When you think of ‘90s pop music, one name that stands out is singer, musician and composer Adnan Sami.
I don’t come from a music family. In fact, we did not have anything to do with the entertainment industry
His low-pitched, slow romantic songs and the distinct sound of the piano in his videos that had a Bollywood heroine featuring in each were all the rage and quickly became the love anthem for the generation. But, music was not what he got in heritage.
“In fact, we did not have anything to do with the entertainment industry. My grandfather was the governor of four provinces in Afghanistan, under the reign of king Amanullah Khan.
My great-grandfather General Ahmed Jan was military adviser to king Abdur Rahman Khan. My father was in the Air Force and later went on to serve as a distinguished diplomat and Ambassador to 14 countries; he was a highly decorated grade 22 bureaucrat having served as Federal Secretary,” informs the singer about his family tree.
But, perhaps music was in his life all along because the composer started playing from the young age of five years itself. He made his Bollywood debut as a playback singer for the movie ‘Sargam’ in 1995.
Adnan gave us many hits to hum, such as “Thodi si toh lift karade”, “Aye udi udi udi”, “Gela gela gela”, “Sun zara” and “Kiss me baby” are among many others.
However, his style is most enjoyed in qawwalis like the most-recent number “Bhar do jholi” in ‘Bajarangi Bhaijaan’.
So, does the artiste prefer giving a new look to such old numbers? “I would love to work on old songs and in fact when I came to know that I have to sing a qawwali,
I was like ‘me qawwali’? Sure, I composed qawwalis before, but never sang it. But, when Salman Khan approached me and asked me if I would do it, I couldn’t refuse. ‘Aap kandha dena cahate ho tho hum tho hamesha hazeer hai’, was what I told him,” shares the singer.
“We do new things everyday but, support is also important, which he (Salman) gave me at that time. And I think one should experiment with songs,” adds Adnan.
It isn’t Bollywood that enjoyed his voice. Adnan Sami has a deep connection with the Telugu cinema as well. Elaborating on that, he says, “Yes, I sang many songs in films like ‘Shankar Dada MBBS’, ‘Varsham’ and ‘Temper’.”
And, who might his favourite South Indian actor be? “Well, it’s Rajnikanth of course!” smiles Adnan.
Born and raised in London, Adnan Sami has deep roots as a Pathan what with his family being from Afghanistan. So, one wonders what pulled him to India? “It’s quite simple actually.
I am an emotional person and visually, yes, I am a Pathan. But, we (the Pathan’s) have this belief that if you ask us for our life with love, we’ll give it (Aap pyaar se jaan mangonge toh de denge),” says Adnan.
“I am receiving love from India and its people for the past 17 years and it is so precious; my heart belongs here. Sure, I had my own ups and downs in getting Indian citizenship. But, ultimately I got it and I am an Indian now,” he says and adds, “I feel that my birth has some connection with India as I was born on August 15.”