Musically Yours: Javed Ali


By Nikhil Ramsubramaniam, Bollywood Hungama News Network

On a rainy day, listening to his songs can indeed be a blissful experience. He has an extremely soothing voice which comes across in the songs he has sung. Be it the love ballad 'Ek Din Teri Raahon Mein' from Naqaab or the melodious 'Jashn-e-Baharaa' from Jodhaa Akbar or the soulful 'Guzarish' from Ghajini, Javed Ali's voice leaves a distinct mark in each of these songs. Bollywood Hungama profiles this upcoming talent in the field of music who is sure to be heard a lot in the days to come.

My Background

"I am originally from Delhi. Music has always been in my blood as my dad is a singer. I have grown up watching his shows live. His qawallis are still very popular. Right from a very young age, I was musically inclined. I then started training for vocational singing. I have trained under various Gurus in Delhi such as Shabbir Khan saab, Mallu Khan saab, Majid Khan saab. I have also tutored under Devki Panditji. In 1999, I came to Mumbai to pursue a career in music. Late Kalyanji bhai (of Kalyanji-Anandji fame) was instrumental in getting me to Mumbai."

My First Break

"When I came to Mumbai, I wasn't too aware of the different genres of music. I used to sing a lot of ghazals of Ghulam Ali Khan saab. When I saw the Bollywood music scene, I was really fascinated. Kalyanji bhai encouraged me to sing different kinds of songs in different styles. Kalyanji bhai was also instrumental in getting me my first break in the Govinda starrer Beti No.1. It was a song called 'Chori Chori Aankh Ladi' and the music was composed by Viju Shah (Kalyanji bhai's son). That was my first song as a playback singer."

The Turning Point

"After my first song, I did get a few offers and did sing in some films like Haasil, Chameli and Kyun! Ho Gaya Na. However, none of the songs really became popular. I first got noticed courtesy a remix of 'Bin Tere Sanam' which I had sung for DJ Suketu. Although no one really worries about who the singer is in a remix, the remix went on to become such a big hit that I did get some work post that.

However, the real turning point came with the song 'Kajra Re' from Bunty Aur Babli which went on to become a chartbuster. Although it was Alisha Chinai who got the maximum benefit from the song as it was essentially a female number, the song did help me get noticed too. It was a big banner YRF and the song was picturised on three biggest stars- Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai. I was singing for Abhishek Bachchan and I simply couldn't have asked for more."

My First Solo Hit

"After 'Kajra Re', people started taking my work seriously and I began getting more solo numbers such as 'Rehja Re' (Golmaal), 'Meri Dhoop Hai Tu' (Zindaggi Rocks) . However, the one song that catapulted me to sudden popularity was 'Ek Din Teri Raahon Mein' from Naqaab. It's a beautiful composition by Pritam and was my first solo hit number. It gave me a lot of confidence that I could deliver a hit on my own."

Working with the music maestro A .R. Rahman

"Mr. Brij Bhushan, one of the greatest VO artists, had recommended my name to Mr.A.R.Rahman. Rahman sir was looking for a fresh new voice for Jodhaa Akbar. He called me for an audition in Chennai and I recorded a 10 minute qawalli along with Udit Narayan and Alka Yagnik. That qawalli didn't make it in the film but Ashutosh Gowariker liked my voice and asked Rahman if he could get me to sing another song. That's how 'Jashn-e-Baharaa' happened, a soft, romantic number which went on to become a huge hit. It's a beautiful composition and has a feel of innocent love. After that I got an opportunity to sing a few more songs for Rahman sir such as 'Guzarish' (Ghajini) and 'Arziyan' (Delhi 6) . By the grace of God.....both songs went on to become really popular.

I am truly privileged that I got a chance to work with someone of the stature of Rahman sir. Whenever I go to Chennai to record for him, there is an excitement of trying out something new. For example, in Yuvvraj, I recorded an alaap in 'Tu Muskura' which a lot of people really liked. He is truly a master when it comes to trying out something new each time."

My Kind of Music

"I listen to all kinds of music. It just depends on my mood. Sometimes I am in the mood to listen to old songs, sometimes I like listening to soft numbers, at times it may be a nice Western romantic number. I enjoy everything right from Ghazals to Rock music."

Role Models

"Right since childhood I have been a huge fan of Rafi saab and really admire him a lot.'

What's playing on my iPod now

"Rafi saab's 'Kabhi Khud Pe Kabhi Haalat Pe Rona Aaya'"

I wish I had sung....

"'Lamha Lamha' from Gangster...In fact I had recorded the song earlier but they finally decided to use Abhijeet's version."

My favorites among the current lot of singers

"All the singers we have today are really talented. If I have to pick my favorites, I would say I really like K.K. and Sonu Nigam."

On being compared with Sonu Nigam

"I don't think about these things while singing. I just enjoy my singing."

Winning the IIFA award for Best Male Playback Singer
"It's a huge honour to win such a prestigious award like IIFA. I had earlier won the Mirchi Music award for the same song 'Jashn-e-Baharaa' (Jodhaa Akbar) but this is my first really big popular award."

My future projects

"Recently I sung a song in Short Kut- 'Pal Pal Koi Pagalpan Kyun Hota Hai' and there is also a song in Dekh Re Dekh - 'Sapne Huye Pardesi'... I have also recorded an album which should be out soon. Besides this, there are a lot of films where you will get to hear me in the future inshallah."