|Shaan tries his hands at the drums at Spring Club. Picture by Aranya Sen
One of Bollywoods favourite voices breezed through town recently. Armed with a smile, his easy charm firmly in place, Shaan spoke to t2 about his commitments, frustrations and the need for music that is fresh, tuneful and honest...
Both Antaheen and Jackpot release on the same day, both banking on music in a big way. What does this mean to you, having sung for both?
Theres a lot of new things happening in terms of Bengali films and music. Im happy being a part of this change.
Ive had the good fortune of singing some really nice Bengali songs for Antaheen and Jackpot. For Antaheen, it was back to acoustics; the music is very modern and catchy in terms of musical grammar and instruments used. Even lyrically, its music was very satisfying. Jackpot was special because Ive sung a remake of Jiboney ki pabo na. I hadnt heard the song till we finished recording and freaked when Jeet told me it was a legendary song by Manna Dey.
What prompts you to sing for Bengali potboilers?
If I had to catch a flight to come and sing for these films, I wouldnt have. But it all happens in Mumbai. Often, its just a professional commitment which prompts me to take up what comes my way, be it Bengali, Assamese, Oriya or Hindi songs. I know that my Bengali isnt as Bengali as it should sound. But often, as Im told, the music director or composer purposely wants that twang in a song.
And well, you dont refuse work.
Isnt it tiring juggling playback singing and singing contests?
Its called time management. You just switch on and switch off and thats what Ive been doing for all these years. Whats wonderful is that you can own a song, travel to different places, express certain emotions. Then you take your cheque and come back home to have dinner with your wife and kids. I think thats fantastic. The best thing about being a singer is you come back home. I could never take up acting.
Youve done exceptionally well in the past few years. What next?
I hope Im still a long way away from feeling that Ive done it all. Theres a lot more I anticipate as a singer, hitting a few notes or bringing in a few nuances to my singing.
When it comes on screen, it shouldnt jar or sound entirely different from the actors personality either. As a creative person, I like to use that in my singing. If its Abhishek Bachchan, I wouldnt be too jumpy, because he has a certain restraint to his style. Likewise, Saif has this Anglicised western space, which I try to bring about in the song without disturbing the aesthetics. Im training under Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khansaab; it helps me maintain my voice.
What about the album with Sagarika?
We brought out a Bengali album last year based on our fathers work. Something went wrong with the distribution and it wasnt well received. I dont want to release my dads work like that. There should be reverence or respect for his work. We want to do something in Hindi as a tribute to our dad.
What about composing for films?
At the moment, Im very low about my talent as a composer. My record label has rejected all my compositions for my new album! The company is serious about making music that is commercially viable and the creative person in me is being slammed ó choor choor kore chhere diyechhe shetakey! Im trying to bridge that gap. I am reworking the stuff and I have also asked Jeet (Ganguly) to compose a few tracks for me. There are certain signature things I want to write or talk about.
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