'Hari'cane of Melody
His voice carries the freshness of the rising sun. He also happens
be blessed with a swanky sense of humour. Welcome on board to the
ship of singer-composer Hariharan's exploits in the unfathomable
waters of entertainment.
Managing to etch his place in the news with a few priceless vignettes
here and there, this connoisseurs' latest venture - with fellow
Colonial Cousin Leslie Lewis - Aatma has done
reasonably well. Their hit single Kaye Zaala is the toast
of a zillion cable channels! His rendition of the title track of
Subhash Ghai's Yaadein is a worldwide favourite. And
now Hari is all charged up to wear grease paint for his first
outing as an actor in a Tamil-Hindi flick.
Power of Woman his maiden film, is woven around the
issue of women's liberation. His co-star in the film is this 'south-Indian
Goddess' - Khushboo and the director, Jaidevi
is a filmmaker who specialises in parallel cinema. "I am playing
the central character, an artist who runs an art school and sends
across subtle messages of feminism through his paintings. Khushboo,
my co-star, plays the role of a homemaker and shares a platonic relationship
with me," Hariharan informs.
One cannnot doubt the fact that Hariharan is endowed with a rare-honey-dipped
voice. There is an element of softness that makes his voice endearing,
very masculine and yet having that touch of womanly gentleness.
Let's rewind and find out something about his past. Hariharan
has been hugely inspired by his mother, who is an exponent of
Carnatic music. "My mother is my anchor. She has always
encouraged me. I think, that for anybody to succeed, one definitely
requires an anchor," says Hariharan reverentially.
Hariharan, the master-singer of today had to struggle a lot
initially. He fondly remembers composer Jaidev, the man who
gave him his first break in Muzaffar Ali's Gaman. It
was a ghazal that I had sung first; Ajeeb saneha mujh par guzar
gaya yaaron. As is the norm in the Indian entertainment industry,
he got slotted as a Ghazal singer till he recently broke the shackles
by singing a popular tune in A R Rahman's debut film, Roja.
But a protruding fact is his personal inclination towards Ghazal singing,
which he himself admits is his "prized passion".
Twenty-three Ghazal Albums are ample proof of his prolific
production." People used to find it amusing that a 'south-Indian'
is belting out Urdu couplets! But then, singing ghazals wasn't something
that just happened. I was very clear since the beginning of my career
that I wish to excel in Ghazal singing."
The two artistes he admires the most are Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan
(also his teacher) and Ghazal maestro Mehndi Hasan. He narrated
the incident when he met Mehndi Saab for the first time just
for you guys "Mehndi Saab heard my name and
tried to pronounce it twice or thrice and then said, naam mein goonj
hai," Hariharan says.
He has shared an artistically rich relationship with the Ghazal
doyen for over two decades. In fact, Hari paid his tribute
by rendering Mehndi Hasan's ghazals from the maestro's latest
album Sada-e-Ishq at the Y B Chavan Centre in Mumbai.
"I'm perhaps Hasan's greatest admirer and have treasured
some of his oldest recordings that were aired on Lahore Radio.
By: Faridoon Shahryar