If you think nobody could have made Slumdog Millionaire's soundtrack better than A.R.Rehman, think again. Shankar, the self confessed Rehman fan, has given a truly fusion feel to this innovative cover of O Saya. As he says in the intro to the song, "This is my arrangement of A.R. Rahman's "O Saya", from the soundtrack of Slumdog Millionaire. It features my sister, Akshaya, playing cello. The glitchy sound at the beginning was created using cello and izotope's "stutter edit pro" plugin. The only drum I used in this was the ganjira, though I tried various mic placements and EQ's to make it sound really big."
In an age where videos and sales drive the music scene, Shankar has relied completely on the online platform to distribute and sell all his music. And it worked. His YouTube music channel, The Shrutibox, features his fusion compositions and has garnered two million hits. He has collaborated with Mumbai-based classical singer Nirali Kartik and Washington DC-based vocalists, Vidya and Vandana Iyer.
Not content with instrumental fusion, he has also experimented with a Indo-western mash-up featuring Adele's hit track Rolling in the Deep with Rahat Fateh Ali Khan's iconic track O Re Piya.
The 24-year-old clarinetist studied clarinet at New England Conservatory in Massachusetts from sitarist Peter Row, but it was a chance discovery of Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia's music, which inspired him to come to Mumbai. Though a student of flautist Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia at the Brindaban Gurukul in Mumbai, he has picked the clarinet over flute. In fact he disclosed in an Interview to an Indian Express that his guru doesn't even know about his fusion experiments.
While his mastery over the clarinet can't be doubted, he can play tabla, guitar, kanjira and an eclectic mix of eastern and western instruments. He magnificently blends the essence of jazz, pop, Indian classical to create seamless fusion.