Saturday, October 8, 2011

Lucky Ali Speaks

"I want people to be happy."
Says the singer-musician-songwriter-actor 'Lucky Ali'

Image courtesy: Vaidyanathan (ydntn photography)
I feel lucky at reproducing a few statements and quotes which were said by Lucky Ali over the years on various occasion.

Lucky Speaks on his solful music

"I'm not a trained singer, but I love singing,"

"I will sing what I want to sing," he says simply. "Just because I have a couple of hits, does not mean I turn into a full time playback singer. I should enjoy doing the work."

About his music, he says "I am not a trained musician. I play by the ear, by my instincts. And I've always been singing. It's been a serious hobby with me. And I compose my own music". "I met Aslam at a Jamaat. He wanted to write songs for me, so we got together and everything happened. We vibed well."

About his music he says "My music happens to me when I least expected it. I'm untrained and the style is free."

So how does he qualify his music? ''My music is 'Everybody's Music." I don't belong to any particular genre. But I don't understand what pop music actually is. There should be no categories. Everybody should express himself or herself in a way they feel best. I am doing what makes me feel good.''

"I discover music. I don't believe I create anything; I only discover things. I discovered my form. It may have been there all along. But I searched for it and found it; I discovered that I could express myself in it."

About the simplicity, he says, "It's the melody that is important to me. Music is not just about learning notes or playing an instrument. One has to understand music from within and then reach out. I don't like too many instruments, so I consciously try to keep it simple."

In the fast-moving entertainment industry, Ali broke away from music for few years. "I can’t churn out songs like a factory," he explains. "There has to be a reason."

About his music album he says "It's never just a couple of tracks strung together. There's always a connecting theme, even though I don't necessarily stick to it right through. First, the music arrives. I then sit with the lyricist and musicians, and tell them about the direction I am looking for – the ambience in my head. We just take it from there. I work with professionals, so the task is always an easy one"

His albums have the Sufiana feel "Yes. But it is not planned. You may get the feel of Sufi music in my songs because I am a God-fearing person. Whatever I do, I always think of pleasing God with my work," he explains.

"I’ve always held on to melody,"

About his kind of music, Lucky says, "My songs are an extension of my personality. It is music that everyone listens to. Everyone understands my music since it is simple and that's the reason why it worked. The moment I start doing difficult things for people to swallow, it will be the end to my music and my career. I come out with what I can understand and if I don't, I keep my mouth shut. My songs reflect the various relationships that I have gone through over the years, the impressions that people I met in the course of my travels left on me and generally, life itself,"

Lucky just ''walked into music, ''You have to do it yourself. You can't expect things to just fall into your lap. Do something to the best of your ability. If it feels right in your heart, it must be good. I felt that if music is divine why wouldn't there be a market for it.''

About the fierce competition in the Indian Music Industry Lucky says "Competition? I have not come to compete with anybody. I have just come to do my stuff and get out. I don't want to hurt or harm anyone. I have their good will and they have my good will."

When asked what inspires his creativity and his songs, the artist said "I think what inspires me is simplicity, life, creation among a few. Also people, parents, all things that are normal to life inspire me."

Lucky Speaks on journey and his nomad nature
''The concept of home and family was not for me. I had to leave ... ''
Lucky Ali apart from music takes interest in nature and traveling. You can call him born traveler. He says "The moment I get a chance to travel, I am out. That's the only time I can probably get to be one with whatever is around us. And you can find nature in anything. You don't have to go a hill station. People squatting on Mumbai roads are also natural."

Lucky Speaks on food he takes
"My ideal meal is a homemade meal shared with my family after thanking God for it."
"I wake up at 5 am. Even before I open my eyes I take God’s name. Later, I say my namaz. Then I have a cup of coffee. I walk around and watch the sun rise."

"My favourite vegetables are ladyfingers, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumber, green leafy vegetables, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, peppers, mushrooms and sprouts. But I am not very fond of salads. I don’t mind chewing on a few leaves now and then. When I am in a mood to binge I enjoy chaats. I don’t worry about my throat. I am very fond of seafood and vegetarian food."

"I am a dessert person, my favorite desserts are gulab jamun and kulfi. I like Indian sweets. I relish the aam ras Gujaratis make. My fruit platter would comprise apples, mangoes, litchis and cherries. My favourite cuisine is Indian food. When I say Indian, I mean the entire sub-continent including Arabic, as their food reflects a lot of our influence. European food would come a close second. It is pretty light. Chinese, Malaysian and Thai would rank third, fourth and fifth. In Indian food I like patli yellow moong ki dal with roti and raitas."

"For a recording I don’t carry my own lunch but I avoid eating outside food as far as possible. If I am hungry in the evenings I eat whatever the kids are eating, potato chips and stuff like that."

"Dad was a great cook. He always cooked something for us. He was an ace at Arabic and Iranian food. I have six brothers and two sisters and all of them are good cooks. Strangely enough though, none of us know how to make biryani. Since we all like to experiment, our artistic bent of mind finds expression in our cooking talents. My wife makes excellent stir-fried vegetables. When she’s cooking I just add my own two bits."

"Boarding school food was good and not difficult to adjust to. Besides, my mom never spoilt us. I like anybody and everybody’s cooking."

