In recent times, two of the biggest hits have been belted out by this person. The lad from Delhi has a unique voice that oozes innocence and romanticism. And, of course, melody. Meet Javed Ali, the singer behind the magical success of Nagara Nagara from Jab We Met and Jashne Bahar from Jodha Akbar.
"Music is in my blood. My father is a well known Ghazal singer in Delhi and I have trained under him before moving to Mumbai about eight years back," says Javed when yours truly caught him in a chatty mood. "Right from my childhood I wanted to be a ghazal singer like my father. I used to come to Mumbai during vacations earlier, but my voice was completely different then since I used to sing only ghazals." In one of those trips Javed met Kalyanji-Anandji and after hearing him sing they advised him to relocate to Mumbai.
"I took their advice and landed in the city of dreams with my bags. My taste and singing style changed completely after I came to Mumbai. I started training under Kalyanji for light music. That was during my adolescence and my voice cracked while training. I had no choice but to go back to Delhi because I just could not sing," remembers Javed who had almost given up hopes of becoming a singer after going back to Delhi.
Not one to give up, Javed returned to Mumbai after a couple of years and got his first break. "Viju Shah gave me my first break in the film Beti Number 1. I struggled a lot during those days – used to visit every music director and sing in front of them," recalls Javed. In one such meeting, Jatin Lalit was impressed with his crooning skills and gave him a qawalli-cum-clasical number to sing. "It was for the film Haasil and won a lot of acclaim from all quarters," says Javed.
But the real big break for Javed came when Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy gave him a break in the film Kyun Ho Gaya Na. "The song Baat samjha karo became a hit. Within a few days of the song being released, Shankar called me again for a dummy recording. When the song was being recorded none us thought it would be such a big hit. Shankar told me that it was a dummy recording, but Aditya Chopra (producer of the film) heard the recording and liked my voice and decided to retain that," recollects Javed. The song in question was Kajra Re Kajra Re from the film Bunty Aur Bubli. "Alisha Chinoi sung the song so well, and the visual appeal of the song was so much that my singing went unnoticed," says Javed with a smile.
After that Javed’s calendar started getting busier and busier. "I sang for a number of films like Golmaal, Malamal Weekly, Neil and Nikki and Zindagi Rocks. My first solo hit, however, is from the film Naqaab – Ek Din Tere Rahon Mein…and that is when people really started noticing me and realized that I could sing romantic numbers as well."
"I feel very happy about the fact that most directors recommend my name to the music directors. For example, even Imtiaz Ali (director of Jab We Met) suggested my name to Pritam. There are a number of other such instances," says a proud Javed.
However, Javed feels his most memorable number till date is Kahne Ko Jashne Bahar from Jodha Akbar. "I was dying to work with A R Rehman and my name was recommended by a senior voice over artiste – Brij Bhushan. I got a call from Mr Rehman’s office a few days after that and that is how the Jodha Akbar song happened. It was truly a memorable moment for me when I sung this song," explains an emotional Javed. "When I went for the recording, I was so nervous that my voice was trembling. When I reached his recording studio, it was such a nice ambience and Mr Rehman is cool like a cucumber. I don’t think I will ever forget the experience. He first made me do a few scratch recordings and then recorded a qawali in my voice." Unfortunately that song was dropped from the movie, but Ashutosh Gowariker heard that number and asked Mr Rehman to make me sing Kehne ko Jashne Bahar," Javed recollects fondly. "I received congratulatory messages from a number of people in the industry for my rendition including Sonu Nigam and Shaan."
Javed concludes the chat with a very interesting view on competition in the industry. "I feel our industry is so big that it can accommodate everybody. So competition does not worry me. I am only worried about quality."
Srabanti Chakrabarti (SAMPURN)