Shaan: Kishore Kumar, Mohd. Rafi & Mukesh ji are Gods of music

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The immortals of music industry, Kishore Kumar, Mohd. Rafi and Mukesh will be once again brought to life by none other than Bollywood’s very versatile singer Shaan, who is set to pay his tribute to the three varied voices through a special concert ‘Live, Love and Laugh Shaan Se’. But what makes this show all the more special is the fact that his entire family is involved into it, especially, it brings the brother-sister duo Shaan & Sagarika together after 14 long years.

As we caught up with the singer, Shaan shared about the show’s format, his love & understanding for retro songs, sharing stage with di Sagarika after ages and much more in glamsham’s special section Music Mania. Read on

What made you come up with a special concert ‘Live, Love Laugh Shaan Se’?
Actually, Radhika, my wife, whenever she has been with me to the shows where I have sung the retro songs, she figured out that people really enjoyed it a lot. But they don’t get enough of it or come across usually because everyone’s doing only fast-paced dance songs these days and coming from an established voice like me, it would just make it more meaningful. For years, she has been telling me but I have been delaying it every time. So, finally she decided to take things in her hand and actually create a show for me where she can just have me as a performer. So, she is spearheading it.
Roshan Abbas, who would be hosting the show and also a music connoisseur, gave his inputs.

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Over the years there have been several tributes to the legends mentioned, in what way this show would be different?
Every day we discover that a certain artist is paying tribute to a certain other artist but no one has combined three voices that really define Hindi film music over the years. So we thought it would be unique. Also, it would add a little new twist, like to do justice to the classic songs is something that not most singers of today can pull off because they have their own typical style. With this even people would come to know that these are the songs that are close to Shaan and he sings Rafi Sahab, Mukeshji, and KishoreDa renditions very well.

But instead of doing all the songs, the entire show is well conceptualized. We would be having three segments Live, Love and Laugh. Each segment is filled variety of songs.

Live is basically when you are alone or in a certain mood and you want to feel refreshed. They are simple songs with simple lyrics and lovely hummable tune. These are the songs which give you inspiration like ‘Ruk Jana Nahi Tu Kabi Haar Ke’, ‘Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata Chala Gaya’, etc. If you had bad results or some bigger tragedies of life, it's songs like these that help you to be a better human, fight your fears and be able to understand.

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Then there’s a segment of romantic songs which is missing in today’s age because it is very broody, intense or almost on the negative side of the romance or very frivolous. They are frustrated romantic songs and give negative vibes. They only touch certain aspect and you are just yearning or pining for something. Today we don’t find that two-way, nice breezy & happy romantic feeling in the songs. So we have picked up songs that celebrate love, not the ones where love is a weakness or it is a problem. ‘Tere Mere Sapne Ab Ek Rang Hai’, ‘Tum Aagaye Ho Noor Aagaya Hai’, are for the couples celebrating two way love not the one-sided brooding love kind of situation. We have also avoided keeping the regular orchestra songs like ‘Jaane Jaa Dhundhta Phir Raha’, which are done to death.

Last section would be pacy but not the comedy songs like ‘Ek Chatur Naar’. When you think of Raafi Sahab and fast-paced numbers, you think of Shammi Kapoor. So there’s a great medley of Shammi. Then we have songs that Kishore Da has sung for himself. At the end it’s all dhamaal and fun songs

According to you the three words Live, Love & Laugh, represent or suits well which singer (Rafi, Kishrore & Mukesh) respectively?
Believe it or not but first we had thought of doing philosophy songs of Mukesh ji, romantic songs of Rafi Sahab and masti ones of Kishore Da. But as we listed, we realized that Kishore Kumar has more philosophy songs than masti numbers. Whereas, Mukeshji has more romantic numbers and Rafi sahab, of course, being the most versatile of the lot, we realized all three of them have got songs for every occasion. Probably, if someone sneezes also, they have song on it. So, in every segment we will have all three of them but there’s no sadness or tear-jerking tracks. There are songs which has tinge of sadness but that make your sadness also look positive.

