Monday, January 12, 2009

How Shekhar Ravjiani, singer, is busting loose! An Exclusive Drift Interview

On Luck By Chance - the first great soundtrack of 2009 - composers Shankar Ehsaan Loy invited Shekhar Ravjiani to sing for them. Shekhar had lent his voice to over a dozen Bollywood tracks before - all his own compositions as part of the celebrated pair of Vishal-Shekhar. And the thought of recording someone else's composition made him a tad bit nervous.

But Shekhar's unique voice - full of mellifluous, robust timbre - married to the dreamy, gurgling ballad Yeh Zindagi Bhi ended up among his best work to date.

Enjoying a truck load of well deserved wah-wahs for his work, Shekhar was cool enough to make some time and stop by the Drift to tell us why the song is giving him new found confidence to uncork his voice a little more this year.

AspisDrift.com: Hi Shekhar, great work on Yeh Zindagi on LBC. Is this the first time you’ve sung for someone other than Vishal-Shekhar?

Thank you and yes! I’m glad Shankar Ehsaan Loy thought me good enough to sing their song.

AspisDrift.com: Tell us a little bit about the song. How did you end up getting it? Why do you think you got picked? What was the recording like?

Shekhar: For the last two years now Shankar has been singing for us. I love his voice. I think he is one of the foremost playback singers in the country. He can sing anything – from classical to a western song. Any genre is comfortable for him. And I love his voice.

Every time he used to record with us, he would leave the studio and say “Shekhar I want to record a song with you haan!” And I would say “Sure, any time man!” SEL are all very dear friends to us. We hang out regularly. About 6 months back, I got a call saying I should come over and record a song with them.

I was very happy and nervous at the same time. This was the first time I was going to sing for another composer. As a friend I knew there would be a great level of comfort with Shankar. But there is a different kind of nervousness you feel – (where) you hope you don’t mess it up.

So I went there and Shankar made me feel as if I was in my own studio. Shankar made me feel as I was singing my own song. The whole experience was finished in 45 minutes to an hour and (all along) I felt that I was in a party or something. All of them were there and they were just having a great time. Every line I would sing, these guys would be like “Superb, man!”

There was this crazy amount of energy and comfort level for me. I’m very happy with the way this song has turned out.

AspisDrift.com: You have a fairly unique voice. It’s dumdaar but also very soulful. But you seem to have sung a lot of songs that are soulful/romantic. Ever felt like testing your pipes with a zordaar, high notes song or is that not your style?

Shekhar: The thing is – once the song comes to you, that becomes your style. Its destiny. Maybe I’ve done all these romantic songs and that makes it feel that its my style. At the end of the day I think a singer should be versatile and sing different kind of songs. For example, my partner, my friend Vishal sings rock songs and then romantic songs. I feel very happy for him.

Personally I’m starting to figure out that maybe I can sing a bit. The biggest composers in India have called me to sing a song. People have appreciated my voice. There must be something in my voice. Maybe it’s time to find it and work hard on it.

A lot of people tell me: “Why don’t you sing your own songs”. I would love to sing my own songs! But at the end of the day it should connect with people. There is a song called Aazmale in Taxi 9211 – a lot of people inside and outside the industry called me to tell me that they loved that song. I just took my rough vocals on the track just to get an idea as to how the composition was going. All of a sudden Vishal walked and then (director) Milan Luthria walked in and they told me my voice completely locked with the song. So they asked me to sing it. And I said sure, no problem at all.

So sometimes what happens is that the voice just has to lock with the song.

AspisDrift.com: I think Jogi Mahi (from Bachna Ae Haseeno) is your most challenging work after Aazmale. Do you agree or does some other song stand out as being your most challenging work?

Shekhar: Jogi Mahi was a big, fat, full Punjabi song! It needed that kind of attitude. Romance also. At the same time it needed to be light and soulful. I’m glad (director) Siddharth (Anand) thought I should sing that song and I gave it a go and it worked.

We needed another character in the song so we got Sukhiji to sing with me. He’s always such a great inspiration for singers.

AspisDrift.com: You really like that guy don’t you?

Shekhar: I love Sukhiji! Have you heard that song Dil Haara from Tashan?

AspisDrift.com: Hasn't everyone?

Shekhar: He rocked that song!

