New musical spin

IN CONVERSATION

New musical spin

He has always been in the news. He shot to fame at a young age for being the fastest piano player in the world; he was seen amidst controversies of his marriage. However, he has continued to deliver what he is best at — music. The charming Adnan Sami, in his mid-40s, took a trip down memory lane, sitting in a plush penthouse in suburban Mumbai.

“I started playing music at the age of five in Lisbon, Portugal. My father, a diplomat, was friends with a film distributor, so we saw many Indian films at home. For me, the word Burman (music directors R D Burman and S D Burman) was important, not the star cast. Their names, RD and SD, often confused me. But I knew the word meant melodious music. I remain their die-hard fan. Also, all my childhood memories are around music. I took vinyl records out of my father’s stack and played with them,” he added. Prem Nagar and Aa Gale Lag Jaa were two of Adnan’s favourite musical films.

Young Adnan

His house in Portugal had a piano, which Adnan played on. “No one in my family was musically inclined, but my father was a patron of arts, with passion for poetry and every genre of music. His profession took us to many places and I was exposed to international music. When I was 12 years old, my father sent me to England to pursue my studies,” remembered the handsome singer. He went on to complete his LL.B and became a barrister. His decision to take up music as his career was quite revolutionary in his family, and his “father saw the spark in me and lent his support. He told me I had to complete my studies before moving to music. I am grateful to him for that.”

At home, Adnan listened to all kinds of music, including Hindi film music. “I listened to Madan Mohan and Lata Mangeshkar mostly.”

Come teenage and Adnan developed a liking for jazz. Around the same time, his father introduced him to Indian classical music. Adnan trained under Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma. He came down to Mumbai during vacations to learn music.

Thanks to his regular trips to Mumbai, the talented musician recorded his first album there. Adnan’s first Indian music recording on piano was with Zakir Hussain. Though it was liked by all, he didn’t enter the rat race of releasing albums every year. He explained his point of view, “Instead of doing 10 things, I did two things, but I put my heart and soul into it and managed to touch people’s hearts.”

He recently sang the song Sweeta in Shaad Ali’s Kill Dil. It’s composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and penned by Gulzar. About the song recording, Adnan said, “We are all friends and that positive energy showed in the song.” But the best is yet to come, exclaimed the singer.

Back to acting?

The singer also caught everyone’s attention for his drastic weight loss. Does that signal his return to films? “Yes. My previous film was called Sargam (1993), in Pakistan. This time, I don’t play a musician. I liked the script so much that I signed the film. Hopefully, the film will start next year. I hadn’t imagined my weight loss to aid my acting. But, it gave me a new life. I was 230 kg and lost 165 kg. The credit for all I have achieved should go to my late father. You need a trigger to achieve something, and he was mine.”

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