Shankar Mahadevan believes that one cannot judge the success of a singer on the basis of the number of film songs s/he has sung and that playback singing cannot be the ultimate dream of every singer.
The singer, composer, reality show judge and actor was present at the launch of the reality show — Rising Star Season 2 on Colors. Shankar will be joined by actor-singers Diljit Dosanjh and Monali Thakur who will reprise their roles as experts on the show.
In the second season, the makers have focused on the theme #UthaoSochKiDeewar and will bring some inspiring stories of the participants. Produced by Optimystix Entertainment, Rising Star 2 will premiere on January 20 and will be hosted by Ravi Dubey and child artist Parth Dhamija.
In a chat, the award-winning composer and singer throws more light on the show.
‘Rising Star season 2’
Shankar says that there’s total excitement for the show to be back. “That’s because for a new reality show like us, the demand has been huge. It was the No 1 show in its first season. And we had such amazing experiences.”
He says that the unique concept and presentation worked in its favour. “It had a two-way interaction with live voting. The audience got involved in the show and their votes were getting rewarded immediately.”
He says that this year is no different because the singers are fabulous. “There are singers of different range, from different genres and age groups.”
He adds that while judging the show, he will focus on ‘musicality’. “It’s not enough to sing a song perfectly. Do you also have potential? Do you have the spark in you that will trigger interest in me? If I am a music director and I want you to sing a particular song, will I consider you? There are lots of parameters to look for, apart from ‘sur’ and ‘tal’.
Going beyond music
The viewers will not only get to hear some great voices but also meet people who are breaking barriers of emotions, thought processes and prejudices to achieve their dreams. “The show is primarily about music but there are some amazing human stories. People will get to know the great amount of persistence and hard work each singer has put in. They are going to be great inspiration to many,” he adds.
Was it really necessary to focus on human stories along with the singing abilities? “That’s because music is a powerful medium and a great medium of communication. When you have such a big platform where millions of viewers are going to watch the show, why not pass on great stories along with music? If we can inspire and charge the youth who have got a dream, why not?”
No more middle men
Shankar, who has composed music for films like Wake Up Sid, My Name Is Khan, Housefull, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Vishwaroopam, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, 2 States among others, believes that with various platforms like social media opening up, it’s a great time for music and musicians. “This has eliminated middle man. Earlier, you would make music, then give it to somebody else and that someone else would sell it for you. How well did the middle man work or did they work hard enough to make your music available, no one really knew. With internet, mobile phone and digital technology, you are directly interacting with the listeners. You have eradicated the people who judge you,” he says, adding that singers being directly in touch with the consumers is kind of path-breaking.
“But at the same time, there is so much competition that you better be good,” he adds.
There has been no dearth of music reality shows on Indian television but not all participants of these reality shows have managed to make a successful career. Very few have established themselves as playback singers in Bollywood. But Shankar maintains that just singing for film songs cannot be the criterion to judge the success of a singer. “All the contestants from the last season are doing well. Judging their success on the number of film songs they have sung is not right. Films should not be the greatest or ultimate aim of an artist. In fact, we should judge it on the basis of two things — is it giving you creative satisfaction that you don’t mind working 20 hours a day and are you financially supporting yourself? Because at the end of the day, you need to make money. If you are achieving these two things, you are doing fine,” he says.
He adds that many of their first season participants are travelling, doing shows and making money. “Obviously not everyone can become Shreya Ghosal or Arijit Singh as that would require time because the number of singers vs the number of films releasing in not proportionate,” he adds.
Young generation is quite focused
Shankar has worked with different generations of musicians in his career spanning more than two decades. He says that the young generation is extremely intelligent. “They are well informed about what’s happening around them. They are much more focused and clear about what they want. I remember when I was young, I was just hanging around doing nothing. Today’s kids, if they choose a particular path, are much more focused and serious about their career and I appreciate that. I am not talking about everyone but those who are good. They want to learn different music instruments along with singing,” he says, adding, “We use to take things for granted.”
ST Reader Service
Catch the show from January 20 every weekend at 9 pm on Colors