AspisDrift.com: Ok, let’s talk about your work last year. You sang two tracks on De Taali (Aaj Mein Boond Hoon with Shreya, Hone Lagi with Anushka) and Jogi Mahi with Himani Kapoor on Bachna Ae Haseeno. How did you end up casting yourself on those tracks?

Shekhar: Those (first) two songs I sang just to fill things up. There were a few lines required so I said let me just go and sing it. I’m definitely building some confidence to sing more. I’m doing another song on Aladdin coming up in May.

My playback singing confidence has increased a bit because of all the love and faith people have shown in me. I’ve gotten messages and calls non stop since Luck By Chance. It feels great. I feel like doing more and better every time I go behind the mike.

AspisDrift.com: I remember mentioning this to you once but your live performance in The Unforgettables concert took me by surprise. I had expected Vishal to be good but you were a revelation. How come V-S don’t do as many live shows as say SEL?

Shekhar: We’ve started like mad in the last one and a half month. We’ve been doing them non stop! We perform for all kinds of events, corporate events. People who have seen us and want to have us perform for them. We are pretty mad on stage.

Unforgettables was just 15-20m or so. But if you see V-S live for about an hour and half, it’ll be like you are on a roller coaster ride.

AspisDrift.com: I should definitely catch a longer V-S show. What is my best bet for catching you live?

Shekhar: Whenever we perform if we are near you or you are near us, I will give you a buzz and you will be my guest.

AspisDrift.com: Ok Shekhar I have an exercise I want to do with you. There is a mad Vishal-Shekhar fan called Mind Rush on the Drift who once did a psychoanalysis of you for us. So I'm going to read out the analysis and you tell me how accurate it is.

First piece of analysis: Shekar eagerly jumps up on stage to dance. He's passionate, exuberant, impulsive man


Shekhar: Absolutely true!

AspisDrift.com: He stands behind the singers or to the side while on stage. He does not need to hog limelight. Also, thoughtful, observant

Shekhar: The singer is the most important person on stage. I wouldn’t want to block the singer. It’s the singer’s space. Its his performance. Its his time. There is a moment for everyone in life. Blocking the singer and saying rubbish doesn’t make any sense. So I always move away and let the singer get his due.

AspisDrift.com: He keeps his hands in his pocket while dancing. The man keeps secrets. No matter how well you get to know him, it’s hard to ferret out all his true feelings. He is an introvert

Shekhar: Kind of true. I don’t know what to do with my hands when dancing!

I’m more introverted than say Vishal. You can never talk about yourself but when people say I’m introverted, then ok I am. I am like that.

I believe in things that people go through – God gives you something you have to respect. Not like a few other people who try and grab the limelight that they are not supposed. Grab the limelight with the work that you do. Not with the shit that you talk on stage. That is always what I’ve believed.

AspisDrift.com: He dances on stage for all 3 contestants. A true lover of music! Ingrained sense of fairness and decency

Shekhar: Always!

AspisDrift.com: Bindaas dancing on stage even though dancing skills are modest. Music helps him overcome his inherent shyness. Does not obsess over his image

Shekhar: My dancing skills suck! But when I go on stage I’m an animal. I become a different person.

Just a couple of days back we did a concert on Jan 2 (The Turf Club at the Race Course – one of the beautiful places to play in Mumbai). You’ve seen us jumping on stage. Vishal and I – we burned the stage down. It was best ever concert!

We were on stage for 1 hour and 15 minutes. We sang about 15 – 16 songs, all the club hits of this year and last. We were mad on stage!

So basically when I’m on stage, its about entertaining people!

AspisDrift.com: Which song gets the biggest reactions when you sing these days?

Shekhar: These days its Desi Girl. I kid you not, when we played Desi Girl last time we didn’t get a chance to sing. The audience was singing all the way till the very end. People went insane when we played Maa Da Laadla. Deewangi, Dard-e-disco – only our crowds sing that. This year was great for us!

AspisDrift.com: You seem to be a very level headed person. Haven’t you done or said anything crazy ever?

Shekhar: Every human being makes a mistake – everyone does something mad in life. I believe that when its music – something you really love and respect, you must do the right things at the right time.

I had no idea about this fighting and people crying and fainting and going crazy on the sets of Sa Re Ga Ma…or any reality show. It used to cheese me off completely.

When I participated in Sa Re Ga Ma, I’m talking about 12-13 years back, there used to be singers from Suresh Wadkar’s classes, from Bhimsen Joshi’s gharana. They used to these classy people who used to just come, sing and go! It was never about two judges fighting, it was never about jokes being cracked. It was never about bizarre things happening on stage. I know its entertaining for people. But I just couldn’t react to it. I feel like if I get called as a judge, let me do my job and leave.

