What a transformation!

in conversation

What a transformation!

Kabhi to nazar milao...  is still a haunting melody that brings alive images of Bollywood actresses on screen with singer-composer Adnan Sami — the man with the golden voice who had broken all records in CD sales through his triple success of the songs Lift Karade, Kabhi Nahin and Kabhi to nazar milao in the 90s. “These records cannot be broken by anyone as CDs are absolutely passe,” he laughs, his infectious sense of humour in full glow, and his fingers still the fastest on the keyboard.

Adnan Sami is also the man who has reinvented himself through his tough grit alone. “I weighed close to 230 kg, and my doctors gave me only six months to live. I was a compulsive eater. I remember, and so do others, the boxes of brownies in the recording studio that I alone would  eat when I walked in for song-recording. It was a dangerous extreme I had worked myself into,” he reveals. Of course, now, having shed over 130 kg through a “herculean power struggle with his own self” to downsize from an obese person to a healthy person on a diet (that has no place for sugar, oil and rice), Adnan Sami is a force to reckon with, again. “I haven’t undergone any bariatric surgery to lose flab, as everyone assumes. It has been a conscious, dedicated weight-loss schedule through strict diet-management and exercise. “I have been blessed with all, in excess, by God. I believe the secret to success is gratitude to the almighty. I have been lucky to get so much love from across the world, it’s overwhelming,” maintains Adnan, who is busy performing at shows spanning the US.

He is also in preparation for his debut as an actor. Technically, he debuted as the lead actor in the Pakistani film Sargam, years ago, and ended up marrying his leading lady, film actress Zeba Bakhtiar. “But the roles that I am looking at now bring in an element of excitement. I play a con man in one and an irreverent risk-taker in another. They are Hindi commercial films,” divulges the man. “It’s something challenging that takes me out of my comfort zone. I am raring to start work on them,” he adds.

And while he charges ahead, Adnan believes in educating himself through the evolving flavours of technology. He has converted his plush three-level residence (lined with Persian carpets and mother-of-pearl inserts in the flooring) in Mumbai into a smart home — all wired up and available through a flick on his iPad.

Of course, he is quick to credit Roya, his gorgeous wife and a tech whiz, who weeds out any technical glitches in the day-to-day e-functioning of their home. “My love for classic elegance runs deep. I went to a boarding school in England, and each classroom there was laced with robust heirloom desks with artistic carvings. I complained to my teachers that I could not write on paper as the surface of the desks were etched with signatures. I was reprimanded. They said that the same desk was the one the likes of Winston Churchill and Francois Chamberlain had used when they had studied there. So earlier on in life, I began to value tradition and learned how to value classics. Just like I love Persian carpets. I owe my knowledge of the tufts and weaves to my father,” reveals Adnan.

The walls of his home are dotted with treasured picks: The original manuscript of Moonlight Sonata by Ludwig Von Beethoven, scores of original gold and platinum records of international singers, bought at herculean price points at Sotheby’s auctions... “These are my Mona Lisas,” he says with a flourish.

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