Lucky Ali, who gave us such unforgettable hits as O'Sanam and Ek Pal Ka Jeena, is a man of few words. And those, too, preferably set to music. To THE WEEK’s questions, he gave short but evocative replies that succinctly put across his philosophy in life. Much like his music. Excerpts from an exclusive interview:
After a long time, we are suddenly seeing a lot of you, like at the launch of The Den hotel in Bengaluru and at the India Design Confluence in Ahmedabad. You also performed at the Red FM Rider's Music Festival in Delhi last month. What excites you about such events now?
Love. The love that I get from people and the love that happens when we do the music. The general vibe of the people there makes me want to do it.
After 2011, we have only seen you on and off. And now you are more into spiritual music.
Nothing like that. I do all genres of music. I am just a normal musician trying to find his way through the notes. And I have discovered the [ultimate] note—the eighth note. It is silence. That is probably this journey’s culmination. Silence—that is the final aim.
Who is your favourite singer?
Today there is so much of talent that I would be wrong to say that ‘this one is better than that one’. But you need to give them the opportunity to form [their] music, to do [their stuff].... India still does not have that. There was a start with Channel V and MTV, but then it died down because Bollywood took over.
Are any of your children serious about music?
All of them! My daughter (Tasmia) sings quite frequently. My son (Taawwuz, who, along with Tasmia, are children from his first wife Meaghan) is a bit shy, but he has got his own band back in New Zealand. He and my nephew make music together.
Sara and Raiyan, my two other children (from second wife Inaya), are freshers in this. So they are just discovering their voices, the rhythm, and what they feel. They are in that space.
You played the lead character in the film Sur. How do you feel about being an actor, a playback singer, and a singer-performer?
Strangely, I look at it from a very different perspective. Whatever work I have done have had a bearing on my journey. And I am experiencing it, and trying to express it to the best of my ability at the moment. I do not have any future plans as such. Like 'Oh, I have to do this' or something. I cannot function according to plans. Because when you plan, then nature [comes up with] a different plan. I take it as it comes.
What do you do when you are not making music?
I keep silent. I hope I can get to that point. I am 60 years old now. I calculate my birthday according to the lunar calendar.
Among your songs, which one is your favourite?
I like all of them (laughs). They are all very personal to me. I never did any song thinking, ‘oh, I gotta write a song’. All of my experiences, my goals, my hopes, what I strived for [and] hoped to achieve are all there in the work that I have done. My music is about me.