AspisDrift.com: Finally, mandatory Drift question: can you fold a fitted bed sheet?

Shekhar: Well, no! I can’t do that. Or the person making me do this needs a lot of patience. That’s a tough one – I’ll leave it to the maids.

AspisDrift.com: Thanks for doing this with us Shekhar. My best to bhabhi and the rest of the family

Shekhar's discography as a vocalist
  1. Dil Se Mere (Pyaar Mein Kabhi Kabhi) - 1999
  2. Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai (Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai)- 2001
  3. Bollywood Calling (Bollywood Calling) - 2001
  4. Churaya Re (Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein) with Priti and Pinky - 2001
  5. Chhaha (Supari) with Sunidhi Chauhan - 2003
  6. Hamesha (Krishna Cottage) - 2004
  7. Cuckoo Cuckoo (Home Delivery) with Sunidhi Chauhan - 2005
  8. Aage Peeche (Golmaal - Fun Unlimited) with Sneha Pant - 2006
  9. Aazmale Aazmale (Taxi No 9211) - 2006
  10. Kehne Hai Jo (I See You) - 2006
  11. Sajnaji Vaari Vaari (Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd) with Sunidhi Chauhan - 2007
  12. Cash (Cash) with Sunidhi Chauhan, Vishal Dadlani - 2007
  13. Aaj Main Boond Hoon (De Taali) with Shreya Ghoshal - 2008
  14. Hone Lagi (De Taali) with Anushka Manchanda - 2008
  15. Jogi Mahi (Bachna Ae Haseeno) with Sukhwinder Singh, Himani Kapoor - 2008
  16. Yeh Zindagi Bhi (Luck By Chance) with Loy Mendosa - 2009

49 comments:

musical said...

Aspi! and i am saying a big thanks!

And THANKS A TON Shekhar, for all the lovely music you guys make! Woo hoo!

Too excited to speak :).

Bella said...

woo hooo!!!!
yay for Aspi for this brilliant scoop

and yay for Shekhar for the fab interview

keep it rolling... :)

Deep said...

never thought desi girl would be such a big hit. it plays on the radio everywhere

Mind Rush said...

Driftji,
Thank you for bringing us the man and the musician in one astonishing interview! Such a treat. Shekhar is one of those rare musicians who can and does do everything well (Well, maybe not everything...he can't dance and he can't fold a fitted sheet :-))

His voice has sur and emotion. It has gravity. BTW, will he extend the invitation to hear him to card carrying Drfiters like me?

Mind Rush said...

And yes, Drift saab, my thanks that you ran my phaltu analysis by Shekhar. Even tho' I say so myself, looks like I was right on target!

I want to add to my previous analysis:
"Shekhar R.'s self report interview reveals that he has the ability to use humor and play in daily life. This man is secure enough about himself to be self-revealing, and honest in his transactions. His transparency will lead him to conflict at times with some musicians who wish to manipulate reality show janta using false emotion and drama."

BTW, people seeking deep insights into their lives may contact Mind Rush c/o Drift.

Aspi said...

Mind Rush, you were dead on. And thanks for gracing the Drift and focusing your laser-like psychoanalysis on celebrities.

Shekhar, thanks for hanging with us on the Drift and the corrections to the discography. Hope I have everything right and this becomes the definitive Shekhar list!

girlie girl said...

WOW!! I HAVE NO WORDS BUT WOW!! ok, maybe i have more to say...but Aspi, what an Awesome interview!! Thanks Shekhar for stopping by here...you guys are truly gifted and amazing musician!!

And Aspiji, what can i say, your interviewing skills have become sick (in a good way!!)

Mind Rush, way to nail this thing on the head! I kinda want an analysis of my own now since you're psychoanalyzing skills are so dead-on!

Keep the celebs coming...

musical said...

Mind Rush ji:

So spot-on! His music is beyond words-he lets his work speak for itself!

He may not dance that well, but boy! does he burn the stage! I was lucky to have attended the Unforgettable Concert in LA, and Vishal-Shekhar rocked it! They (for me) were the liveliest, zaniest act! I can go on and on about this :).

Kanan said...

Aspi, I think I'm gonna cry - khushi ke aansoo... :'D Thank you, Aspi & Shekhar.

