I am still a student of Indian culture, Shekhar Sen
In around 40 years of his illustrious career, Sangeet Natak Akademy chairman Padma Shri Shekhar Sen has established himself as a veteran singer, composer, actor, writer and director. But, still he prefers to call himself “a student of Indian culture”.Updated: Nov 28, 2018 14:00 IST
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
In around 40 years of his illustrious career, Sangeet Natak Akademy chairman Padma Shri Shekhar Sen has established himself as a veteran singer, composer, actor, writer and director. But, still he prefers to call himself “a student of Indian culture”.
“Agar kisiko yeh galat-fehmi ho jaye ki usey sab-kuch maloom hai to woh bada moorkh hai (if someone feels that he knows everything then he is a big fool). India is so rich and vast in art and culture that there is always something to learn. I am also one amongst the lakhs and crores who is trying to learn,” says Sen.
He was in Lucknow to be the part of a memorial event to mark the first death anniversary of Dr Pushpa Vati Tiwari, mother of actor-writer Atul Tiwari.
To his credit are 227 musical albums in which has either sung or composed and written. He has done 1,500 musical concerts across the globe. And, by this month, he will be completing 1,000 theatrical shows of his five plays that he has written, directed, given music and done mono acting.
Talking about his journey he says, “I was born at a musical college (Kamla Devi Sangeet Mahavidyalay) in Raipur which my father had founded. He also founded city’s first theatre. My parents were triple MA and doctorate in music. I am the least educated with graduation in music and commerce.”
He learnt vocals since the age of 3 and also learnt Kathak for four years. “The biggest favour that God has done to me is that he made me an artiste,” he says.
In 1979 he migrated to Mumbai to become a music director.
“I have grown up in the golden era of music in film industry. But, in just two years ‘mera bhram toot gaya’ (my misconceptions were broken). I realized that I can’t be a part of the rat-race as I am not a rat! So, I turned toward non-filmi repertoire. I was making my original compositions, doing shows and that was running my home too,” he says.
Singers like Hariharan, Anup Jalota, Sonu Nigam, Anuradha Paudwal and Nitin Mukesh have sung his compositions. He has given performances all over the country and abroad.
“But, I was not satisfied. In 1997, I stopped musical performances which were my bread and butter! I turned towards theatre and wrote my first musical mono act play Tulsidas. I wrote, acted, directed and designed the play. Then I did Kabeer, (1999), Vivekanand (2004), Saahab (2010) on father-son relationship and Soordas (2013). My subjects of plays are a representation of Indian culture,” he says.
He also took a call of not doing TV and films.
“My mission is to show by doing only theatre you can live with honour and respect. All his plays are musical and have songs ranging from 32-52 in numbers. I have stopped doing musical shows but I do two hours of riyaz everyday and then give 4-5 hours to theatre,” says Sen who was awarded Padma Shri (fourth highest civilian award in the country) in 2015
On a signing off note he gives an example, “In a science experiment, to channelise the light of Sun to burn a paper you need to stay firm, focused and still. Similarly, to do well in theatre (or any field) you need to focus with full force.”
First Published: Nov 28, 2018 14:00 IST