| Picture by Bhubaneswarananda Halder
Behind the great voice is a simple man. Just up from an afternoon siesta, Hariharan greeted us with a smile as we entered his Hyatt Regency suite. “My house is being renovated,” said the singer excitedly, showing us pictures on his cellphone. In town for a concert on Friday, t2 caught up with the music man…
Your elder son Akshay is entering the music industry…
Yes, my elder son Akshay (25) is coming up with an album… very soon… may be in November. I think electro is still unexplored in India. So it is an India electro project, hardcore electronic and trance. It has a lot of strong Indian elements; that’s the new bit. It is his production.
What about your younger son Karan?
He has just finished a two-year acting course from The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute in LA. He is back and brushing up his Hindi and Urdu. He will be ready to act within a year.
You recently composed the music for an album with your protege Lavanya...
I don’t know why people are calling her my daughter. She was my student. She sings with me in my shows. The album is called Maahi. I have composed all the songs. She has sung well, considering it is her first album. Maahi covers different genres — R&B, Punjabi folk, trance, hip hop. Some songs are very filmi.
Why don’t we see you more often on reality shows?
I do them sometimes. I did a show on Zee Bangla (Sa Re Ga Ma Pa). Reality shows actually take up too much time.
Describe the audience in Calcutta...
Discerning! You have music in every household, Rabindrasangeet.... The musical content of each person is very high. There is exposure to good Indian music. It is not stereotyped.
Most celebrities these days are on Twitter. You aren’t…
No. I don’t find the need to. Even my sons aren’t; though they did join Facebook for a few months, they grew out of it.
Your advice to aspiring singers...
Learn new music. Don’t imitate. Be original!
There is Colonial Cousins Once More (Colonial Cousins is a band formed by singer Hariharan and singer-composer Leslie Lewis that released its debut album in 1996) and then there is the ghazal album Hazir 2.
Favourite city to perform in:
(Thinks) I like Delhi, Bangalore and Bombay and, of course, Calcutta.
A singer you love performing with: Rashid Khan.
A newcomer in the industry you see potential in: As a singer, Javed Ali! As music directors, they are all really good, but no one after A.R. Rahman has been path-breaking.
Your all-time favourite singer: Mehdi Hassan.
And in western music: Michael Jackson.
l-time favourite music director: Ilaiyaraaja.
Calcutta food you swear by: Rui maachher jhol and even prawn! I love eating at Aaheli.
Favourite hangout zone in Calcutta: I hardly go out these days, but my wife (Lalitha) is from Calcutta. She was from Gorabazar. There was a hotel called Airport Hotel in that area. That used to be our hangout zone.