By Sukant Deepak
New Delhi, July 18 — With an unparalleled rawness, pitch and unique ability to blend Indian folk and Sufi, redefining the grammar of playback singing in the contemporary Hindi cinema, singer and composer Kailash Kher, who shot to limelight with “Allah Ke Bande” (“Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part II”) will soon set up The ‘Kailash Kher Academy of Learning Arts’ (KKALA) at Versova in Mumbai.
Talking about the physical space, which will also have a strong online presence, Kher, the man behind the numbers like “Teri Diwani” and “Saayian” elaborates, “It will be called ‘KKala Dham’. A place conducive for aspiring and established musicians, scholars and researchers to come together. Just like Prithvi for theatre people, which boasts of a cafe for discussions and a bookshop, Kala Dham will grow into a space where anyone passionate about music can walk in.”
The centre, which was supposed to be launched on July 7 this year, but could not owing to the lockdown will impart training in music and performing arts, and also incorporate a dance studio and an intimate auditorium with a seating capacity for people between 50 and 100 where ticketed performances will be held every week. “We want to make the place abuzz with highly qualified teachers, industry veterans and new age musicians who have bent the rules,” says Kher.
The musician, who composed five songs in a single day this week says, “Singing in Sanskrit was an extremely meditative exercise for me. I will produce and launch the two songs on Shiva this Sawan.”
Optimistic that live performances will come back with a bigger fervour once the pandemic is a thing of the past, Kher, who in his career spanning 15 years has performed at 1,200 concerts worldwide and sung 1,500 songs for movies and albums, and has been fervently composing during the entire period, says, “The world has seen worse tragedies. Have we forgotten the World Wars? The key here is to be optimistic. Art has always been instrumental in soothing the soul and its place in our lives is indispensable. Even in times like these are we not doing hugely popular online concerts?”
Part of HCL Soundscapes on July 18, Kher feels that more corporates need to come forward to support artists in these times. “Major companies with huge profit margins need to understand their social responsibilities. This is also the time for people to evolve and use social media more meaningfully.