We had a great chat with the versatile Aditya Narayan about his journey as a musician, an actor, a director and also a TV Host. Read on to find out more about this talented artist.
How was it growing up in your father’s shadow?
I think I’m very lucky to have him as my father. I have always admired and looked up to him. In fact I’m fortunate to have a very simple and a loving family who never made me feel like a ‘star kid’. Its probably because of our humble roots. I’ve seen my dad’s entire career graph. We belong to a village in Bihar which still doesn’t have electricity. My grandfather was a farmer. Mom, dad & 1 used to live in my mom’s house in Kalina in a 1bhk. It was his struggle that I have seen and experienced . I have seen both the sides his struggle & his success. I know the value of 5 paise. That is what has kept us grounded. You know when I was born, my dad wasn’t actually happy because he was struggling then and was going through a lot of pressure. But i guess i was lucky for my family. Qayamat se qayamat happened in the same year that i was born. He has never looked back after that day.
You started your career in music at a very, very young age. Do you think you would’ve chosen this path even if you weren’t born in a musical family?
I’m not sure. A lot of it has to do with my DNA. Not a lot of people know that my mother too is a successful playback singer in regional films. I have loved the arts of music & films since the day that i can remember. Even before i developed a conscience, i was already in love with music. Its in my karmic destiny to be born into this family & do what im doing.
As a child, you also started working in movies, how was your experience of working with Shahrukh Khan and Salman Khan at that young age?
I was too young to realise that i was working with superstars. To their credit, they never let me feel that way either. I just remember having a lot of fun working with both, Salman & Shah bhai. I remember this one night with Shahrukh we were shooting in Mysore and after the schedule wrap we were chilling in this lounge and girls were dying to dance with him but he was busy dancing the night away with us. Salman is a riot on the sets. He is the biggest kid on set. But when we’re shooting, he’s truly gifted. I remember being stuck in one of the emotional scenes in the movie and him him patiently helping me out. They have always been very encouraging to me. I continue to look up to them.
You released an album called “Aditya” as a child artist, how did that happen?
In the olden days, female singers used to do playback for kids. So technically i was probably the first and the only kid doing playback for kids. That is when Universal Music approached us and my parents asked me if I was interested so I was like yeah why not. They wanted to do a remix album since at that time there werent really any remix songs or albums. We shot a video with ken ghosh. It did very well and was a huge hit. Then my voice started to cracking and I started sounding like a frog. Which is when my father explained me that every boy goes through this phase for a few years during adolescence. So i took a break from professional singing for a few years and (tried to) concentrate on my studies
How was the experience of working as a host of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa for four seasons?
I’ve hosted over 250 episodes so far & it has been a great experience. Honestly, i had never even considered TV to be a career option when i was 18. At that time i was studying music in London. I had just returned home after completing my diploma which is when zee called me to audition, which i did within the next couple of days & before i knew it, i was chosen! That particular season went on to garner a record breaking viewership, making me a household name overnight. People loved my work & i continued to host Saregamapa for 3 consecutive seasons. I hosted saregamapa lil champs last year & am all set to return as the host for my fifth season. Saregamapa has helped me establish my own identity, i bought my first house at 21 & re-started doing live concerts as well. I also started getting a lot of offers as a lead actor for movies. But one that caught my attention the most was Vikram Bhatt’s offer.
You’ve said that working in Shaapit made you rethink your priorities in life, how did that happen?
I was not expecting this kind of success at such an early stage of my life. I love horror movies, so when Vikram approached me with ‘Shaapit’ I was extremely excited. I thorroughly enjoyed working on Shaapit. Unfortunately it didn’t do very well at the box office. That’s when I realized that all this abundance of job offers only last till the time you are doing well. Suddenly, film offers disappeared. That’s when i actually, for the first time in my life, thought about what my next step was going to be. I think i must be the first person in the history of world cinema to become a lead actor first & then an assistant director!
What is your take on reality shows in general?
Reality shows provide a great platform for all kinds of talent. But honestly I’m disappointed that not a single contestant has managed to scale great heights after their wins or stints in these shows. If only they stayed grounded & focused on becoming even better as musicians. Well, hopefully someone proves me wrong really soon 🙂
You’ve done many, many shows along with your father, how is that experience and do you discuss your music with him?
On the contrary, we discuss very little music with each other. In fact, at home we usually spend more time talking and eating. My father is very supportive of everything that i do. My parents are usually the first ones to listen to a new song that i’ve sung, composed &/or written. We do travel a few times a year & do concerts together. It’s always surreal to have your name up there with Udit Narayan, headlining the show with him. I feel blessed. He is always proud of me. When i’m performing on stage, never does he once sit in the green room. He is always cheering for me backstage. And visa versa.
Ram Leela gave you some big hits, how was it working with Sanjay Leela Bhansali? How did this project really come about?
I hosted this music show called ‘X Factor’ for sony back in 2011. After that i had plans of doing a small course in filmmaking since i come from a music background. Sanjay sir was one of the judges on the show. Not a lot of people know this but he was supposed to launch Alia & Me almost a decade ago in a film. So i guess you could say that he was the first person to see an actor in me. So after the show ended, i asked him if i could assist him in his next movie. He reluctantly agreed. So when i was assisting him in the music department as well, i would usually sing all the scratch versions of all the songs in the film. One fine day he happened to hear my scratch version of ‘Tattad Tattad’ and liked it so much that he decided to keep it. He didnt even make me wing the song again. So basically i’ve sung the song in one take & have no recollection of singing the biggest hit of my life so far!
What is your stance on the current music scene in Bollywood, given that everyone is making dance numbers?
No comments. God bless everyone.
Apart from Mohabbat, what are your upcoming projects in the near future?
Saregamapa. I’ve also signed a film & start shooting in a week! Can’t talk more about it but wish i’m extremely excited to be acting after almost 5 years. Wish me luck!
What would you like to tell your fans via The Score Magazine?
Thank you for always supporting & encouraging me. I love the fact that i have a personal connect with you guys (thank you social media) Everything i do, i do it for you 🙂
1. What is love?
It took me 10 songs to explain love in my album. Please hear it.
2. Best singer EVER
Me in 30 years. Also Kishore Kumar & Papa
3. Music to you is
4. What would you like to eat right now?
I have a terrible sweet tooth so i would say Nutella pancakes & Waffles with maple syrup!
5. Which music director have you loved working with?