Known for his dynamic compositions with his co-partner Vishal Dadlani, Shekhar Rajviani is a multifaceted personality — singer, song-writer, music producer and actor
When one first hears the name Shekhar Ravjiani, there might not be instant recall. But if we say Vishal-Shekhar, then it does not even take a minute to comprehend that we are talking about one of Bollywood’s most sought-after music composers.
Ravjiani has been in the industry for the last 19 years. He trained as a classical singer under Ustad Niaz Ahmad Khan and learnt to play the accordion from his father Hasmukh Ravjiani. He rose to fame after composing a song for Jhankar Beats in 2003. Besides composing music for Bollywood films, he has also composed music for Telugu and Tamil films.
Some of his noteworthy music-compositions are for films— Bluffmaster, I See You, Om Shanti Om, Bachna Ae Haseeno, Dostana, Anjaana Anjaani, Ra One, Happy New Year and Bang Bang, among others. He also composed music for several Bollywood blockbusters such as Sultan, Fan, Chennai Express, Student of the Year and Dirty Picture. All these films got very well appreciated among the audience due to their melodious music. Recently, he has acted in Neerja alongside with Sonam Kapoor, and was appreciated for his part.
He takes keen interest in children’s programmes and lends his helping hand towards social causes. Last year he visited Salaam Balak Trust’s centre and took keen interest and interacted with children there. He is the brand ambassador for the Trust – which is a non-government organisation working for the welfare of street children. On December 13, he performed Hazaaron Khwahishein Aisi – a concert at the Siri Fort auditorium in New Delhi to raise funds for the organisation – on the occasion of its 30th foundation day. The event was also a tribute to his late mentor Jagjit Singh.
In the event, he performed some of Jagjit Singh’s iconic songs like Tum itna jo muskura rahe ho, Yeh daulat bhi le lo, Hazaaron Khwahishein aisi, among others. He was accompanied by musicians who played along with Singh for years.
Rajviani says, “As a fan/follower/student of Jagjit Singhji, I have always wanted to express my heartfelt love, respect and gratitude for his blessings and his unconditional love and guidance that showed me the way in my musical career. Hazaaron Khwahishein Aisi (HKA) seemed like the most apt way to pay tribute to this great man and his legacy. I have performed HKA for audiences in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Jaipur, Jakarta, Hong Kong, Dubai ..the love that I have received has been unprecedented, and each show has been an even more successful than the previous one.”
He further added, “I am delighted to have Deepak Pandit, Anupam Chatterjee, Amit Dutt Choubey, and Shweta Tiwari — all are brilliant and I’m fortunate to have in my team.” In a candid conversation with Patriot, he talks about his childhood, his love for music and more.
Tell us a little about your collaboration with Salaam Balak Trust.
I love children and always felt the need to support those who are deprived of good opportunity and now, am happy to be associated as the organisation’s brand ambassador.
How was the experience of working in Neerja?
I am happy to be a part of Neerja. It was great working with Sonam. I would love to act again, but the script should be good and suit my character.
Did you enjoy judging the kids talent show – The Voice of India Kids?
I always loved children and now am the father of a beautiful daughter (Bipasha). I know the magic that’s there to love and care for children. And I learnt a lot during the show.
Do you remember your childhood?
I still remember as a child, I used to be nervous while performing on-stage and thus could not focus on the music. Whereas, nowadays these children have tremendous energy. They are intelligent and sharp and do not hesitate. That’s a good thing.
You are a multifaceted personality donning the hats of a composer, producer, actor and mentor. How do you manage it all?
I enjoy all kinds of work and want to explore new things. That is a great thing for me. Painting, learning violin, or anything which is not common always excites me as an artist.
You have a busy schedule. How do you keep up?
I love music and every morning I practise it. I believe in starting off my day with passion and continue it with more interest.
You have worked with many famous singers, what do you want to say about them?
Yes, I am lucky to have worked talented people like Vishal Dadlani and Shreya Ghoshal. They are all brilliant singers. Sunidhi Chauhan and Shreya Ghoshal are very close friends of mine. I love working with all of them.
Do you think it’s a good idea to have concert for fundraising?
Yes, Salaam Balak Trust is doing a great job for the street children and this concert is for fundraising. I am confident that everybody will support them because it’s for a social cause.
Would you like to share your experience of the first show of Hazaroon Khwahishein Aisi at Singapore?
My first concert had premiered at the famous Esplanade Concert Hall, Singapore in 2016 and it was a huge success and got great attention from all.
Would you like to tell us about your album on women?
I had my album called Devi — which is a tribute to women in the country. They have power and strength. Thus, Devi is the “traditional Indian aarti” sung in every household.
How do you spend your time with your family?
In leisure time, I practise the piano. Also, I enjoy playing with my daughter. I feel happy to spend time and share my feelings with her.
Who is your favourite singer?
As a music composer, I always loved ghazal singers like Jagjit Singh. He was my mentor and my inspiration.
So do you prefer ghazals over other genres?
Ghazals are my first love but I also like to play the harmonica. I love playing it due to its simplicity.
Do think there is a change in the music industry?
In 1999, very few films got made and there was no modern technology available. But now, music has changed a lot. Many new singers have joined in and there are many new platforms nowadays. Thus, they provide more opportunities for these new talents.