Be it ‘Chand sifarish’ (Fanaa; 2006) or ‘Jab se tere naina’ (Saawariya; 2007) — Shaan (below) has entertained audiences with numerous tracks in a career spanning 20 years. The popular Bollywood singer will perform live in Mumbai after nearly a year, today (October 15). Shaan says for him, the idea is to “promote good talent”. Here, the singer talks about the ban on Pakistani artistes and how children are given “false hopes” when they participate in music reality TV shows.
Do you think reality TV shows help in making stars out of ordinary people?
They (reality shows) provide people with a platform [to showcase their talent]. Today, because of the rise of social media, a singer doesn’t have to wait for film offers. Singers can create their own music, upload it on YouTube, and become stars. Having said that, it all depends on the kind of work musicians do after they garner a following. They can’t just sit and languish their careers.
A lot of kids these days participate in music reality TV shows…
When I was eight or nine, we didn’t have public platforms such as reality shows. But it’s changed now. Justin Bieber became famous at 16, and whatever happens in the west is reflected in India. Children need to be guided well by their parents. At music reality TV shows, we don’t tell the participants that they will be the next Sunidhi Chauhan or Shreya Ghosal. Singing coaches give false hopes to children. These kids have their whole lives ahead of them. If they reach their peak at 13 or 14, then their career is finished by the time they are 20. There have been many
one-hit wonders in our country. A singer’s foundation should be solid. He or she should be able to sing all kinds of songs. That’s probably a reason why we have managed to stick around in the industry for the past 15 to 20 years.
Today, there is a trend where one singer, for example Arijit Singh, is singing most of the Bollywood songs…
True. But that has always been the case. There was a time when Kumar Sanu ruled the Bollywood music industry for about six to seven years. Arijit, of course, is versatile. However, other singers are beginning to sound like him. So today, an Ankit Tiwari and a Jubin Nautiyal sound alike. The freshness to songs is fading; all songs sound alike. That is why these tracks aren’t becoming popular. While all singers are talented, they need to find their own style of singing.
You have worked on a few Pakistani projects. What do you have to say about the recent ban on Pakistani artistes in India?
What has happened in the past month has been disturbing. There have been times when my songs have been credited with the name of a Pakistani artiste. Indian singers have been performing all over the world. However, we never get to do so in Pakistan. It is legally challenging. We’ve been generous [to Pakistani artistes] all these years. Our soldiers are unnecessarily dying. No Pakistani artiste has ever voiced their displeasure about it. Maybe they are scared, and I can understand their dilemma. However, these Pakistani musicians, who are doing well in their careers, will say [bad] things about India and Indian musicians. I am a huge fan of Mehdi Hassan and Ghulam Ali. They are undisputed in what they do. But the newer lot is not very different from our Indian talent. In fact, I think our artistes are more in tune and have better diction. Why are we getting so desperate? There’s no dearth of talent in our country. It is not a Pakistani singer or actor’s fault. However, they also need to show that they are exponents of social change as well.
Tell us about your upcoming projects.
There are a couple of films I will be singing for. The good thing is that they are not big films. So, it’s not like that I will be working only on one or two songs. I am creating the entire soundtrack of one of the films with my band. When we did a song for Great Grand Masti, no one even got to know about it. The projects that I will be working on have a good ensemble cast.
What can the audience expect from your upcoming live performance?
I am excited because this is my first concert in association with Happydemic. It is the first time that a concert is being supported by this organisation. The idea is to promote good talent. As artistes, that’s the least we can do.