Beyond the material...

skilled

Ten years after he entered the profession, the greatest satisfaction Kailash Kher has had is that his success has not been restricted to its material sense.

Poet-musician : Multi-talented Kailash Kher is a musical force to reckon with.

“There is spiritual progress within me as well,” says the maverick singer, composer and writer. “The almighty has given mesome skills, that alone explains how an untrained artiste like me has reached this height and is loved by the people and
associates.”

His latest album, Rangeele, with its wide assortment of songs from the languorous title track to the different Dharti pe jannat, which features Amitabh Bachchan, demonstrates what he terms “my natural evolution as an artiste and a person.” Nothing in his album, he tells you, is calculated or aimed at the market. Paradoxically, he wants a bond between his listener and every song.

“For me the lyrics and the tune usually come together. Besides the songs I sing for others, all songs in my albums are  made in terms of lyrics, music and vocals alone,” says Kher. “My production is looked after by Paresh and Naresh Kamath, with whom I have formed the band Kailasa.” Rangeele is Kailasa’s fifth album in eight years.

“The band has done 800 shows globally and I thank the almighty for this too. He has bestowed blessings beyond my expectation, for, at many of these concerts, there was not a single Indian in the audience. What found a connect was the language, a language that went beyond the Hindi words. It was the language of the soul as expressed by the body.”

A true artiste of the people, Kher says that he was a kora musician when he came to Mumbai. “My music was an empty canvas for my fans to paint whatever colours and strokes they wanted onto it.” As anyone who meets him will vouch, Kher talks in pure Hindi with complete ease and conviction. Poetic phrases are a norm with him.

Of his innings in films — his first splash was with Vishal-Shekhar’s classic Allah ke bande from Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part II (2003) — he is equally happy. “I have done what I can only term as a very big song — the theme track of Gali Gali Chor Hai composed by Anu Malikji. The lyrics by Rahat Indori saab awaken our conscience. The song has even been filmed on me. Then, there is the item song Main teri fan ban gayi from Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya.”

Kher’s past successes as a singer include Rang deeni (Dev), Chak de phatte (Khosla Ka Ghosla), Yun hi chala chal (Swades), Damaadji (Radio) and the title-track of Love Sex Aur Dhokha. Of course, his band, Kailasa, has also composed music for a few films like Dasvidaniya and even some songs in Chandni Chowk To China.

Kher feels that his success is due to a commitment he has made to himself, to be a cut above the rest. “I give a lot of thought to what I do or take up. I am averse to anything shallow or run-of-the-mill. When I never took up such work when I was yet to make a name, why would I do so at this stage? The other issue I had to address was, ‘What can I give that is new, refreshing and interesting, and that stands out?’” says the singer about his approach to work.

He adds, “Even in my childhood, I was never attracted to the easy way out — mujhe routine cheezon ka shouq nahin tha. And mind you, the idea isn’t to impress anyone. But this depth and lyrical beauty gives me some strange internal joy. My last album was called Chaandan Mein.

People were curious, and mixed up chaandan with the commonly known chandan or sandalwood. They asked me and I explained that chaandan mein means ‘in a moonlit night.’ ” And that’s the spur he wants to give his listeners — revive forgotten Hindi words and phrases, as well as Indian musical instruments.

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