Tuesday, June 25, 2024

‘There is groupism in the industry, and I’m always ready for rejections’

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Tejal Sinha

It was once said by American author Napolean Hill that “strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” In fact, we’ve all learned a lot about struggles and success throughout our lives.

Today, we at The Pioneer bring to you a living example of this beautiful saying by Napoleon Hill. Getting a breakthrough in Bollywood is not a piece of cake, especially for an outsider. It was the same with singer Shahid Mallya, who has been the voice behind some amazing songs such as Rabba Mai toh Marr gaya, Do Dhaari Talwar, Kukad (Student of the Year), Tauba Mai Vyah Karke Pachtaya, Iski Uski, and the list goes on.

One might think that the voice behind these songs would have a peaceful life, just like his songs. However, that’s not the case. In an exclusive conversation with The Pioneer, the singer opened up about his struggles to make a mark in the industry.

Every time he looks back at his journey, he said, “I see a lot of struggles that I have been through. When I first arrived in Mumbai, we hadn’t even entered the digital era, and it was extremely difficult to communicate with people, whether family or work.”

For the unfamiliar, Shahid began his career in the music industry by replacing the legendary Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. Yes, you read it right. “See, I believe one has to focus on their work, be good at their work, and polish themselves. At the end of the day, it’s your work that speaks, and if you’re doing good, you will be noticed. I do believe there is groupism; they do have their favourite singer, and there are artists that they would want to work with. There is nothing wrong with groupism if it is made up of talented artists. Songs are replaced; this is also a good and a bad thing. Even when I first came to the industry, I replaced Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, though he is a legend and a very great singer. As a result, despite my membership in the circle, if someone replaces me, I replace them. However, if your efforts are commendable, you carve out your own space. I focus on my hard work and not where I am being replaced,” she shared. Every artist tries to reflect their real-life experiences in their work, be they, musicians or actors. And with this, the Ikk Kudi singer said, “I have had a lot of ups and downs, and I take it as my learning. Even though it was a tough phase in my life, it has taught me a lot. My father is a singer and wanted to sing in Bollywood, but an unfortunate accident changed our lives. Since my childhood, I have had my share of hardships and finally got a breakthrough in 2011 with Pritam da’s song, and then our lives just changed. I’m very thankful to God that people are loving my recent Shauq and somewhere your hard work pays. People are loving it because there’s truth in it and it’s relatable.”

After Daryaa, many songs by the Radha singer couldn’t do well. But he shared, “I’ve been a struggler, and even today I’m struggling, but at a good level. I won’t give up. I have worked hard, I have trained myself for this, and I’m always ready for rejection. And the way the industry works, having someone else sing after you sing, these things used to bother me, but once I started replacing people, it just became a different thing. I started handling myself in a better way, but then the pandemic hit. My singles were out, but they said, ‘Patience pays off.’ So I used to wait and always have hope. Music is my passion and life, and going ahead with it is my everything.”

Did you know that the versatile singer lent his voice to late actor Irrfan Khan’s son, Babil Khan, in the film Qala, and the singer praised the budding actor and said, “He is a very down-to-earth person and hardworking? Being the son of a legendary actor, he undoubtedly inherited the genes that were evident in his work. I would say he’s a good actor, and he will surely make a mark in the future.”

Qala highlights the competition and rivalry among musicians. Asked if he felt envious or if other musicians tried to drag him down, without any hesitation, he said, “As the film shows, it is true that people are insecure about someone else being better than them. There were days when organisers wouldn’t give me the entry, even composers used to say, “We have artists who have so many followers; they have a big name, et cetera.” This happens; we never know when politics will strike us. I concentrate on my work, and I believe people will notice the best and take them forward.”

Many believe that reality show singers come and stay in the limelight for quite some time. The Daryaa singer couldn’t agree more and said, “Industry needs people who have experience and are hardworking; along with beauty and humility, they need to be good humans too to being a good singer. The charm of reality show contestants doesn’t stay and doesn’t work out with their on-air attitude.”

Having faced several struggles all his life, we asked if there were days when he felt like giving up, to which he says, “One has to struggle, without which you cannot enjoy success, and there have been times when I felt like giving up. It was an 11-year struggle, not a one- or two-year struggle, and having such thoughts was natural. Every time that you enter a new year, you feel that that’s going to be your year, but when that doesn’t happen, you’re disheartened, but you’ll have to stand for yourself and believe in hope.”

Ending the chat on a lighter note, the maestro, who is currently working with Amit Trivedi, Sohail Sen, and Vishal Sekhar, pointed out that he is someone who is always going to be against the recreation culture.

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