Vishal Dadlani: Student Of The Year 2 is likely to have a deeper connect with India
Playing mentor to a crop of music reality show participants who he claims are as good as he is, Vishal Dadlani shares the secret to a long-running career
Vishal Dadlani is usually particular about the way he is shot on camera. We aren't sure why, given that the 22 kilos he's recently shaved off have also whisked decades off his appearance. When we meet him at an Andheri studio in the midst of the shoot of a music reality show, Dadlani looks fitter than he ever has.
We suspect, his unrelenting diary is to be credited for constantly keeping him on his toes. The musician has been juggling his duties as mentor on the show with his live performances across the globe. Always at home when the stage is beneath his feet, Dadlani says years of experience as a live performer has been a great teacher in enhancing his acts.
"The more you perform live, the more comfortable you get with the experience. You learn to deal with the eventualities that are bound to occur in such a scenario, whether it's with regard to the technicalities or even your own preparation. Experience teaches you how to find your pockets of rest, and your comfort zone that enables you to understand what to do before a show to make it work," says Dadlani, adding that seasoned performers also learn to "read the crowd" and amend their act accordingly.
Talking about performing for a sea of fans that had gathered in the cold climes of Shillong to watch his last act, Dadlani harbours the fever of a novice when he describes how the crowd turning up to attend his act breached his line of vision. Pitted against his likes, Dadlani inarguably enjoys a kind of adulation from the young crop of listeners that's unparalleled. It's only natural then that he - along with long-time collaborator Shekhar Ravjiani - be chosen to lend music to an array of youth-centric films in the making. Siddharth Anand's much-awaited Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff starrer is among the offerings that have occupied his attention.
Yet, it is his work on the second instalment of Student Of The Year that is a point of discussion. Six years after he created the soundtrack of Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan and Sidharth Malhotra's debut outing, Dadlani hopes to restructure his sounds to appeal to the current generation. "The second [instalment] is set in a specific area, so the music must carry the flavour of that place. The first film was more urbane. The second one is likely to have a deeper connect with India, because colleges have students from every strata of society [taking admission]. So, the reach will be wider than that of the first." Yet, the deciding factor, he admits, will be the nod he receives from the youth. "If they say, 'Yes, this music reflects how we feel', that will matter."
As mentor on Indian Idol, Dadlani has been particularly generous in showering love on the current crop of participants. He says the team behind the reality show has indeed "struck gold" with the selection. "Every single contestant has shown incredible versatility and can pull off every genre," he says. Yet, with the industry being flooded with talent, Dadlani, with his impressive resume, would certainly know the tricks to being the dark horse.
"Reality shows may give them visibility, but what they do after that depends on their dedication and openness to try new styles. Luck also plays a huge part [in determining success]. Yet, it is crucial to find one's own space. In a world where thousands of new faces are discovered, a lot depends on how an artiste projects his talent to stand out. We're [musicians] all doing the same thing, but the ones who are known and loved, have their own distinct voices. The generic will disappear. The ones who cut through the clutter are those who bring their individuality to every single [project]."
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