Sing From Your Heart - Shaan
Do you need a great voice to be a great singer? Find out in this exclusive conversation with one of the best playback singers India has ever produced, Shaan. It’s a ParentCircle exclusive.
By Deepika Mohan
With nearly 500 film songs, 27 years as playback singer and awards galore – Shantanu Mukherjee, popularly known as Shaan, is one of the most versatile singers India has ever produced. Shaan and Sagarika make for one of the greatest siblings in India’s musical scene.
Considered the ‘Golden Voice of India’, Shaan started his career when he was just 17. His journey was not easy, but the fighting spirit and values that he inculcated from his mother led him to great heights of success. In a candid conversation with ParentCircle, Shaan and his wife, Radhika, talk about singing as a career, their parenting style and more. Here are the excerpts.
Q Singing is still considered an unconventional career option. Many children aspire to be singers, but do not get the right support from parents…
As parents, it is important we know what interests our children other than just academics. We should encourage them to give their best and help them execute it well.
Singing is something every child should imbibe in his life. Given the high level of competition these days, it’s difficult for someone with average talent to go a long way. But if your child has the passion, you should let your child pursue it the way he wants. The key is to help your child get the required help.
Q Is it mandatory to have a ‘good’ voice to be a good singer?
Today, there are no such norms that only melodious or soft voices can make it big professionally.
One should create his own USP. When there is something unique that artists can project in their singing or their voice, there is a market out there for them. The difference between good singing and effective singing is that when you sing from your heart, it becomes effective. It’s very important to believe in your voice and enjoy what you do. Your passion for singing should not only stay but grow.
Q Your children, Soham and Shubh, are following your footsteps. They’re still very young. Are they equipped to handle success, failure and stardom?
The guidance I've given Soham (15 years old) and Shubh (12 years old) on handling success, failure and stardom is more than just advice. I believe in leading by example. My children know that success will come and go, and that failure is just another stepping stone to help them attain their goals. Stardom is again something I’ve never taken seriously. So, I know my children won't either.
Q You clearly seem to share a very special bond with your sons. Tell us about your parenting style…
I lost my dad when I was 14. Although I always feel his presence, I have missed him terribly in my life. This has urged me to create a special bond with Soham and Shubh. My kids know that I am always there for them. I've never pushed my children to do something they are not comfortable doing. I know it's very important for them to find their own space like my mother helped me find mine. I am very particular that my sons respect elders and women. My parenting style is extremely lovable, casual, and easy.
It's very important that my children see me as their role model, it makes me want to be a better person
Q What is the best thing about being a parent?
Radhika: The best thing about being a parent is that you understand what unconditional love really is. When you know your children need you, it turns you into a responsible adult.
Shaan: The best thing about being a parent is you feel responsible for someone else and it makes you want to work harder than you did before. You want to prove to your children that their dad didn't just run the race but ran the race and came first. It's very important that my children see me as their role model, it makes me want to be a better person.
Q Both of you are equally busy in your careers. How do you manage to spend time with your children?
Radhika: Yes, we are busy in our careers but there's always time for our sons and loved ones. We make that time. Since Soham and Shubh are in school, it's very difficult for us to take time off with them. So, when they are off from school, we manage to sneak out with them.
Q Tell us a little about a typical day at home. How do you, as a family, handle stardom?
Radhika: We live an extremely normal life like every other family. We pack our children off to school, then do some household chores before heading off to the office. Usually by 6:30 or 7 in the evening, the children and I are back home and the house is bustling with activity. Shaan comes in late quite often. We are well aware that it's Shaan who is the celebrity and we're reflected glory. We go to parks and visit malls but we don’t need security guards. People are extremely shocked about that. I don’t feel the need to have this paraphernalia around us. Shaan is the star, not us.
Q Tell us about some of the fun times you spend with your children
Radhika: Shaan and the children like to spend time together playing board games, heading out to a movie or just lazing around watching a sitcom. Soham and Shaan have very healthy debates on music, current affairs, history and more. So they are usually talking about documentaries and scientific stuff. Shubh and I love to goof around. We're two teams at home – Soham and Shaan, Shubh and I.
Q According to your children, who is the cool parent?
Shaan: I'm definitely the cooler one for the kids.
Radhika: The children obviously see their dad all over the place so he's definitely the cooler person.
Q Your message to the parenting community
Shaan: Let your kids be. They'll figure it out. They will find their true calling. I urge parents who have sons to raise them to respect women and treat them the right way. Like Radhika says, “enough said about how to raise your girls like boys, it's time you raise your boys like girls.”
Let your kids be. They'll figure it out. They will find their true calling
Q What would be your advice to your children now and ten years later?
As an individual, you have the ability and passion. When you have the ability to do something but are not passionate about it or you are disinterested, then it becomes a job. But, if your passion is equal to your ability, then it becomes a career. That's a very sweet spot to be in. Try and find your true calling, that sweet spot in your life, be it in a relationship or a career. If you're happy from within, you're happy from outside. Ten years from now, our advice would remain the same.
Hall of Fame
- Shaan won Filmfare Awards for ‘Best Male Playback Singer’ consecutively in 2007 and 2008.
- He participated as a contestant in the dance show 'Jhalak Dikhhla Ja' in 2013 and won the fourth place.
- He won the MTV Asia Music Award for best solo album for Tanha Dil in 2000.
- He has sung in several languages, including Hindi, Marathi, Urdu, Bengali, Telugu, Kannada, Tamil and Konkani. He has also lent his voice to some Pakistani songs.
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