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    Singer Javed Ali talks about his songs, the  Tamil connect and why he loves to be exploited

    GET your dose of foot tapping  movie scores this weekend as singer Javed Ali of Kajra Re fame comes to town with his lineup of hit numbers including Kun Faya Kun from Rockstar, Kilimanjaro from Enthiran and Sonapreeya from Maryan.
    Known for his multilingual repertoire that comprises Tamil, Marathi, Odiya, Bengali, Kannada among many others, Ali says, “Composers like Yuvan Shankar Raja and Devi Sri Prasad choose me for singing different genres.” Be it romantic songs like Thappu Thanda with Yuvan Shankar Raja or item number-esque songs like Jingiliya with Devi Sri Prasad, the multi-lingual hit singer says that he loves to be “exploited” for his versatility in this manner.

    Bit of everything
    Taking a walk down memory lane, Ali tells us that as an eight-year-old he was tired of his life — routine, school, then routine again, with hardly any time left to play. But when he got on stage and sang with his father, the famous Qwwali singer Ustad Hamid Hussain — the enthusiastic audience reaction made Ali realise the value of all the riyaaz. The musician who entered the Hindi film industry in 2000 says, “In Bollywood, I could sing item numbers, romantic numbers, bhajans and sufi songs — the versatility it offered attracted me.” The Delhi-based singer has lent his voice to romantic ballads like Ek Din Teri Raahon from Naqaab,  peppy numbers like Galat Baat Hain from Main Tera Hero and even bhajans for TV series Sankatmochan Mahabali Hanuman. It was in 2005 that he truly arrived with the sensational Kajra Re, starring the Bachchan trio — Amitabh, Abhishek and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan — that went on to become the song of the decade.

    Words of praise
    Ali also caught the legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar’s attention, who is also Ali’s inspiration. She heard him singing just one line while he was a judge on Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Lil Champs. “She tweeted out a blessing immediately and I was just so overwhelmed,” he beams. Ali does leave a mark on everybody, just like he likes to leave his signature in his songs. “While recording the recent Tu Jo Mila for Bajrangi Bhaijaan, I did contribute a little on the lyrical side,” admits the singer modestly. The most arduous to record was Zohra Jabeen (Ekk Deewana Tha, 2012) with composer AR Rahman. “It took a long recording session of two to three hours to nail the song,” says Ali who found the beats very different from what he had done earlier. Next, the singer plans to explore the rap genre.
    Catch Javed Ali at The Forum Vijaya Mall, Vadapalani. Free entry. Details: 49049000

    —Seema Rajpal

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