P.J. George tunes in as Sherrin Varghese from ‘A Band of Boys’ speaks about his kind of music
You might remember him as one of the hunks from ‘A Band of Boys’, India’s very own boy-band, or as the front man for Rubber Band, the music part of Shekhar Suman’s ‘Movers and Shakers.’
Sherrin Varghese has dabbled in most of what the Indian entertainment scene has to offer. Indy pop, soaps, movies, theatre, rock, deejaying, you name it. He was in town anchoring a countdown music show on the Rosebowl channel.
“I want to take the technology and knowledge that I have and put it in Kerala and elevate the entertainment scene here,” he says.
Sherrin shot to fame after he was selected along with four others to form ‘A Band of Boys’ in 2001, proclaimed as the first boy-band in India. Their first album, ‘Yeh Bhi Woh Bhi,’ was a runaway hit selling more than a lakh copies. Tracks from the album, like ‘Meri neend,’ are still hummed, which cannot be said about the ballads of some western boy-bands of five-year vintage. Another album ‘Gaane Bhi Do Yaaro,’ released in 2006 was also a reasonable success. So how does he deal with the ‘mushy-romantic’ baggage that’s part and parcel of every boy-band job?
“I was sceptical,” Sherrin confesses, “I remember thinking, oh God what am I getting into, a serious rocker like me.” But when he saw the amount of work that men like Leslie Lewis puts into bringing the band together, he thought again. The boys were trained in all aspects of stagecraft, including voice training under Hariharan, before they were thrown in front of the screaming pop fans.
“We are entertainers,” Sherrin declares proudly, “It is not just about singing alone anymore; it’s the entire audio-visual experience.”
Although Sherrin, or Cherooke as he is fondly called, hails from Irinjalakkuda in Thrissur, he has spent most of his life and career in Mumbai. But now he wants to make a mark in the South Indian movie scene. “Give me a challenging role and I will do it,” he says. It was a chance meeting with Mammooty on the sets of ‘Movers and Shakers’ that sparked off his interest. “When I told him I am from Kerala, he asked me: ‘why don’t you leave all this and come down there?’ I hope he gets to see me on screen here,” says Sherrin.
And he has no dearth of experience on screen. He has just finished working on ‘68 Pages,’ a movie on the stigma of AIDS, in which he plays a gay. And of course, the Hindi movie ‘Kiss kis ko’ in which the boys of the band play the lead roles. But for him the most challenging role was playing Simon in a Mumbai production of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar,’ Andrew Lloyd Webbers’ famous musical.
As the first step, he is doing what he does best. Get people to listen to music. “Here everyone speaks Malayalam, English and a smattering of Hindi, so I believe there is an audience to whom I can communicate. And I love playing the clown,” he says.
‘A Band of Boys’ is still quite alive, but what’s keeping them occupied right now is Xen@bob, an act they formed along with jazz band Nexus to bring Intelligent Dance Music (iDM) to India. For the uninitiated, iDM is a fusion electronic music that’s the current rage in western club circuits.