How come no link to Shekhar's this song? I feel that was the most beautiful song Shekhar sang on SRGMP after "dil se mere" of course.

jeet hi lenge baazi hum tum
khel adhura chhute na
pyaar ka bandhan janm ka bandhan
janm ka bandhan toote na...


Now the Drift is officially aakha blogworld mein world famous!!!

Btw, MR, that was some heck of an awesome analysis.

xoxo

meena said...

Felt like hearing all those songs again..but darn was at work. had to wait to come back home. Great interview.

..awesome start for the year aspi now youve done it..expectations are high.. only Himesh will do next :) or maybe judge javed..

Ritha said...

Aeee Shekhar! Thankx Aspi!!. That was awesome.

Aspi said...

Wow, Shekhar really is popular :)

meena, I wouldn't know what to ask Javedbhai. You will have to help me if he will ever let me get near.

On the other hand, I'm hoping I can work out something with his super charming daughter.

meena said...

..we can always ask if he can make up a quick lyric on a fitted bed sheet :0

musical said...

Aspi: "Wow, Shekhar really is popular :)"

Like you didn't know before ;).

Mind Rush, yes, Shekhar's sense of humor=awesome! He he, i totally loved it when 'head ji' asked him about how he met Vishal, "Aap dono ki mulaqat kaise hui" and Shekhar replied, "Mere parents inke ghar proposal leke gaye they" :-D. Or when he called Toshi a "locheshwar" ;).

Aspi said...

Great question - maybe I can find Anu Malik to do it as well.

musical, I agree. He's very entertaining to talk to.

Aspi said...

Kanan, what is that song?

I couldn't find a lot of Shekhar's songs. In fact, if Shekhar hadn't helped me with a partial list - I would have missed his early work.

These streaming music sites all have so many errors in them. And then there is this business of listing Shekhar with the last name Kavjiani. Where did that come from?!

musical said...

Oh yeah, Kavjiani, i saw that too! On Dhingana, i guess. Is it because K and R look similar ;).

"Jeet hi lenge baazi hum tum" is a very old song, but a beautiful one. Would love to hear it Shekhar's voice. Here's the song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmddEDxEeqE

musical said...

Btw, one question about the song from Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein: Did Shekhar sing for Harris Jayraj or did Vishal-Shekhar compose this song 'Aaya re aaya?

Aspi said...

Thanks for the link. Man that Dharam was hot! All those old shots of him on SRGMP two weeks ago reminded me of that.

I love that album: RHTDM. Whatever happened to the composer dude?

musical said...

Ok, found it :).

Churaya Churaya re:

http://ww.smashits.com/music/hindi-movie/play/songs/9066/REHNAA-HAI-TERRE-DIL-MEIN-II/77421/CHURAYA-CHURAYA.html

Dharam : Love him in "Ya dil ki suno duniya walo".

Joules said...

Just one word, wow.

I do wish SRGMP would go back to its older days. Although its getting worse. Saw snippets of last week and there were lot of Himesh being p***ed moments.

Joules said...

RHTDM is one of my fav. albums too. Too bad the movie didn't click.

girlie girl said...

I actually kinda liked RHTDM! I dont kown why, but it gives me the warm and cuddly feeling!

I agree J, SRGMP is getting really cheesie and annoying. I saw the episode last Friday after a really long time and I was thoroughly annoyed. The singers are great and amazing but so much drama follows with that so to me it's not even worth watching.

Aspi said...

I watched RHTDM because Mum likes Madhavan. But it wasn't bad at all.

musical, thanks for the link.

Watched SRGMP last week - it was great! I need to do a review if I can get the screen caps without millions of asian virus' infesting my PC.

Kanan said...

Aspi, "jeet hi lenge" is Khayyam's composition and Shekhar sang it on stage when Khayyam sahab was one of the judges. I'll have to find out exactly which episode that was but it was amazing to listen to such a beautiful oldie in Shekhar's voice along with Khayyam sahab. Fun days, those were!

musical said...

Kanan, i hope we can find that clip :). Would be awesome!

Aspi, Madhavan is hot! He was soooooo good in Alaipayuthe.

Cinderella said...

Hey!

wow! loved this!i wish we'll hear more of Shekhar's songs in future..like Jogi mahi..he was fantastic!

and i'm loving the whole soundtrack of LBC.it's sooo awesome!

i remember the 'churaya churaya' song..they used it for the movie promotion...but i'm not too sure if it featured in the main movie.

