Kailash Kher says he has his own way of writing, singing: ‘I cannot praise lips and cheeks’
In a candid chat with Hindustan Times, Kailash Kher shares his birthday plans, revisits the early days of his career and struggles. He also said he was a ‘suicide survivor’.
Musician-singer Kailash Kher has said that he can never write songs praising the material aspects of a person, for example the lips, a thing that is common in romantic songs. Kailash celebrates his birthday on Thursday and we caught up with him and got him chatting about his own work, life and more. (Also read: People want us to sing for free on digital platforms, says Kailash Kher)
Speaking about his style of writing and music, Kailash said, "I cannot lie praising lips and cheeks. These deteriorate. I won't talk about the mortal stuff. I talk of emotions. (sings) Tu dhare jahan pao, tu muskaye ye dharti tujhe jeet jeet haarun ye pran pran varun teri aarti utarun (The earth smiles at each spot that you step. I win when I lose myself and sing your laurels). I do not write the way others do. That, too, is a source of entertainment but not how I want to pursue my music. We had heard of amazing beauty of people like Marilyn Monroe but all of them had to die and go back to ashes. We are attracted towards that which does not die. We look at spirituality in romance as well."
Apart from the popular Bollywood songs such as Allah Ke Bande and Bahubali tracks, Kailash has also given his fans popular singles including Teri Deewani and Adiyogi. He also bagged the Padma Shri award in 2017.
Talking about his journey in the music industry, Kailash said, "I always dreamt of becoming a singer and musician of my kind. Mostly people come here in the film industry to become a playback singer. I did not even know what film singing or playback singing is. I had my own way of writing, composing and singing. I wanted to go to Mumbai and find a musician who can execute my vision. But, when you are unique, the world does not accept you as you are. They always pass judgements on you and put you down. They humiliate you because you are not like them. That is why all things like racism came into being."
"I had adamant attitude, my madness, junoon was not matching with people around me. I have faced rejections, humiliation and suppression since childhood. Then, I felt may be, I am oversensitive and am not cut out for this world. Maybe I am born in the wrong place at the wrong time. The world is cruel and they do not understand how considerate or kind your soul is. They do not take time to crush your being," he added.
Opening up about facing rejections during his initial days, Kailash said, "I came to Mumbai in 2002 and met record companies but I was rejected saying 'this world is not melancholic'. It was for the first time that I heard the word. I was like 'mangal hota hai, ye melancholic kya hota hai (I had heard of Mangal, what is melancholic?) I learned my English by hearing words, I did not go to usual school college. So, the record companies would either not give me time, or they would reject me."
Kailash then recalled the time when he was offered his first song in a film. Some of the jingles got popular coincidently and I got a call and the guy said 'I am Vishal and we want you to sing a song for our film'. I asked him 'Are you Vishal Bhardwaj?' I had heard that name. But he said he wasn't, but Vishal from the musician duo Vishal Shekhar. Then I got the film Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part 2."
The singer added, "Most things in my life would not materialise at the time so I was skeptical about this one too. I kept thinking 'why is the film called Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part 2. What kind of name is that?' I thought maybe like always, it will be not materialise and is just a joke. Even after recording the song, I wondered why the studio was so small. And then, the song - Allah ke Bande - became a bigger hit than the film. Rest is history as you know."
Kailash also recalled the tough time he had in his early 20s when he attempted suicide. "I was a 30-year-old man when I came to Bombay and knew life by then. But, I was in my 20s when I had failures in many other endeavours and then struggled with depression. I even attempted suicide. I must be 21 or 22, when I had such feelings that I am useless to the world and I am not supposed to be born in this time and world, this plastic world. This is what I thought at the time. I jumped in the Ganga river one day - I am a suicide survivor. Then someone saved me . It must be a miracle, but at the time I thought I must be such a useless man and failure that I even failed in this. After that, I stayed inside my room for a few days, lamenting my own failures."
He then shared how he overcame the feelings and bounced back. "I believe it must be mother Ganga pushing me away and sending me towards father, the sea. So I landed in at the sea shore - Bombay. The way out of such suicidal thoughts came when I stopped thinking whether I am useless or useful and concentrated on my work."
For the past few years, Kailash has been launching new singers as part of his Nai Udaan initiative on his birthday. This time, again, the event will be held online on Thursday 8pm, and nine singers will be launched. The event will be streamed live on his app, Damroo.
If you need support or know someone who does, please reach out to your nearest mental health specialist. Helplines: Aasra: 022 2754 6669; Sneha India Foundation: +914424640050 and Sanjivini: 011-24311918