Kailash Kher revisits his road to glory
Kailash Kher is known to wear his heart on his sleeve and if you are all ears, a pause is out of question. “I have earned success the hard way. I used to ask people what it takes to get published in a newspaper and was told, bada kaam karna padta hai. Do you think I have now done that bada kaam or those who get published every day have?” Well, he could be innocently profound, very much like his songs.
Kailash revisits his road to glory. “I was born in Meerut but when I was a kid we moved to Delhi. My father was a practising pandit and was the family astrologer of a select few. During festivals, he loved singing devotional songs on his ektara and I used to accompany him. That’s how I got into the public glare and got infatuated with 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 but promised him that I will complete my education. I learnt that if you have to make a mark you need to have a guru. But wherever I went people said I have a powerful voice but 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 and should not be tampered with. That gave me the confidence to stick to my terms even when I achieved success. They made me aware of the challenges ahead. Bahugunaji would lend me cassettes of stalwarts like Pandit Bhimsen Joshi and Ustad Amir Khan to learn the intricacies. He would always say: Don’t copy them. However, destiny made sure his road to success was not a straight path.
“Family conditions forced me to start business after graduation. I started dealing in saris with a friend. As I am, one day I got a strange idea. I decided to export Mother Teresa saris to Germany. The deal happened at a chance meeting with a German businesswoman. She was looking for curtains for windows and I suggested those white saris with thin blue border. It clicked and soon we were exporting our stuff to Hamburg. It didn’t last long and I was back to square one. It was then that my sister insisted I should try my luck in Mumbai. I was looking for support and decided to give it a chance.”
In Mumbai, he had to wait for his time to come. “Composers would hear my voice and say, Wow! What a voice, but then softly add can’t you tone it down to suit playback singing?
Call it ego or belief in my talent, I never wanted to be in the back. That childhood fascination with the stage! Aadesh Shrivastav recorded a song in my voice for Chalte Chalte and then got it replaced by Sukhwinder Singh. In the meantime, I made friends with Naresh and Paresh and started working on ‘Awaargi’, our first album. Fortunately, when I was about to give up, ‘Allah Ke Bande’ happened and my life changed. It proved that a good composition and voice will survive irrespective of the fate of the film. I was accepted as I am.”
Kailash composes as well. “My aim is to create songs that are easy to remember but profound in content. I don’t believe in describing physical beauty in the name of romantic numbers. Even if you listen to my compositions for Chandni Chowk To China, they have a shelf life irrespective of the film.”
He likes to indulge in words that describe the ethereal purity of passion. “When others were praising materialisation of love, we composed “Daulat shohrat kya karni tere pyaar ka sahara kafi hai, mahal ataari nahi chahiye, tere dil me guzara kafi hai” and it worked. Songs like ‘Saiyyan’ and ‘Teri Deewani’ are loved both by the IT crowd and the man on the street. My Delhi background helps as I am well-versed with Hindustani. I have got feedback that couples stop fighting over trivial matters after listening to these songs”.ANUJ KUMAR