Kailash Kher revisits his road to glory with ANUJ KUMAR
Singer-composer Kailash Kher is known to wear his heart on his sleeve. “I have earned success the hard way. I used to ask people what it takes to get published in a newspaper and was told that I had to do something big. But, tell me, do you think I or the others who get published every day have done something like that?” Well, Kailash can be innocently profound, like his songs.
Tracing his origins, he says: “I was born in Meerut but we moved to Delhi when I was a child. My father was a practising pandit and an astrologer. During festivals, he loved singing devotional songs on his ektara and I used to accompany him. That’s how I got infatuated with the stage. However, the society I lived in didn’t approve of singing as a career. My father was supportive but wanted me to follow it only as a hobby. But, the local fame had gone to my head. I left home promising him that I would complete my education. I learnt that if you have to make a mark you need a guru. But people told me I have a powerful voice, but it was not suited for classical music.”
He changed about a dozen gurus. “At times, it was my fault as I was not regular. It was only Madhup Mudgal and Sudhanshu Bahuguna who really supported me. It was not much in terms of singing, because they felt I have an original style that should not be tampered with. That gave me confidence, but also made me aware of the challenges ahead.”
Kailash gets irritated if you ask him how many hours he does riyaaz every day. “Music is a way of life for me. It is not an exercise to lose weight that I count hours.”
After graduation, Kailash was forced to start dealing in saris, before moving on to exports. “At a chance meeting with a German businesswoman, who was looking for window curtains, I suggested the Mother Teresa sari — the white ones with a thin blue border. It clicked and soon we were exporting our stuff to Hamburg. However, it did not last long. It was then that my sister insisted I should try my luck in Mumbai.”
In Mumbai, he had to bide his time. “Composers would hear my voice and say, ‘Wow!’, and then softly add: ‘Can’t you tone it down to suit playback singing?’” Soon, Kailash started working with Naresh and Paresh on “Awaargi”. And, “Allah Ke Bande” happened. “My life changed.
Kailash composes as well. “My aim is to create songs that are easy to remember but profound in content” He likes to indulge in words that describe the ethereal purity of passion. “I have got feedback that couples stop fighting after listening to such songs,” he smiles.
Kailash recently got married. “Sheetal is not a singer but understands music and mood. She doesn’t demand gajar matar when I am in rehearsal!” he quips.
Agar Bam Bam Lahiri