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Beyond the frills

Arguably the fastest pianist, a booming music composer, singer, and wannabe actor. Meet Adnan Sami

IF LAUGHING is healthy, then you have a reason to believe that you have discovered the secret behind Adnan Sami's size. Listening to him talk so ardently about music, for which he showed a talent as early as the age of five, you can't fathom from where he derived his inspiration. After all, he is popularly referred to as the "fastest keyboard player in the world," somebody who reportedly for the first time played Indian classical music on the electric piano. Not to forget his Limca Book of Records distinction of becoming the only Asian artiste to have sold out Wembley Stadium in London for two nights in a row!

Father's piano

"Unlike in many cases, my father was not a musician. An immigrant from Pakistan, who worked in Portugal, he had a soft corner for music though," says Adnan. What began as childhood fun turned into a life-long love affair. "My father had a piano which he used to play at times after a hard day at work. Once I saw him out of the house, I used to fiddle with it. Not because I loved the sound of a piano then, but just to do what I was told not to. My father was not a good pianist; he was trying hard to play a tune one day but failed. I showed him how to do it rightly. I was five then. It amazed him and he put me under training," Adnan relates.

Danish Radio

Even uncovering the belief that he plays the fastest piano in the world, was by fluke. "I was once giving an interview for Danish Radio and Television Broadcasting in Stockholm. After the editing team found out that I was quite fast on the piano, they tried to set it on slow motion. To their surprise, it still was so fast to the camera speed of 24 frames per second that the keys blurred. This episode led finally to the recognition," he explains. Not thinking of deliberately attempting to be fastest, Adnan says, "it just happened while playing it. It is definitely not a marathon."

Biggest selling album

Entering the Indian music scenario in 2000 with the sell-out album Kabhi To Nazar Milao, Adnan reaped instant fame. Followed his subsequent album Always Yours - Adnan. His record title Tera Chehra became one of the biggest selling albums of 2002 in India, U.S. and Canada.

Not cocooning himself into private albums, he soon winged into Bollywood tracks in movies such Ajnabee, Yeh Tera Ghar Yeh Mera Ghar, Awaara Pagal Deewana, Shakti, Chor Machay Shor, Saathiya, Yuva and Jogger's Park.

"There are some more film projects I am involved in at present. I can name Ramgopal Varma's Naach and Madhur Bhandarkar's Page 3, both of which are to be released soon. Also, I am composing music for Lucky, Salman Khan's home production," Adnan states. A hardcore fan of Kishore Kumar, S. D. Burman, R. D. Burman and Mohammad Rafi, preferring to hum songs of Madan Mohan's films "any time of the day", sold on to the handling of the voice and guitar strings by Sting, George Michael and Dire Straits, he feels "music is a God-given right."

"You can train yourself endlessly in music but there is some invisible line where it stops if you don't have an inborn quality," he seems a believer. Now listening to a lot of Arabian music and African folk music, he plans to roll out an international album soon.

"I am very excited about it. I might tie up with some big international star for it. It will have a world music flavour," having lived in Portugal, Denmark and Britain and being exposed to Western classical music, something which he feels has added enormously to his competency as a musician.

"The new album would be a tribute to it," he says.

Preferring to "do a bit of a jig" in the music videos of his songs, you seem to realise that he does more than just so. Be it the song "Lift Kara De" with actor Govinda or "Tera Chehra" with Rani Mukerjee or even "Kabhi To Nazar Milao", his face gives away a flash of emotion.

As an actor

"I have not got any Bollywood offer so far for such emoting. But if something good comes my way, who knows, you might see me as an actor some day," Adnan says.

The departing line might spread out yet another career option for this talented Indian citizenship applicant.


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