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In The Composers’ Voice – 10: Shankar Mahadevan

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Shankar Mahadevan is considered as one of the finest vocalists in Indian music industry with a solid classical base and a crystal clear voice. Shankar Mahadevan has captured many hearts across the globe with his fine singing.

His private album Breathless made him famous and people still remember the title song even after two decades post its release.
He has collaborated with top listed music directors throughout these years. His versatility in music is reflected in his compositions (along with co-music directors Ehsan Noorani and Loy Mendosa) and singing style both.

It would be wrong if we introduce Shankar Mahadevan just as a Co-Music Director of the trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy as he is equally famous and popular as a singer. People often argue whether he is a composer turned singer or the other way round as his journey as a singer and composer started almost simultaneously.

So hold your breath and get ready for this musical ride.


1. Baawre – Luck By Chance (2009)

Baawre is a hindi song from the 2009 movie Luck By Chance. The song is sung by Baawre singers are Loy Mendonsa and Shankar Mahadevan. A first class example of quality Indian Classical vocals fused with a folk song. The song is composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. The lyrics are penned by Javed Akhtar. The video features Hrithik Roshan.


2. Title Track – Dil Chahta Hai (2001)

Dil Chahta Hai (Title) is a hindi song from the 2001 movie Dil Chahta Hai. The film brought freshness to Indian Cinema and so did the soundtrack. A complete package of various genres, the title track is a fun-filled song. Sung by Shankar Mahadevan and Clinton Cerejo, the track is composed by the trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. The lyrics are penned by Javed Akhtar. The video features Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan and Akshaye Khanna.


3. Pretty Woman – Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003)

Pretty Woman is a hindi song from the 2003 movie Kal Ho Naa Ho. A typical Bollywood dance number with a crazy groove, the tune is composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. The song went on to become one of the most popular tracks of the year. The song is written by Javed Akhtar. The video features features Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta. The video is well choreographed.


4. Tera Naina – Chandni Chowk To China (2009)

Tera Naina is a hindi song from the 2009 movie Chandni Chowk To China. A beautiful soothing soulful song, a fusion of Indian Classical with western rhythm loops. Excellent arrangement complimented by top class singing, the song is composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. The lyrics are written by Rajat Arora. The video features Akshay Kumar and Deepika Padukone.


5. Maa – Taare Zameen Par (2007)

Maa is a hindi song from the 2007 movie Taare Zameen Par. This song beautifully captures every child’s emotions for their mother, especially when they’re about to leave them for the first time to go someplace else.Sung by Shankar Mahadevan, the beautiful tune is composed by Shankar Mahadevan, Ehsaan Noorani and Loy Mendonca and penned by Prasoon Joshi. The song became very popular across all age groups after the release. Taare Zameen Par, which was Aamir Khan’s directional debut tells the story of a dyslexic child.


6. Title Song – Lakshya (2004)

Lakshya is a hindi song from the 2004 movie Lakshya. Shankar Mahadevan added his magical touch to the subject of the movie. Lakshya – the war drama film is regarded as a cult film among the audience. The highlight of the movie was Hrithik Roshan’s brilliant performance as Lieutenant Karan Shergill, who leads his team to victory over the Pakistani troops. The movie was Farhan Akhtar’s second movie as a director. Lakshya the title track is a power packed song which is an inspirational song of highest quality. The music is beautifully fused in the trademark style of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy Lakshya, a blend of indian classical, modern day rock and pop. Javed Akhtar again keeps it simple for the listeners without adding any complexity to the lyrics. The treatment of the song is grand using instruments like strings, drums and bagpiper. Shankar Mahadevan adds his quality vocals and great sense and meaning to the songs emotions. A great patriotic and motivational song.


7. Title Song – Wake Up Sid (2009)

Wake Up Sid! (Title) is a hindi song from the 2009 movie Wake Up Sid. The track is a modern day new age Alternative Pop Rock song. A fresh tune for youngsters. Shankar Mahadevan proves that he can sing song of any genre with equal ease. The song is composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy while the lyrics are penned by Javed Akhtar. The video features Ranbir Kapoor.


8. Kajra Re – Bunty Aur Babli (2005)

There is no way this song can be ignored. Kajra Re is a hindi song from the 2005 movie Bunty Aur Babli. This song remains the biggest hit of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy till date. Shankar Mahadevan along with Alisha Chinai and Javed Ali created magic with this vocals. Written by Gulzar the video features Amitabh Bachchan along with Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai.


9. Mitwa – Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006)

Mitwa is a hindi song from the 2006 movie Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna. Mitwa a sureshot chartbuster song upon release, captured the hearts of listeners who loved the sufi style of composition and treatment. It features the voices of Shankar Mahadevan along with Shafqat Amanat Ali and Caralisa Monteiro. The movie’s music is directed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. The video features Rani Mukherjee and Shah Rukh Khan. A touch of Indian classical music fused with Sufi Rock is what Mitwa is. Great Alaap by Shankar Mahanadevan adds distinct Indian folk feel to the song. Beautifully written by Javed Akhtar the song effortlessly conveys the on-screen chemistry of the lead pair. A great song to listen any time of the day.


10. Hindustani – Street Dancer (2020)

Hindustani video is from the Bollywood movie Street Dancer 3D starring Varun Dhawan and Shraddha Kapoor. The song is sung by Shankar Mahadevan and Udit Narayan and the music is recreated by Harsh Upadhyay. The original song was created for the movie ‘Dus’, written by Sameer and composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.

We hope you enjoyed the collection. Shankar Mahadevan has sung songs in various languages and the numbers are uncountable, hence missing out on some of the favorites cant be avoided. Kindly comment below your favorites. Stay tuned for the next article where we are introducing new series.

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