachin Tendulkar, tell us something about it and how did it happen?
Music, for me, is not just entertainment, it is a thought provoking medium. Whenever I face any emotional moment, it drives me automatically. It's not a piece of my intelligence, because I don't have one, it's a piece of my soul. It provokes me, it moves me, it affects me, and it influences me. I was casually chatting with Suresh Raina online in October when I suddenly realised that Sachin is soon going to retire and we will no longer see him in action. That's when I decided that something special needs to be done for this special human being.
I am a fan of humanity. I was with Aamir Khan around the time he was shooting Mangal Pandey. I told him that I was his fan even though I haven't seen any of his movies. I said I had heard that Aamir was a good human being and I was a fan of that. He started smiling and next day he personally gave me Lagaan's DVD.
Cricket is special because people heard my voice for the first time during a cricket series, World Cup 2003. I had recorded a jingle for Hero cycles which would play during the breaks. These are the moments I share with cricket.
Did you get a response from the Master Blaster himself?
I shared the idea with him. His response was: "Wow, Kailash Kher will be composing a song for me. I am already a fan of his." I sent the first CD to his house but unfortunately could not follow up with him whether he heard it or not. I was very busy and so was he.
Since you have recorded songs in 18 languages, are you planning to sing anything apart from Hindi songs at Bacardi NH7 Weekender Delhi too?
My hit songs are in every language but I think it's not a good idea to incorporate other languages at this point of time. I would love to perform Kannada songs in Karnataka or Malayalam songs in Kerala and so on.
What makes Delhi so special?
Delhi is my homeland so everything that I sing or say here is like singing for my family. Everything becomes special. My energy levels are high here.
You have done decent number of shows so far, do you prefer performing live or record in the studio?
Live performances give me an extreme high, they are pure romance. Every venue and every audience is new -- they are there for you and you are there for them. It's an unsaid bonding. It's like going for a date and you're assuming so much of excitement. There is so much anxiety that you can feel butterflies in your stomach. The audience also reciprocates.
Fusion is coming up in a big way and you also tried your hand at it during Coke Studio and MTV Unplugged. How was your experience?
India's music scene, in terms of performing and listening, is changing in a huge way. Sensibilities are changing and art festivals are coming up. We still have a long way to go because we lack revenue but at least we are doing better than before. Few things are changing drastically. There was no NH7 Weekender and no Coke Studio two or three years ago. People are open to new things. We have a big market for films. However, non-film music has a niche audience but still we exist and manage to survive.
There is buzz about you writing an item song? Is that true?
Yeah, I am doing a film called Desi Katte. I am doing six songs. Whenever I do movie songs, I write, compose and sing it. That's what I did in Dasvidaniya, Chandni Chowk to China and the Allah Ke Bande song. Now, I am doing a movie in which one of the songs is an item number. When I came to Mumbai, I did not understand the term "item song". Now that I do, I don't believe that item number needs to be sleazy and titillating. I plan to make it classy with mass appeal. It will be cool rather than vulgar.
Coming back to composing songs, there is a trend of popular singers supporting political leaders or activists. Share your thoughts.
When a movement happens and you see people supporting it in large numbers, you tend to question the situation and yourself. If your heart supports something, you need to follow it through. Ultimately, you're a responsible person and it is up to you if you want to contribute. Earlier, I would run away from things like this but today the youth is coming out and making their opinion count.
Kailash Kher will be performing at the Weekender fest.
Event date: November 30 to December 1, 2013