Kailsah Kher, one of India?s top singers, who sings in a rustic, raw and a touch of Sufi style, speaks to Ambreen Zaidi on his life and times. Few, excerpts.
AZ- The name ?Kailash Kher?, instantly brings to your mind an image of a person who is extremely down to earth and simple. How do you manage it in a place like Bollywood?
KK- I just ?love?. I love everything around me. For me my music is not work, its love. The day I start treating it as work, it will not be able to work. I don?t let my intelligence over rule me and my thought process. How I do it? I do it by silently watching and observing. This is a cure for many things in life.
AZ: Who inculcated this type of thinking in you? Your parents?
KK: Yes, parents have a very big contribution in shaping us, our behavior, our thought process, but I think it is not 100%. Your journey since your childhood, your experiences in life teach you a lot. Each mistake of your life, each incident, teaches you a lesson, which helps you to grow in your own way. This is my way, I chose to live. I like myself, not like how others want me to live like.
AZ- How, can you please elaborate?
KK- See, 95% of people spend their being pretentious. By showing the world what they are actually not. 95% of life is fake; it is mainly because of their upbringing and the complexes they carry. People live in an illusionary world. You forget yourself, your own beauty and uniqueness. I?ll give you an example, God made a beautiful lotus, but the lotus is always admiring the rose, how much people appreciate rose, gift rose, give it so much of importance. The lotus gets so much distracted that it forgets that God has made it so special that Goddess Laxmi sits on it. That is our tragedy, we look at others, want to be like them, but never appreciate what lies inside us.
AZ: That is a very beautiful, food for thought. You have been associated with Anna Hazare and his campaign too, how did that happen?
KK: In April 2011, we came back from a long tour. I was going through the newspaper, that?s when I first read about him. I was deeply impressed and felt like contributing my bit to his cause. So, I thought of writing a song for him. At that very time, Japan was reeling under a natural calamity; and people were protesting against the building of dams all such structures. I spoke to Japanese, journalist friend of mine, I asked him, as to how I can help him, he said, if you really want to contribute, go and help the people who are fighting against the corruption in your country. That, I feel was God?s way of guiding me.
AZ: And that?s how your song ?Ambar tak Naara goonjega? was created?
KK: Yes. I recorded the song and sent it to Anna Hazare. Till then, I had never met him, didn?t know where he is, who he is, what is he actually doing! Meeting him was also nothing short of a miracle. We were doing the show Li?l Champs and for 15th August, the organizers requested me, if I can invite Anna Hazare. I told them, I don?t know him, I have never met him. They felt I am joking. But that was a fact, till then, I had not a single one to one interaction with Annaji. I came home, and saw a letter, which was from Anna Hazare, thanking me for my song, which was now being sung as an anthem in his organization. I smiled, looked up and said, ? Waah, mere data sahi jaa rahe ho!? We invited him, I also went to Ralegaon Siddhi.
I was amazed to see that a man like Anna Hazare lives in a temple. I was touched by his simplicity.
AZ: You were once very impressed with Mamta Banerjee, too, right?
KK: Well, I would just say, that when you are at the peak, it?s not necessary that everybody will have good things to say about you. People will have their own assessments. Don?t let that affect you at all. Mamta Banerjee, is a Chief Minister of Bengal, but she doesn?t travel in a bullet proof car, has a simple house,wears simple clothes, interacts freely with her people. I am attracted to such souls.
AZ: You once even contemplated committing suicide, but by the grace of God you bounced back, but there are many people who are not so lucky, they give into the pressure, what would you say to them?
KK: See, dying is very easy. It is difficult to live. I went through this phase when my business failed badly, I had asked my father also to leave his job, now that I am working. Initially the business did very well, but then we just failed. I was depressed. I felt maybe, only hardcore people survive in this world and I am too sensitive a person. People used to ask me why I look so sad and depressed; I would just smile and walk away. Then I went to Rishikesh, we were at a satsang, there I told Swamiji that I don?t want to live anymore, I am tired of this life.
Swamiji, asked me if I have any dependents, I said, yes, my parents, my sister, brother. He asked me whether they matter to me or hold any meaning in my life, I said yes.To this Swamiji replied, ?Die for you, not for them?. Sometimes, I feel one moment of love is enough to save you, that day Swamiji?s love and guidance saved my life. Then, I decided to come to Mumbai and try my luck in music industry.
AZ: And rest as they say is history?
KK: No, it was not so easy. The so called big wigs of music industry didn?t like my singing at all, they used to discourage and demotivate me. They used say, ?This won?t work man, and your voice is not for this industry.? And then, there at the other end of the city, there was this guy who heard my song, only for 20 seconds and was praising my voice and my work. I was confused; I thought, maybe it was their way of saying No. But when they said you are hired, you are singing this for us; it was then that I realized that I now actually had a job, an opportunity. And yes, rest as they say is history. Now, even if I say aaaaaa?. I get a Rs10,000/- cheque, I say Ooooooo?.I get Rs 20,000/- cheque and if I sing Subhanallah I get a Filmfare award. Then I realized that Parmatma is everywhere and he has charted a way for all of us.
AZ: Your message to budding singers and your fans.
KK: Believe in the Supreme Power, be your own Guru, leader and guide. And then you?ll see the true power of being yourself. The entire universe will be yours.