"Food should be simple and clean and made with love. The person cooking it shouldn’t treat it like a chore. I don’t like restaurant food I would rather have homemade food. When I am in town, I ask my chachas to send me khichdi. In Bangalore I like the food at MTR. I am fond of idlis and wadas. South Indian food is quite healthy."

"I don’t drink, I am a teetotaler. My favourite beverage is water. But sometimes I just forget to drink any. I don’t carry my water from home since mineral water is available everywhere. On a hot summer day ideally, I would skip a meal. Or else, eat a meal of dal rice and dahi. Coconut water is always available at home. If not, a glass of nimbu pani, would be just fine. During winter in England I like drinking café latte (coffee in milk). In the rains I love chai."

Lucky’s musical recipe for lassi
"Take a patila of milk, put in a little curd, let it go to sleep, say goodnight. In the morning, good-morning, take it out, Patiala turning curd. Put in little sugar, then put it in madani, then dhar-dik, dhar-dik dhar-dik = lassi = paise assi in India."

Lucky Speaks on his work
"I trained as a horseman in America. It was sheer physical labor and it made me feel good to make a living from hard work", He used to like that experience and he even says.

He moved on to 'Pondicherry' where he worked on an 'Oilring' for one whole year. He even cleaned tanks there. When asked about his experience at Pondicherry, he says "I was there for a full year and I enjoyed it very much. It was like excising without having to go to the gym. But after sometimes I realized that my ambitions in life were different from those of guys out there who wanted to be crane operators after 14 years! So I quickly got out".

Horse breeder, singer, carpet seller, oil rig worker, actor… how does he done so many avatars? "That’s because my plans have never worked. Everything that has happened has never been planned. I don’t want to get stuck in the rut and do only one thing. I would rather do what I feel like doing and things I feel right about. I am a nomad at heart."

Lucky Speaks on his acting and bollywood
"Bollywood was never a career option for me. That’s not my kind of music. I just do it if someone simply asks me to do it…otherwise that’s not something I really enjoy doing."
"It is just another aspect of my ability to work in a creative environment, another facet of myself as an artiste."

"As far as doing something was concerned," says Lucky, "I always assumed I would be an actor. As did the people around me."

He was actually never fond of acting. Lucky remarks, "The films I wanted to do did not earn me any money. It was a hard life and I desperately needed to earn. I wanted to get married. You cannot do that on art films and my heart bled every time I thought of doing a commercial movie. I kept asking myself: Can you do that, man? Can you do that convincingly? The money was tempting but I knew it was beyond me. So, finally, one day I stopped this battle with myself and decided to move on."

He said "Acting is hard work. You incorporate the character's personality into your own. In my experience, it has been the directors prerogative to decide what part suits who, anyway, you live and breathe the character for a long time after the work experience, which is tough because everyone keeps wondering 'what's wrong with you'. In the Indian commercial film scene you probably get desensitized because the system does not want you to think it's geared towards the unthinkable."

Lucky speaks on his life, dreams and beliefs
"Because I don’t let my success go to my head. I am always aware of the truth that no matter how big a star you are, one day you have to go six feet under the ground,"
Lucky Ali has strong belief in God, "I believe in the doing of anything that is contrary to the will of creator, for me I understand faith."

When he was asked does his being of a staunch Muslim get in the way of his music, he replied "For me music is not a Nasha, rather a gift given to me by creator, the Ulema are divided on this issue and although there were quite a few fatwas for and against I decided I didn't want to be confused and I do music in order to generate a feeling of communication, friendship, peace etc."

When his mother died in 1993, he was completely shattered. He even went on to say, "For me everything died when my mother died.”

He is very laid back kinda man and take life as it comes. He has never involved himself in planning for future. "Can't say. Not because I don't want to but because I Don't know."

He goes on to say "I can't plan. Each day bring its own glories, own sorrows and I take things as they come. I don't know how long I will have this talent. At the end of the day, whatever I might have reached, I come back home, go to sleep and the next day, it's back to square one. One has to start the day all over again. All I know is who I am. All I know is that I will never journey away from myself. I have no illusions about life. I hope, Inshallah, that once this phase is over, I am able to move onto something else. Something nice and productive. Even now music is jus a serious, passionate hobby, not my career."

He talks about his future "Futures are built on experiences of the past. What is important to me is 'now' because dwelling in the past or thinking about the future is as furtile as the other. If the 'now' is uncomplicated. The future will take care of itself."

His dreams??, He explains "I want to learn to do 'Kiart', that is the recitation of the 'Koran'. That's my dream."

"That’s home. That’s where my farm is. I am an agriculturist who grows wheat, rice, fruit…."

When asked if he was to tell his fans just one thing, "This what I would tell my son "Keep is simple and work hard."

He is one man who is always on for some search. He is "The only thing constant in nature is change" type of guy.

"God has been kind. We get our three meals a day, and I have managed to do a lot. There is no long-term plan in mind. I simply take it as it comes."

Today he has well over 54 years of experience. He has been an 'Oil Ringer', 'Carpet Cleaner', 'Horse Breeder', 'Farmer', 'Software Professional', 'Traveler', 'Singer', 'Musician', 'Actor', what not but he still feels that he has not achieved his destiny. He says
"Not till I die would I have fulfilled anything."

For more Lucky Ali stuff, Do check the LuckyWorld.pps by Kapil Chandak. It's An X'clusive Presentation containing almost everything about Lucky Ali in 163 slides

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