Lucky Ali claims he felt the wrath of people who worked with father Mahmood: ‘They took it out all on me’
There’s no denying the fact that Lucky Ali’s music gives one positive vibes, and his music is probably one of the very few things in this world, that can brighten up one’s gloomy mood in an instant. This positivity is what makes Lucky an eccentric musician – someone who has “too much conscience”, to sing songs which are only created for commercial purposes and someone who, in spite of not releasing an album for nine years, only agreed to work on with an Israeli rocker Eliezer Cohen Botzer on the recent album, Lemalla, because he could feel ‘ a connect” with him.
“I don’t do music, which everyone sort of agrees with. For instance, for me love is liberating, and it can never be sad. A lot of these songs that you listen are so sad, but I don’t think, love can lead to unhappiness. So I create music, which does not cater to everyone’s thought process, but it caters to mine,” he says with a big, satisfactory smile on his face.
This sense of self worth has been in him ever since he was small. Despite being a son of Mahmood, and the nephew of Meena Kumari, two of the biggest stars of the commercial Hindi cinema, Lucky was drawn towards the “alternative film space” and wanted to work with filmmakers like Shyam Benegal, who he calls Shyam Babu.
“Life was a bit changing for me, in the sense that there was my dad on one side, and he represented a certain kind of cinema. But I was always drawn towards the other alternative space, and I started assisting Shyam babu, with his work. One day, I just walked into his office in Mumbai and asked him if he could cast me in his movie. He asked to comeback a week later, and I got Trikaal,” he says.
However, there weren’t many chances he got to work with Shyam Babu. And contrary to the popular belief, Lucky wasn’t exactly welcomed with open arms by the people in the industry because of his father. Lucky says, he felt the wrath of all those people, who worked with his dad, and were very afraid of him. “They took it out all on me. They were like what do you do, are you an actor? Are you a singer? Why do you want to want to do a role in English and things like that,’” he says.
“So I wasn’t enjoying cinema, and I remember Basu Chatterji telling me to not compromise and not to do a certain kind of roles,” he adds. So the result of all of this unhappiness was that Lucky Ali, ran away to work on an oil rig, off the coast of Puducherry. When he was not doing the “ illegal job of painting the inside of the oil tanks”, he used to play his “guitar on the helipad”. “That was the time, when I realised I wanted to do this. Not being on the oil rig (laughs), but music. I really loved that feeling and being in that space, and then I think that’s it,” he says.
It may look like that his eccentricities and his down-to-earth personality, led him into leading a quiet life on a farm in Bengaluru, just like any other entertainment celebrity. But, theres a more moving reason behind that. “Mumbai reminds me of my mother. I was born there and I love the city. But ever since my mother died, I just get reminded of her when I am there. That just….” He stops midway briefly. “And then my dad had a really big farm here, and I really love living in nature. So I shifted here,” he signs off.
A conversation with Lucky Ali will leave you in awe of the man, who only exudes positivity and humility. He did the same, and charmed everyone with his soft, humble voice, when he visited the HT House to promote the album Lamella, for which he collaborated with Israeli musician, Eliezer Cohen Botzer. The hour-long conversation, punctuated by beautiful covers of Lucky Ali’s songs such as Safarnama (Tamasha, 2015) and Na Tum Jaano Na Hum (Kaho Na Pyaar Hai, 2000) by the Delhi-based band Rocknaama, saw the 61-year-old singer-songwriter talk about his journey as an artist, as a musician, and more importantly as he says, “as a person”. The fan queries largely hovered around his music, and his style of songs, and everyone basically wanted to know how he managed to make music which sounds so uncomplicated, yet stayed with them over the years.
“I don’t know what I do. There’s no formula to anything. It’s all a process. It’s not about I, me and myself. It’s about a team, which comes together and follows a process to create a song together,” he says, adding,“For example, Ek pal ka jeena, phir to hai jaana (referring to the song Ek Pal Ka Jeena from the film Kaho Na Pyaar Hai), was an idea that I wrote. I gave it to someone in the team, who then took this idea forward and so on till the final product. That’s what a process is,” he explains.
Another popular question on the floor was Lucky’s alternate choice of profession if he wasn’t a musician. “I wouldn’t have been an accountant, nor a crane operator,” he laughs, adding, “But I really don’t think I know what else I wanted to do. It is this space, and this zone that I am in that I really love and I don’t see myself doing anything else,” he adds.
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