Pinning nine emotions on tape

Nine: Shankar Mahadevan emotes with music.  

HE HAD you breathless when he came up with his first pop album. `Breathless' was so popular that it left him gasping — the singer-music composer scooped up a number of live shows and movies that followed the sensational `Dil Chahta Hai' (DCH). "When you are busy with all the live shows and bands, world music and jazz music, it takes time to come back and do a pop album. It needs its own length of time," Shankar Mahadevan says. That explains why his second pop album titled `Nine', that was launched on Saturday, took the time it did.

The musician was in Chennai for a concert on Sunday evening, with his band `Silk' (with percussionist Taufiq Qureshi playing instead of the regular Sivamani who was away on tour). But there is a certain amount of special satisfaction that a solo pop album gives him. "When you do a pop album, the canvas is completely yours. There is no story situation forced on to your songs — you have the freedom to develop it right from the concept, " says Shankar.

`Nine', written by Javed Akhtar and set to tune by Shankar is based on nine emotions — "Joy, Sadness, Love, Jealousy, Hope, Fear, Peace, Passion and Jazbaat". "We... Javed Saab (Akhtar) and me, wanted to do something new, that's never been done before. Unlike the usual pop albums which could be uninspiring, we found the idea challenging. Songs on jealousy or fear are difficult and quite a challenge, for songs on these emotions have never come out," he explains.

"I share a lovely relationship with Javed Saab. I understand his method of working. Things can be done over phone, in the car, or even sitting in the aircraft. We work when the mood is right. We worked on this album whenever we found time over the last two and a half years. He's such a senior person, he's been there, done that but he's got so much of respect for people like me. He's open to fresh thoughts, ideas and projects. Besides, we've worked together from the days of `Breathless', `DCH', `Armaan' and so many projects, that he is like family." as the singer describes his association with the celebrated lyricist.

And he has an equally strong bond with Ehsaan and Loy, with whom he is still "having a blast". "We really look forward to working with each other. We have a good vibe, we are friends to begin with, but we never really take each other for granted. We have been evolving as people and we have learnt to keep it light — be it success or failure, it's just a job," says Shankar.

The trio just completed the score for Manishankar's `Rudraksh', `Kuch Na Kaho' and Farhan Akhtar's `Lakshya' and will soon be completing Karan Johar's `Kal Ho Na Ho' and `Kyon Ho Gaya Na' that stars Vivek Oberoi, Aishwarya Rai and Amitabh Bachchan. What's more — they have been signed for two Hollywood projects — Willard Caroll's `Marigold' starring Salman Khan (the shoot starts in October) and Kruti Majumdar's untitled flick set in the interiors of Gujarat.

By Sudhish Kamath

Photo: S. R. Raghunathan