Home Chennai On Shankar’s Watch

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    From collaborating with John McLaughlin to judging a radio talent hunt and taking up acting, the singer speaks up

    There are talent shows and there are talent shows judged by a four-time National Award winner. Big FM’s Benadryl BIG Golden Voice concluded its third season in Mumbai recently and singer-composer Shankar Mahadevan, w1ho has been judge and mentor on the radio talent hunt since season two, selected two winners, one of whom happens to be a young lad from Chennai. “On the radio, it is purely about music. The medium is non-inhibiting and very good for talented people who have a fear of performing on television,” he says, adding that a radio talent hunt also makes the listener focus on that which matters most—the voice. The singer, who feels that talent shows like these have not only given youngsters a taste of stardom, but also made them household names, says that he has his hands full post the conclusion of the talent show.

    On screen
    We don’t need him to tell us that he’s quite kicked about donning the role of actor in the upcoming Marathi movie, Katyar Kaljat Ghusli. “I have played myself on screen in the past, but this is the first time I’m playing a character. This is a classic Marathi play that’s being brought on screen and they wanted someone who could sing. I related to the character and took it up,” he says, about the film that’s expected to release in November. Meanwhile, Mahadevan is working on a collaboration with guitarist John McLaughlin and says this is something to watch out for. “John and I used to talk about how Indian classical music needs to be harmonised in a different way. We are working on that and have recorded three songs,” he says, addding that there may be a few more tracks, too.

    All that jazz
    While that does sound interesting, what we’re truly keeping our ears open for are the singles he is working on with his son Siddharth Mahadevan and his grandson, too. “It’s just a matter of time,” he laughs, adding that the compositions are ready and we can expect to hear them in about six months.
    The singer is also looking forward to his tour of jazz festivals in the US next month. “I will be performing with the likes of Zakir Hussain, Dave Holland and Chris Potter,” he says excitedly. And if you’re not able to make it to the US to watch him in action, be sure to book your tickets for the “very interesting” concert he says is coming up in Chennai, in January.

    —Ryan Peppin

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