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But you have your own list of chartbusters, why not a show on them?
I have been doing that from last 15 years. I am going Colombo next week where I’ll be doing my songs only. Yes, even I have the list of multiple genre songs but I wanted to give tribute to the voices that have really inspired me. The audience would be expecting that Shaan apne hi gaane gaayega. So here it would be nice to hear me singing the retro songs. It would be unique for me also.
Apart from Kishore, Rafi & Mukesh, there have been many singers from golden era, who swayed us with their voices. Why not them?
We had been brainstorming on different ideas from quite some time. Initially, we had a plan of commemorating 100 years of Indian Cinema with yesteryears’ golden voices. A musical evening where we will pay tribute to seven great male voices with Lata Ji Asha Ji and Geeta Dutt. But when we divided like Sehgal ji’s 4 songs, Talat ji’s two songs or for that matter any other singer, we realized that we were not able to justify their quantum of work. Somehow we weren’t enjoying it that way. Also, in two and a half hours it was almost impossible to justify anything.

Each singer has huge list of songs. You can really go crazy listing it. Even if you take just one singer, you can end up with a 5-hour show. So, we figured out that we can create three moods, themes. It is as good as attending three shows in one concert.

Moreover, we have just started with ‘Live Love Laugh’ and done with Kishore Rafi, Mukesh ji. We have plans to continue it in series. Probably, next time we will have different set of singers. ‘Live Love Laugh’ is now a property. There will be songs that touch your life, heart and keep your feet moving. It would mostly have greats from the past, since you have to start with the surest foot first and then move ahead.

Also, when you travel to different cities and countries, these are the names to reckon with or the most sought-after names.

Despite hearing their songs time and again, what do you think why people are still crazy about the trio?
They are the Gods of music! Look at Mukesh ji we lost him in 70s, we lost Rafi sahab in 80s and Kishore Da in 1987. It’s been more than 25 years and Radio is still playing to Kishore Kumar songs. If you are playing antakshari, most tracks are of Kishore Kumar. It’s quite interesting that these are the voices that have surpassed every generation. Three-four eras have come and gone, but they still hold that kind of respect, interest with every age group.
Have you included industry friends as well in the show? Are you sharing the stage with them
No, I won’t be sharing the stage with anyone. We didn’t want to turn it into a circus. There is a set plan and you have to finish the show within two and half hours. Once you open the house to everyone it will become a different show. I have attended several shows of my colleagues and sat through the entire show without being invited to the stage. Besides, the whole uniqueness is about Shaan doing three voices.

'Kishore Da, Rafi Sahab & Mukesh ji have surpassed every generation'

After 14 long years, we will see you and your sister Sagarika together with this show?|
Yes we are performing together after a long time. She has been busy. We both got engaged in our respective lives with marriage and children. She moved to London for five years. It is something again Radhika only thought of that we should perform together. So there are segments where we are paying tribute to our dad, my kids are also performing. Then Sagarika is singing with me. So it’s a big family reunion for everyone to see (smiles).

Have things changed over the years between the two of you? How would it be performing along sis again?
No our relationship as brother and sister hasn’t changed. We haven’t performed together over the years. We used to do our own pop songs but it’s quite very different now. This is the first time we are doing a show like this. Sagarika loves such kind of songs. She is preparing hard for the show and looking forward to it.

Do you miss singing along with her or felt alone all these years, since you guys started out together?
Yes of course I miss her. We used to have lot of fun when we performed together. We toured a lot of countries together and did pop music. But then I got into Bollywood singing and di got busy into her own kind of music. It wasn’t a plan that we would be working together all the while because it does get odd at times because your career graph change. When we were doing shows together we were equals. At one point of time, I was even backing sister.
But I never felt alone. When you are performing you have your audience with you. There’s no chance of feeling lonely. On the contrary you feel top of the world. I did my kind of work and she was jamming with interesting different world music in London. You can’t have same co-singers every time. If you stay attached how growth will happen? She walked her journey and I walked mine.

'I miss singing along with Sagarika'

Since you share similar sensibility, didn’t you guys think of a business together?
To quite an extent we share same sensibility but I have gone ahead and sung some of these commercial songs, that I might cringe at. We are exactly the same but maybe I look at it as experimenting. While Sagarika has a very strong taste. She got many offers but she refused it.

We are not business people anyway. If I tell her to sing todays’ songs she will probably kill me. Business is a last thing that is on her mind. She doesn’t really enjoy masti tracks or item songs, as is the norm today. Di enjoys retro songs.

Are you coaxing her to come back?
She should get that itch again to be on the stage and perform. May be post the show.

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