Your special renditions for Lord Ganesha always creates a buzz around the eve of Ganesh Utsav. Tell us something about your songs in Lalbaugcha Raja.
Shankar: My son and I have been big bhakts of Lord Ganesha and we visit the Lalbaugcha Raja pandal every year. But this year is special because we got the opportunity to sing for this 10 track album, which also includes songs crooned by various artists. Although I have sung Hulla re (2 States) with Siddharth before, there were a few other singers too. So technically, Agyan ko is lobh ko is my first duet with him, which happened because of Times Music. The song has been composed by Kedar Pandit and we recorded the track in just around two – three hours. The album was launched last fortnight at the pandal and has been well received. We have also shot a video, which should be out very soon. Right from Vishwa Vinayak in 2001 to Lalbaugcha Raja now, all my odes to Ganesha have been very special.
Are you planning to cut your own single or album as an ode anytime soon?
Shankar: Although there are no immediate plans, I will definitely work on something very soon. Maybe in a year or so, but it will be something to look forward to.
Tell us something about your association with 92.7 FM’s Benedryl BIG Golden Voice Season 2.
Shankar: I think it is a wonderful opportunity because I have been judging reality shows since quite sometime, but this is the first time that I am judging a show for radio. Personally, I feel that radio is a much wider medium than television, since a lot of people in the interiors turn to their radio sets for music and entertainment. The entire show was conducted on radio, where right from the early elimination process to selecting the top 12 and then the finale contestants was done on air. Ultimately, the winner will get a chance to sing with me in any of my next projects. There were around 91,000 entries from which we had to get the final round of contestants. The show is also associated with my online academy, Shankar Mahadevan Academy, where the artist will get a chance to train under us.
Are you chalking out new plans in your career, be it in the non – film space or for your academy?
Shankar: Of course! I am currently working on a collaboration with the music maestro John Mclaughlin. It’s a purely Indian raga based album, which will include classical compositions. We are harmonising Indian classical rhythms for fans of the experimental genre. As for my academy, it started off three years back and now, we are reaching out to students in more than 47 countries. We have also got students in Brazil, Estonia, Japan among others. It is unbelievable how technology can help you spread the joy of teaching to so many countries, which wouldn’t have been possible in a regular brick and mortar set-up. But we are definitely trying to do something different in the non-film space, which I think as a genre hasn’t been fully explored. We are trying to create a strong market there. On a personal level, before I plan my next single or album, I need to decide as to which platform would be suitable to launch my work. So instead of going to a music label, I would like to create a pathbreaking platform of my own.
Your kitty is full with some interesting Bollywood projects. What can your fans expect?
Shankar: Ehsaan, Loy and I have worked on Shaad Ali’s Kill Dil, which comes out in November. Then, we are working on Zoya Akhtar’s Dil Dhadakne Do, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Mirziyan and Ghayal 2 among others. We are also focussing on regional films and we have got the Marathi film, Katiyar Kaljat Ghusli, where music plays an important part.
As a father and an artist, what is your take on Siddharth’s journey in the industry so far?
Shankar: He has got a long road ahead! Thankfully, age is on his side and he has got access to some of the best musicians in the country. So, there is a lot out there for him to learn. My only word of advice to him is to continue working hard, be grounded and strive for excellence. I think once he achieves all that, I think only sky is the limit for him.
Siddharth, singing with your dad must have been quite an experience. Any tips that he gave you in the recording studio before singing?
Siddharth: During this recording, not really. But otherwise, I ask him for feedback on my work, because he always helps me with valuable inputs. Since childhood, I have looked up to him and tried to learn from his working style. He is revered by several musicians and singing enthusiasts across the globe, so I am always seeking his advice. But when you are in the studio with him, one has to try and match up to his standards, or at least close by. In Agyan ko… I have tried to give my best and now, it is up to people how they accept my work.
What about your collaboration with cousin, Soumil Shringarpure? Any new projects coming up?
Siddharth: Yes! We have three Marathi films lined up, which should be out in the next six months. I am also working on a Hindi film, which is due to release early next year. Out of these, Sata Lota Pan Sagla Khota, starring Adinath Kothare and Mrunmayee Deshpande will mostly come out next month. We have also been working on a lot of jingles and the latest one for TVS, which is like an anthem, has also got a great response. We have also worked on couple of other jingles for Brittania Bourbon and DTDC among others, which has turned out quite well. There is also a Hindi film, for which we have composed all the three tracks in the album. That’s all I can reveal for now.
After Zinda and Malang, are the expectations from you as an artiste building up?
Siddharth: I am not taking any pressure. All I want to do is keep giving my best and do something better than what I did yesterday. I want to give my 100 per cent in everything that I do. The rest is up to what people perceive. I just hope that whatever I do, people will love, appreciate and accept it.