Lucky Ali talks about his new album and his concerns about the environment with Mini Anthikad Chibbar
“They are pets,” says musician Lucky Ali introducing the fat, content geese waddling about in his sprawling farm. There are also inquisitive sheep sporting Rastafarian locks that go by the names of Rufus and Mary wandering in the studio where Lucky is meeting young musicians for his cooperative, Lucky Ali Enterprise.
“This is an attempt to find an alternative to the corporate system,” the “O Sanam” hitmaker comments. “I have respectfully bowed out of the system. We work with musicians to get music to as many people as possible. We are lucky to be at a time when technology allows us to reach the greatest number. We are at the threshold of a revolution. This is an experiment that has attracted a lot of people. We have 7,000 people on our forum.”
About the creative control, Lucky says: “The musician is in charge of their material. The facilities are here for being creative within a musical frame work.”
Lucky's latest album, ‘Xsuie', which means ‘at your pace', is available online. “I don't believe in selling. It is disrespectful. Music cannot be advertised like soap. People have got to know of ‘Xsuie' only by word-of-mouth, like ‘Sunoh'.” ‘Xsuie' being available online coincides with Lucky's environmental consciousness. “The environment is an important aspect of how I function. Making CDs and the covers uses a lot of plastic and paper, and there is a lot of toxic waste. However, I know there are those who would like a physical CD for keeps. So, we would be releasing a limited edition sometime later.”
The balladeer comments he is not “an educated musician. It is only now that I have a teacher. It is liberating because it makes me value the education. While Africa is the birthplace of music, I believe India has a wealth of musical education; we have 5,000 years of recorded history.”
The album comes after a hiatus of five years. “It is a culmination of a five-year journey, where I interacted with knowledgeable people such as Shyam Benegal, M.S. Sathyu and Girish Karnad, and expanded my mind.”
A paean to hope
Cynicism has no place in Lucky's scheme of things! “Cynicism doesn't allow for growth. There is hope for the entire world. One should not be greedy; it is greed that spoils the harmony of the world. I have had everything and nothing. I have seen great success and have been on the streets with no money. I think young people today are very responsible, they are very ‘there'.”
Lucky has done playback for movies, and acted in quite a few films, including Shyam Benegal's “Trikaal” (1985), Sanjay Gupta's “Kaante” (2002) and Tanuja Chandra's “Sur” (2002). “I hate to watch myself on screen. I act because I could,” Lucky says modestly, skimming over his impressive pedigree of being popular Bollywood comedian Mahmood's son and Meena Kumari's nephew.
Considering he has worked with great directors, has he ever thought of directing a film? “I don't want to tell stories!” he says firmly. Remind him that his songs are ballads telling stories and he says: “Three minutes and 40 seconds is enough to tell a story!”
So, does he rule out an autobiography? “I blog (blog.luckyali.com) sometimes. I lost my brother and father within two years of each other. It was an emotional shock. The man who taught me about God was not there anymore. I blog when I feel strongly about something. I am also on Twitter and Facebook.”
In spite of seeing incredible success, the 51-year-old remains refreshingly grounded. “I have my father to thank for that. Also success is seductive for people who dwell on it.” Lucky has no time for ‘“Sheeple — people who follow the herd like sheep,” and “cannot handle people with attitude.”
The singer does not want to ponder about the future. “There is so much more to learn; I am a miniscule speck of dust. I am only happy doing things I understand. Every day is a happy day. The difference comes in how you perceive it.”