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Tune in to the star

Siddharth Mahadevan is the son of one of Bollywood’s leading musical minds Shankar Mahadevan

By Jaybrota Das

  • Published 9.01.20, 8:53 PM
  • Updated 9.01.20, 8:53 PM
Siddharth Mahadevan
Siddharth Mahadevan Sourced by The Telegraph

He’s polite to a fault, humble, soft-spoken and all of 20 and something.

Siddharth Mahadevan, the son of one of Bollywood’s leading musical minds, Shankar Mahadevan, has taken the world of music by surprise with his sensational grunge-sounding, pumped-up, high-energy voice we’ve heard and grown to like in his playback debut Zinda for Farhan Akhtar-starrer Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.

He followed this up with quick and successful contributions in films such as D-Day, Dhoom 3, 2 States and Munna Michael.

Siddharth’s latest song — Nok Jhok — from Deepika Padukone and Vikrant Massey’s Chhapaak, released on December 18, and since then gained 9,437,542 views on YouTube alone. The ultra soulful number has been composed by the legendary trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and penned down by none other than Gulzar.

Here’s a chat The Woods had with the rockstar kid right after Nok Jhok’s release.

The Woods: We last heard you in Saaho and now Chhapaak. The song’s written by Gulzar. Were you nervous when the song was offered to you?

Siddharth: Yes, of course. I knew how big the film was and it was some of the greatest people coming together for such a big project. The one and only Deepika Padukone (starring in it), Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy composed it and Gulzar saab, one of the greatest lyricist, writing it. I was obviously nervous but when I heard the track, I was more excited than nervous. I just wanted to put my heart out there and give it my hundred per cent.

After the end result are you satisfied with doing justice to Gulzar’s lyrics?

I think I gave it my best. As an artiste, I was definitely satisfied with what I put into the song, but the rest is up to the people to listen and judge, and so far, touchwood, the response has been fantastic and everybody has said that this is probably the best song of my career. Things like these really make it special.

Chhapaak is a social film with a profound message. How did this offer come to you?

Well SEL (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy) thought that I would be able to do it because I had done a similar zone in Mirzya (Teen Gawah), where they had heard me in this mellow-romantic vibe. I think Meghna (Gulzar) and SEL took this call. I don’t know how they thought of me but dad told me to try it out and see if it works for them. And I did and luckily it just worked perfectly and they were very ecstatic that I sang it for them.

Coming from an illustrious music family, do you think it’s an additional pressure on star kids to perform?

Definitely. There are comparisons always made, people will compare you to your father. Something my dad always told me is have your own identity and create a niche around the work I do. Dad’s a legend so it’s difficult to match up to him but it’s always best to excel in what you do. Being a star kid there’s always a pressure and added responsibility but when you are compared to the best it always drives you to work harder and achieve greater heights.

You are often seen with Farhan Akhtar in gigs. Do you enjoy live music or playback?

My live performance journey started after Zinda and for two-and-a-half years I travelled with Farhan and did a lot of shows around the world. And it was a fantastic experience because Farhan is an absolute powerhouse on stage and I have learnt so much in those years just performing with him and seeing him perform on stage. I think it’s one of the biggest reasons that made me the performer I am today, and obviously seeing dad over the years perform live, all of that you sort of absorb. But if you have to pick live and playback, they are two different challenges, each have their own charm. When you perform on stage so many things play for you like the audience’s vibe, the energy, but when you are behind the mic you put down something that is going to stay for eternity. You have to focus on fulfilling the music director’s vision.

Which song do you think gave your career a thrust? Malang (Dhoom 3) or Zinda?

Both are so special to me. Zinda being my debut song, it has an extremely, extremely special place in my heart. And Malang was my first song for Pritam da, and it is one of the biggest songs ever produced in Bollywood, so I can’t pick. Both of them came within a span of two months and both coming out together gave me an identity in Bollywood and name to my voice. But definitely Zinda is a little more special because it is the first baby.

What are the guiding words from father to son?

Like I told you, he says stay original, have your own identity and do something that you believe in. He says don’t sing like somebody and never create music like somebody. That is what I have stuck by.

What’s your next song?

I am working on a lot of projects, couple of Marathi films and also producing my first film. A lot of my singles are coming out and hopefully you will hear a lot of me soon.