Singer Najim Arshad finally gets his due on the top of the charts
2012 has turned out to be Najim Arshad’s year. After four years of waiting on the sidelines of the Mollywood music industry, Najim, one of Malayalam’s better known reality television stars and the winner of Asianet’s ‘Idea Star Singer - Season Two’, has finally sung his way to the top of the charts.
Najim began the year with the hit ‘Thottu thottu…’, a duet for Lal Jose’s Diamond Necklace, with music composed by Vidyasagar, and has since then found himself on the music charts, finally acing it with the solo ‘Kannunillil nee kanmani’ from V.K. Prakash’s Trivandrum Lodge, the music of which was composed by M. Jayachandran. In between, he’s also sung for Veendum Kannur, Friday 11.11.11 and Rasaleela. Najim’s latest is ‘Thulli manjinullil’, the title track of Lal Jose’s Ayalum Njanum Thammil, which is set to release on October 18.
“I’m beyond thrilled! I had been wishing for this kind of success for such a long time now,” says Najim, his excitement buzzing down the phone line. “‘Thottu thottu…’ has turned out to be my lucky charm and I am most grateful to Vidyasagar sir for giving it to me. A year or so ago, I had gone to Thrissur for a live gig with a couple of dozen other up-and-coming singers for a tribute concert to Vidyasagar sir. I must have done something right that day for a few days later, I got the call asking me if I would like to sing for him!” adds the city-based singer.
Najim also counts being able to sing for Jayachandran as one of the other highlights of the year. “The melody of ‘Kannunillil nee kanmani’ is quite different from my usual style. Whenever I hear the song now, I still can’t believe that it’s my voice. Apparently, a lot of other people can’t believe it too!” he says, bursting into laughter. “All credit to Jayachandran sir. I was quite nervous during the recording session because the melody is romantic and light and playful at the same time. Realising my nervousness, Jayachandran sir came to me a said: ‘This is your song.’ That was such a morale booster,” recalls the 26-year-old, who debuted as a playback singer in Mollywood with ‘Mizhineer…’ in Major Ravi’s Mission 90 Days (2007). Over the years the genial singer has had a handful of high notes in his career such as the songs ‘Omanichumma…,’ a group number from Casanova, and ‘Akaasam…,’ a duet with fellow reality star, Vivekanandan, from the film Doctor Love (2011). He has also sung for a number of music albums and debuted with his solo album I’m Here earlier this year; the Tamil song ‘Idayanila’ from the album went viral on YouTube. But he’s had nothing on the scale of what’s been happening this year.
Indeed, it’s no mean feat that Najim has been able to cross that final hurdle into mainstream playback singing; a feat that only a few of the plethora of reality television stars in Kerala have been able to achieve. “I got my 15 minutes of fame but more than that my stint on television gave me a stepping stone into the industry. That was a big advantage. I’ve never been one to push myself into other people’s faces just so that I can sing in a film. Whatever has come to me has come because the music directors thought I would be best for that particular song. And because of that I’ve got to sing a lot of good songs; songs that got noticed even if the movies failed at the box office,” says Najim. After a contemplative pause, he adds: “Fame is not everything and you should not go ahead bowing to its diktats. I think I’ve managed to succeed because I go ahead with confidence and lots of hard work and because I still believe I am a big zero! I strive to keep myself rooted to reality, after all, what’s the guarantee that my voice will remain like this forever?”
Najim, who has a graduate and a post-graduate degree in music from Sree Swati Tirunal College of Music (he was the University of Kerala topper for his B.A.), credits his parents, Shahul Hamid, an administrative assistant at the Vigilance Office, and Ruhma, a music teacher, for this outlook. “I’ve always been passionate about music. My parents have always encouraged me and my siblings, brothers Ajim Shad, a doctor, and Sajim Noushad, an audio engineer, to pursue our dreams. With that kind of absolute support, how can one not succeed?”
Upcoming this year
Ayalum Njanum Thammil