Promise of the big break

Promise of the big break
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Promise of The Big Break. “I shall stand by my promise,” says Shankar Mahadevan on giving a break to the winner of reality show, ‘BIG Golden Voice Season 2’.

“I shall stand by my promise,” says Shankar Mahadevan on giving a break to the winner of reality show, ‘BIG Golden Voice Season 2’.

Lata Mangeshkar once said that the music reality shows are misleading candidates into believing that they will find a career in films when the contest is restricted to just a TV show. To an extent she was right but over the years, the rules and regulations of the contests have ensured these contests make a promise to candidates.

Recently Big FM hosted the grand finale of the ‘BIG Golden Voice Season 2’ kicked off by singer and music director Shankar Mahadevan. The contest was conducted on a national level and the winner was promised an opportunity to sing with Shankar Mahadevan. The finale event held in Mumbai’s leading hotel saw a galaxy of singers like Suresh Wadkar, Vaishali Samant and Kavita Seth who sang a few lines for the audience.

After the show I chatted with Shankar Mahadevan over a cup of masala chai as he rambled on music and I listened and inquired.

Excerpts:

You think music has changed in our films over the years?

Of course it has and it must because change is imperative. To qualify change is difficult because while a lot has changed in technique a lot also remains the same about our songs. Music is subject to change depending on the times and the musicians. Over the years the legends have experimented, taken risks be it maestro Hemant Kumar, Shankar Jaikishan or the radical RD Burman. When I came I had to the industry to become a composer I had to establish my identity. We created our debut album ‘Breathless’. It was something that was never done before and it could have been rejected but call it destiny that people loved the album and I was given a second and a third chance. That’s show business.

Did you expect your debut film so soon and were you confident of delivering?

I was not thinking so much, if I had I would have been weighed down. I was just happy working and working with the right people. What was special about ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ is that all of us were young and happy to explore! Looking back it was the magic of youthfulness that has worked. Producer Ritesh Sidhwani took us to Khandala to create the title song but we were so enthused that within three days we created the entire music of the film. When we returned to Bombay Javed Akhtar was shocked! That was the level of our involvement, there was so much bursting within that we were waiting to unleash.

How did the industry react to you at that time?

With a lot of curiosity I feel and which is natural because they were wondering if ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ is a fluke success and we may not be able to live up to their expectations. See you have to understand that we were young, unexposed and unaware of their expectations, which was in a way good because we carried no baggage.

And how was it to work with Ritesh and Farhan again during Rock On?

Compared to ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ which is a new age film, ‘Rock On’ is the story of a band and called for a specific mood and temperament. We looked upon it as an opportunity to court another challenge. The script and the characters helped us and we did a lot of research on discovering new sounds, we toured a lot of discos and bands to understand how they work. The subject required fewer instruments and more of attitude. Initially there was no title song but I insisted on it, so after Javed Akhtar wrote the lyrics it was easy to convince Farhan and Ritesh and as expected the song became a super hit.

You like doing new things all the time?

Yes, for me creativity is experimenting be it with instruments, sounds or voices and that is why when Big FM asked to come on board as judge for the Golden Voice show I agreed instantly. It has been an enriching and a humbling journey. There is so much talent in our country, so much devotion to art all they need is a platform and that is being provided by BIGFM. This is the second season of the contest and God willing there will be many more in the years to come. I wish the very best to all the contestants.

What about the promise of giving the winner break in your film?

I will stand by the promise now and forever…

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