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Shaan se

His cute mannerisms, his shocking modesty, his confessions, his screams: nothing seems put on. MetroPlus finds the current hot favourite Shaan absolutely adorable


FIND SCANDAL. Find scandal. There has to be some dark secret. How could anyone have generated no gossip despite being in the music industry for more than a decade?! But no amount of scanning old interviews, profiles, concert reviews or hearsay could throw up even a wee bit of tittle-tattle about Shaan. Either his manager was doing a fantastic job of scrubbing him clean, or this "Musu musu haasi" boy, er... man, keeps a shockingly low profile.

So when he says: "I haven't behaved in a responsible way over the past two days. Don't tell my wife," you have to stop short of yelling "AHA!" But he was referring to the lack of riyaz and sleep because of constantly being on the run. Oh well, all right then, we'll talk music.

One of the first memories of Shaan as a singer is the album he did with sister Sagarika about their squabbles and a crazy fight over a pup. Probably the only brother-sister pop duo in the country, they have now finished a yet-to-be-released Bengali album as a tribute to their father, renowned music director Manas Mukherjee.

Singer-anchor


One also remembers Shaan's faultless alaap in the remix album Q Funk, the first trial at fusion in Indipop. For someone who hasn't had any classical training until recently, that must've been quite a feat. "Even today, I mug up the sargams that I sing," he says grinning sheepishly. "I wouldn't know if I put a ma in place of a ga. My guru is horrified about this!" But he goes on to admit that voice modulation and easy grasp of tune are virtues only training can strengthen.

Although he anchors Zee TV's Hero Honda Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, Shaan says he'd never participate in a music hunt himself. "I was never that confident of myself as a singer. You don't want to participate knowing you'll lose!" As he notices a rolling of eyes at his attempt at modesty, he rushes to clarify: "See, these talent hunts are popping up only now. I'd encourage people to take the easy way into the industry if one was available, but I'd rather release an album on my own!" Asked if he was using the show as a platform for his music career, Shaan's ready smile wanes as he points out that Sonu Nigam did it very early in his career, but "my career in playback and Indipop was quite stable when I joined Zee. So it was quite a gamble." He draws a parallel with Mandira Bedi, a "fantastic actor who took a risk by going into cricket commentary." However, he maintains that you must grope about a bit to find your niche.

Ask him how good a composer he thinks he is, and he hums "Tanha dil", "Gum sum ho kyon" and "Bhool ja" to himself in fast-forward, before nodding approvingly. "They all have a catchy lilt, no? I guess I'm a pretty good composer. But I don't think any other singer would be too thrilled with my tunes!" Would he do the crazy, almost silly Loveology now? "Oh, I've done quite a few embarrassing things in life, but Loveology is not one of them," Then what is? Shifting in his seat a bit, he haltingly mentions the small role he did in the Raveena-starrer Daman. "I watched the movie, and... oh god! I was quite terrible!"

Group songs


With songs like "Main aisa kyon hoon?" (Lakshya), "Kuch to hua hai" (Kal ho na ho), and "Koi kahe" (Dil chahta hai), Shaan's playback is going strong. He does notice that many of the numbers are group songs. "I usually record first and wouldn't have heard the others. When I listen to the final product, I see that the others have all done great chops, while I just sang plain!" He is disappointed that mainstream music is so trend-driven and that "Bollywood has spread into everything." He isn't too lofty about his remix raja status: "It might be fun to do remixes, but it doesn't put your face on the song like Indipop does."

This 32-year-old is an obsessive family man. You'd think it's rude that he answers his cellphone during the interview, but as he yells an excited "Hi wifeyyy!" into it, you find it in yourself to forgive. And when his two-year-old son Soham comes on, the self-confessed "show-off dad" puts the kid on speakerphone. One Hindi rhyme and many I-love-yous later, the proud daddy sighs to no one in particular: "How did I get this lucky?"

ROHINI MOHAN

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