Birthday Jukebox: Shankar Mahadevan Loves Music in All its Forms

Thank god Shankar Mahadevan ditched his career as a software engineer for music!

3 min read
Birthday Jukebox: Shankar Mahadevan Loves Music in All its Forms

Did you know that Shankar Mahadevan, the four time National Award winning music composer and one of Bollywood’s most sought after male playbacks, had started his career as a software engineer? But then, music chose him and thank god for that! As the ace music director turns a year older today, we celebrate his music, with a jukebox of his most popular playback numbers.

Shankar has also sung many devotional numbers and his live performances have a spiritual energy that’s hard to put into words.

But food happens to be a close rival to music for the maestro. His wife said in an interview to Firstpost that if he wasn’t a singer he would’ve been a chef.

He enjoys cooking. In fact, he is an excellent cook. I do believe if he had not been a singer, he would have been a chef. He loves to experiment with food, he can cook Thai, South Indian, make great salads and soups. It suits me fine, I am neither a great cook nor do I enjoy cooking.
Sangeeta Mahadevan

Shankar Mahadevan goes back a long way with his partners in crime, Ehsaan Noorani and Loy Mendonsa. They have a rare and wonderful professional relationship, because their individual talents complement each others and they know how to give one another their personal space.

His unplugged performances capture his true essence. His Coke Studio fusion numbers are just mind-blowing.

Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have worked wonders in films like My Name Is Khan, Kal Ho Naa Ho, Lakshya, Wake Up Sid, Taare Zameen Par, Dil Dhadakne Do and Dil Chahta Hai to name a few.

Shankar Mahadevan won the National Award as Best Music Director in 2004 for the Shahrukh Khan starrer Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003) along with his partners Ehsaan Noorani and Loy Mendonsa. Sonu Nigam’s vocals made Mahadevan’s title track composition a chartbuster over night.

Mahadevan brought out the bittersweet experiences of an autistic child in the song titled Maa, penned by Prasoon Joshi for the Aamir Khan, Darsheel Safari starrer Taare Zameen Par (2007). This is one song that can get you teary eyed every time you hear it.

Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy won the Filmfare ‘RD Burman Award’ for New Music Talent for Dil Chahta Hai (2001) and the film’s title track became a signature ‘good times’ tune.

Equally unforgettable are his old classics like Key Sara Sara from Pukar (2000) and Take It Easy Urvashi from Hum Se Hai Muqabala (1995).


Shankar Mahadevan has many more awards and accolades to his name, not only for his contribution to Hindi cinema but also for his compositions and playback in Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam films. He’s performed with national and international greats across the globe, has his own music label and also runs a music academy on a global scale. The secret behind his success is that he’s loves music in all its forms.

I enjoy doing both film work and Indian classical music as I am equally passionate about them. I am as interested in them as I am in fusion, folk and spiritual music. I’d feel saturated if I do only one kind of music.
Shankar Mahadevan, Playback Singer and Music Director

Here’s wishing Shankar Mahadevan many more musically blissful years.

(This article is from The Quint’s archives and was first published on 3 March 2016. It is now being republished to mark Shankar Mahadevan’s birthday.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Quint Insider

or more


3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Insider Benefits
Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!