Kailash Kher’s down-to-earth demeanour is reflected through his singing as well as his way of living. Though the artiste owns a bungalow in Juhu, one of the affluent areas in Mumbai, the interiors of the house are simple and minimalistic. A bronze statue of Lord Shiva adorns the centre of the living room with a picture of the singer with his son Kabir, hangs on the wall. After a short wait, we are greeted warmly by Kailash, who begins the chat over a cup of kahwah (traditional Kashmiri tea). Excerpts from the interview:
What has been your biggest fan moment?
It was with my mother. She had a serious and a calm demeanour. She would neither get excited nor upset over anything. After my father’s death, my mother developed dementia. As a result, she didn’t remember things. However, to my surprise, she remembered the lines of my song ‘Allah ke bande’ (Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part II; 2003); she used to sing it cheerfully. She passed away in 2012. This moment (of his mother singing the song) will remain with me for the rest of my life. I am glad my parents saw my success.
Do you miss anything from the days when you were not a celebrity?
I miss nothing. Life is a journey. One gets to experience joy at different stages of life. You must embrace everything with love. I’m thankful for whatever I have today. When I came to Mumbai, I was in my mid 30s and I had nothing. But I was resolute to explore music. I am stubborn. When I decide to do something, I make it happen, no matter what.
Do you want your son Kabir to explore the field of music when he grows up?
He (Kabir) has an inclination towards music. However, I don’t think about him becoming a musician. As a matter of fact, I don’t think about what profession he will choose. I believe a child’s destiny is sealed, the moment he or she is born. We can’t decide [their future]. I just want Kabir to grow into a good human being. That is most important.
Do you prefer independent music or Bollywood music?
Independent music surely gives you the freedom to do the work you desire. Fortunately, I have received appreciation and love, for my albums. With Bollywood music, an artiste doesn’t have creative freedom. These days, music directors are given a reference to [other Bollywood] songs. They are told, “Jee iss gaane jaisi koi dhun banaiye (compose music similar to this song)”. Music composers here have no choice but to deliver what is asked of them. This is the reason the quality of music is poor today and there is less scope for creativity. However, there are people who are doing good work and making efforts to create better music. Bollywood music rules in India, unlike in Western countries, where independent music has a big market. We can just hope that the scenario changes here too.
You pen down the lyrics of your songs. Do you ever plan to publish your poetry book?
I have been thinking on these lines for a long time. Many people have asked me to compile my poetry and publish a book. I feel poetry should have mysticism, love, longing, purity and devotion. My poetry has multiple layers, which people find intriguing and they connect to it. If you listen to the lyrics of songs nowadays, they only talk about superficial love and physical appearances. They lack soul. The lyrics of the songs from my latest album, too, give you a different interpretation of love, on a purer and deeper level.