Aspi,the 'bollywood calling' in the discography links to 'churaya churaya' from RHTDM.can you fix that?

Aspi said...

cinderella, glad you liked it and thanks for pointing out the error. I fixed it.

So what happened to Madhavan - did Ramji Londonwalle or whatever do him in?

musical said...

I read somewhere that Madhavan (along with the rest of the RDB cast) will be starring in Aamir Khan's movie based on "Five Point Someone" bye Chetan Bhagat. Aamir is featuring in the movie as an MBA student and Sharman Joshi (whom i like, he's cute) also features in this flick.

Harris Jayraj, MM Kreem, they both haven't composed for a Hindi movie in a long long time, though Harris is still active in Tamil movies.

ppl said...

Excellent Aspi,your interviews are a fantastic read. I would never have known the little tidbits that you dig up.
Mujhe kuch kehna hai was shekhar, well congratulations, that is pretty much the only song Tushhar Kapur ever carried off, now I know it was all the singing. Love that song btw.
Also 'Tashan mein' was copied from my player at the restaurant I work at and is now a part of the metal head kitchen crew's work playlist. Many thanks.

Aspi said...

The song that surprised me was Aage Peeche from Golmaal. Shekhar said he's done some modulation on it to make it sound retro which makes it difficult to pick his voice out.

Leera-Ppl said...

Dil se mere is in my all time top 5 and that was their early work.
I remember pyaar mein kabhie kabhie especially, because that was the only cd we had on our state level swim meets to gandhinagar and it got played nonstop for a whole week on the bus. Now I associate the opening notes of woh pehli baar to dawn chilliness and the smell of chlorine.

Pri said...

no dev d music review?

Aspi said...

I've been listening to Dev D a lot, Pri, but I just don't know how to review it. Someday I'll sort through all the elements at play in those songs but until then I have no idea what to say :(

What do you think of the CD?

Aspi said...

leera of the ppl, "Gunmaster G-9" reminds me of the smell of musty cinema seats - because those were the only halls that would play Surakshaa.

musical said...

Dev D is a fairy versatile score. I like the rock version of "emotional atyachar"(very catchy), and "payaliya" reminded me of Madan Mohan's "Baiyyan na dharo" (no, don't get me wrong, they are are not similar, but the voice and the genre just took me back to that song). Yes, Dev D review plz! And it is nice to see Aditi's song here.

musical said...

Re: "Kyun aage peeche", that song is awesome, isn't it. Shekhar and Sneha really did a cool job.

Total treat to watch. I heart Sushmita Mukherjee. She hasn't changed one bit from her Karamchand days!

Aspi said...

musical, how do you know Aditi and all these lower profile musicians? I thought I was the only music geek around here :)

musical said...

Aspi: I like listening to indie bands/singers :).

Btw, did you know this thing about Delhi 6? The official music is to be released on 19th or 21st, but it's already out on some websites!! I didn't know about the launch date and like so many people, got a sneak peek of this soundtrack. Masakali is my pick (Full-blooded Rahman song! He's back in form), the rest may grow on me with time. Also liked the instrumental at the end of Rehna Tu.

Aspi said...

I did notice the commotion around it :) Haven't heard it yet. Do a review for us!

musical said...

He he, sure! How do i go about it?

Aspi said...

Easy. Email it to me: ahavewala {at} gmail.

Mind Rush said...

Drift saab, I love Meena's idea. Please interview Himesh next. I am dying to get my analytical tentacles around him (his neck, actually.)

In the interview you can also create Maha Yuddh by quoting Shekhar to Him-Mess.

Anonymous said...

Musu musu haasi, dew mu lai lai musu musu haasi dew.

Zaara muskura de muskura de zara mukura de.........AE KHUSHI:)

I loveeee this song from Pyaar Mein Kabhi Kabhi.

Anonymous said...

late comment: but this is the actual mujhe kuch kehna hai song sung by shekhar. the one posted in this site is KK...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aKuOADnPTE&feature=related

Aspi said...

Thanks! Made the change. Speaking of which - haven't heard anything from V-S since Dostana.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

hiiiiiiiiiii.. sakher i reali like u will i need u u loking so hot cool can u doing fun with me plz call me tyhis no >09853435422 plz

neelam said...

Yeah shekhar is a great singer .. i like his songs too much .. specially his first private album that was released in 1998 :)