'I find fusion exciting'
Santoor virtuoso Rahul Sharma talks to Sonam Savlani about his ‘out of the world’ inspiration for his new album Antariksh.
How is your new album different from the others you’ve worked on?
Two years ago, I performed at a concert where former president A P J Abdul Kalam was present. After the show he came up to me and said the experience made him feel as though he were in space.
The germ of an idea to launch an album on the theme stemmed from that experience. My latest album called Antariksh is based on space and the universe. As a child I was fascinated with Star Trek, and the idea of life on another planet.
This one is even topical—what with Sunita Williams breaking records in space travel and space tourism catching on. The video is out and the album hit the stores on October 23.
Your albums draw from personal experiences..
A personal thread runs through my work but not my collaborative work. For instance I’ve just completed the Confluence (Part Two) with Richard Clayderman and that has elements I haven’t dealt with before. It’s meant for a younger audience and revolves around life and romance. Also, Clayderman dabbles in hip-hop for the first time.
You’ve collaborated with many artists including Richard Clayderman and Kersi Lord is there anyone else on your wish-list?
Enigma, Sting, U2…On the Indian scene, I think, there aren’t many. Talvin Singh and I have talked about teaming up. Nitin Sawhney would be interesting to work with aswell.
A six-city tour of USA with Ustad Zakir Hussain is also on the cards. It will comprise elements of pure classical Indian music
Would you call fusion your forte?
Actually, I wouldn’t because I’ve been trained as a classical musician. I would probably fit in the world music category. I definitely enjoy fusion and find it exciting. Composing would be my forte. I have a music bank from which I draw tunes as and when they fit the theme of an album.
Why don’t you perform at venues in the city more often?
I have been performing in the city but for corporate shows, which aren’t open to the public. On December 27, I’ll be at Mood Indigo performing for college students which will mainly be a fusion concert.
Your music is also being used for a documentary on Buddhism, isn’t it?
Yes, it’s called Life and Enlightenment and is based on Dalai Lama’s life. It includes a narration by Richard Gere.My album Jannat has been selected by the American producers Hannover House to be a part of the bonus material of the five-part documentary.
You have composed music for the movie Mujhse Dosti Karoge.. are there any more Bollywood projects in the pipeline?
As of now, there aren’t any. Bollywood music needs more time. You have to be stationed in one place but I tend to travel a lot for concerts. It’s just a matter of coordinating. After Mujhse Dosti Karoge I was also offered Hum Tum by the Yash Raj banner.
But we mutually decided to work when we could. Also, when composing for a film you have to follow the director’s vision as opposed to your crazy ideas that you could follow when you work on your own.