Music composers here have no choice but to deliver what is asked: Kailash Kher

Kailash Kher’s down-to-earth demeanor is reflected in his singing as well as his way of life. Although the artist owns a bungalow in Juhu, one of Mumbai’s wealthiest areas, the interiors of the house are simple and minimalist. A bronze statue of Lord Shiva adorns the center of the living room with a picture of the singer with his son Kabir hanging on the wall. After a short wait, we are warmly welcomed by Kailash, who starts the conversation over a cup of kahwah (traditional Kashmiri tea). Excerpts from the interview:

What was your biggest fan moment?

It was with my mother. She looked serious and calm. She wouldn’t be excited or upset about anything. After my father died, my mother developed dementia. As a result, she didn’t remember anything. However, to my surprise, she remembered the lines of my song “Allah ke bande” (Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part II; 2003); she sang it happily. She passed away in 2012. That moment (of her mother singing the song) will stay with me for the rest of my life. I’m glad my parents saw my success.

Kailash Kher playing with his son, Kabir. (

Do you miss something from your non-celebrity days?

I don’t miss anything. Life is a journey. We come to experience joy at different stages of life. You must embrace everything with love. I am grateful for everything I have today. When I arrived in Mumbai, I was in my thirties and I had nothing. But I was determined to explore music. I am stubborn. When I decide to do something, I realize it, no matter what.

Would you like your son Kabir to explore the field of music when he grows up?

He (Kabir) has a penchant for music. However, I don’t think he will become a musician. In fact, I don’t think about the profession he will choose. I believe that a child’s fate is sealed at birth. We can’t decide [their future]. I just want Kabir to become a good human being. It is the most important.

Do you prefer independent music or Bollywood music?

Independent music surely gives you the freedom to do whatever work you desire. Fortunately, I received appreciation and love for my albums. With Bollywood music, an artist has no creative freedom. Nowadays, musical directors receive a reference to [other Bollywood] Songs. They are told, “Jee iss gaane jaisi koi dhun banaiye (compose music similar to this song)”. Here, music composers have no choice but to deliver what is asked of them. This is the reason why the quality of music is poor today and there is less room for creativity. However, there are people who are doing good work and making efforts to create better music. Bollywood music reigns supreme in India, unlike Western countries, where independent music has a big market. We can just hope that the scenario changes here too.

A photo of Kailash Kher from the song ‘Teri deewani’. (Photo HT)

You write the lyrics to your songs. Are you planning to publish your poetry book?

I have pondered these lines for a long time. Many people asked me to compile my poetry and publish a book. I think poetry should have mysticism, love, desire, purity and devotion. My poetry has many layers, which people find intriguing and connect to. If you listen to song lyrics these days, they are all about superficial love and physical appearances. They lack soul. The lyrics of the songs from my latest album also give you a different interpretation of love, on a purer and deeper level.


    Rajany is a member of the lifestyle and entertainment team at HT Cafe. She writes stories for the music and culture sections and also edits copies for page 1 of the supplement.
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