By Subhash K Jha
On Friday afternoon when the deceased legend Michael Jackson’s brother Jermaine arrived to collaborate with Adnan Sami there was a sense of disbelief in the city. Jermaine arrived with his wife Halima. They both checked into the Taj but spent the entire evening at Adnan’s place discussing music, food, social concerns and Michael Jackson (MJ).
“It’s been an exhausting but amazing time since Jermaine arrived,” chuckles Adnan after an exhilarating session with Jermaine at the newly-revamped T Series recording studio. “That’s why I didn’t make any announcements about Jermaine’s arrival. I didn’t want to sound premature in my excitement since Jermaine had visa issues and his arrival in Mumbai was uncertain till the last minute.”
Adnan and Jermaine have got together to record a tribute to Mumbai City. “It will be part of an album we’ve been working on for two years, long before Michael Jackson’s sudden death. Jermaine loves India and Mumbai. I could’ve easily joined him in Los Angeles to record the song. But Jermaine insisted on coming down.”
Adnan intends to make the third of the Jackson siblings familiar with the sights and sounds of Mumbai and India. “After the recording is over we’re going to Chowpatty and all the other hot spots of Mumbai. Jermaine loves Indian food. But he doesn’t want to have the 5-star stuff. He wants to taste the pao-bhaji, paani-puri, bhelpuri, batata-vada and all the street-slurps.”
A visit to the Taj Mahal is also on the anvil. “We’ll visit the Taj and Fatehpur Sikri where as you know, Tansen once sang. I’d have loved him to stay in my house. But I thought a hotel would be more comfortable for Jermaine and Halima. I’m bowled over by his humility and his hunger to learn and know about Indian culture. His down-to-earth nature reminds me of Mr Bachchan.”
Adnan plans a very exclusive sit-in dinner party in Jermaine’s honour at his home on October 7. Jermaine also heard Azaan’s music and loved it. The Jermaine-Adnan album will be marketed in India by T Series and internationally on Jermaine’s label. “T series re-revamped their entire studio and equipment for Jermaine’s recording,” says Adnan. “We’re doing two songs together, one of them a tribute to Mumbai and its unstoppable energy”
Says Adnan, “My son had a problem when Jermaine came home. He has two dogs named after Elvis Presley and MJ. ‘How can we call ‘MJ’ when Jermaine Uncle is around?’ I tried to convince him that the name was a tribute to MJ. But my son refused to call out our canine’s name while Jermaine was around.”