From composing music for movies such as Jhankaar Beats (2003), Anjaana Anjaani (2010) and Befikre (2016) with Vishal Dadlani, to lending his voice to songs such as ‘Bin tere (reprise)’ (I Hate Luv Storys; 2010), Shekhar Ravjiani has entertained audiences with his multifaceted vocal talents. Ravjiani, who made his acting debut with Neerja (2016), says he enjoyed the experience of acting. Excerpts from an interview:
This is your second song in the “spiritual series” after ‘Hanuman chalisa’, what made you sing such songs?
Ever since I embarked on this journey of independent singles, I have chosen the less trodden path rather unconsciously. My first two singles were two Marathi songs, ‘Saazni’ and ‘Saavli’ followed by ‘Butterfly’ in Telugu. And then ‘Hanuman chalisa’ happened. Triggered by the memory of my beloved grandmother, recording the Hanuman Chalisa was an instinctive decision. The song resonated with people, especially the youth, in an unprecedented way. I got messages about how much it helped them find peace. I figured that there was a space for “spiritual” music. My rendition is an attempt to add a softer, soothing vibe while retaining the inherent power associated with the prayer.
Watch Shekhar’s rendition of the Gayatri mantra here:
How did acting happen?
While composing music and singing has always been my focus and passion, acting interested me. I never pursued it, because music kept me extremely busy. But as destiny would have it, a year ago, a casual discussion with co-producer, Atul Kasbekar and director, Ram Madhvani, who were in the process of finalising the cast for Neerja (2016), led me to accept their offer to play the role of Jaideep. They felt I would be perfect for the role, and even though the role was short, it was an important one and required a bit of preparation. The entire experience of facing the camera and working with talented co-actors taught me a great deal. Most importantly, I realised how much I enjoyed acting. The overwhelming reaction of people towards the role and the love that poured in was reassuring.
After Neerja, are you looking at more acting offers?
I have never planned anything in life and have let my heart and instincts lead the way. I have enjoyed acting and am looking forward to doing more of it. Any role that excites and challenges me will be something I would like to consider. With the kind of phenomenal scripts and stories that are coming to life in our industry today, I see a very exciting phase emerging for actors with more complex, real and unusual characters.
You have judged reality TV shows. Do you think these shows actually help discover talent or help participants get a break?
I have judged nine music reality shows till date, and I genuinely believe that every single one of them has helped unearth outstanding talent, especially from the smaller towns and villages. Music is God’s gift, and not everyone is able to translate that into a serious pursuit or profession. These shows give all kinds of people a chance to be heard, appreciated and discovered. And even if they aren’t able to immediately achieve their dreams, the encouragement that they get from the mentors and judges is a great motivation for them to take up music seriously.
You recently collaborated with British pop rock band, The Vamps. Are there any more collaborations with international artistes in the pipeline?
The Vamps collaboration was a lot of fun and extremely successful. While we had been offered many such collaborations in the past as well, this one caught the attention of people worldwide. We are considering other collaborations. Talks are on, and announcements will be made soon.
Watch the official video of Beliya featuring The Vamps here:
You have performed at various concerts over the years. How has the audience changed over the years?
Concerts have been my favourite way of connecting with my listeners. There is nothing more real than the moment when I am there amidst all of those people who have loved and enjoyed my music. Nothing brings me closer to them than the feeling of singing every single word of every song along with the audience. While the audience changes in terms of their musical tastes and knowledge, the core remains the same — the same energy, magic, and love.