For Shaan, stardom did not come easy

Shantanu Mukherjee

Shantanu Mukherjee  

SHANTANU MUKHERJEE has an easy, unassuming disposition. If you are wondering who this Mukherjee is, check out if a name called "Shaan" rings a bell. The singer was in the city for a performance, "The light of life" to celebrate Deepavali.

"Sa Re Ga Ma", the show which propelled him to stardom, did not come easy. He refused to do the show when the organisers first approached him. But a couple of months later, he had a rethink and ventured to give it his best. As it turned out, the show was a big success. Says Shaan: "My Hindi has improved a lot after joining the show."

Ask him if he rehearses before doing a show. No time for practice, is his ready rejoinder. He simply dons the singer's attire and jumps onto the stage. The performance takes care of the rest. Shaan has some words of praise for the television channels. The channels, says he, have done a lot to bring out emerging talents in the songs territory. Of course, many of these talents have the potential to make it big, break the initial barriers to crown themselves "Hindi popstar."

What about his experience with big names like A.R. Rahman? "Very nice," says Shaan. The singer apparently had no problems working with Rahman, nor his timings. "Anytime he is wanted he is always there for the recording." Among his personal favourites are Hip-Hop music. But he wouldn't let anything come before his love for R.D. Burmam songs.

Has fatherhood changed Shaan, his personality? Of course. Before he was "very fast." The new father Shaan is "more calm, patient."

For the record, Shaan had a fairly illustrious musical background. His father, the composer, Manas Mukherjee, has scored music for films such as "Shaayad" and "Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon" Aata Hai." Shaan started out by singing ad jingles, and then gradually gave it up. However, he soon returned to it, and started doing odd music assignments, such as singing remixes and cover versions, besides ad jingles.

"Q-Funk" was Shaan's first release in 1995. But the album that fetched him more recognition was his second release, "Roop Inka Mastana," a remixed version of R.D. Burman's hits. It was made possible by the remix guru, Biddu, who rechristened him Shaan. The album featured artistes besides Shaan, and included older sister, Sagarika. In 1996, the sibling duo came out with "Naujawan," their first big release. But the album generated only a lukewarm response.His solo debut came with the album, "Loveology in 1996" — a commonplace pop album that did not do his career much good. This time round, he was written off by critics. For them, he was one more addition to the talent less multitude. The big hit came in 2000. His "Tanha Dil," an exceptionally promising album, featuring some soulful ballads, as well as catchy tunes, catapulted him and established him as a serious singer of considerable worth.

By Rasheed Kappan

Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

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