Kailash Kher, Bollywood Sufi Singer

Kailash Kher, Bollywood Sufi Singer

Asit Dixit and Umesh Patil |
February 19, 2019

“Hum ye kaam kar payenge (I will be able to do this job).”

The Padma Shri awardee singer needs no introduction. Beginning his career in 2001 with jingles, Kher graduated into a playback singer giving singing a new dimension with his unique, high-pitched, sonorous voice. His rendition of Allha ke bande and Teri diwani is a class apart in Sufi music tradition. In an almost two-decade long career, Kher has sung about 700 songs in about 20 Hindi and regional languages. Not a mean feat by any means. Like many his peers, Kher is active on social media and has an impressive following. He has more than 5 lakh followers on Twitter, more than 42 lakh on Facebook and about 2.90 lakh on Instagram. We met the singer at his Seven Bunglow office in Andheri West.

Although our meeting with the singer-composer was brief, it nonetheless was as much revealing.

Since he was quite busy, we did not lose any time to brief him about our agenda: You have to promote all the good work done by the Modi government on social media to create a congenial atmosphere for the BJP in the run-up to 2019 elections. You have to post three-four messages every month on various schemes like Swach Bharat Abhiyan, Beti Bachao Beti Parhao and others, praising them. “Iska kya commercial rahega (What will be its commercial aspect),” Kher seeks to know.

It all depends on how many followers a celebrity has on social media, we tell him. But you can quote your fee per message as you have millions of followers. “Ye humari wo team agency batayegi aapko (This our team, agency will tell you),” Kher says. When we tell him it is actually a hidden agenda, Kher says, “Haan, hidden mein bhi wo batayenge commercial hum nahi batayenge. Hum bas haan ya na kar sakte hain ki ye kaam hum kar payenge ya nahi kar payenge (Yes, a hidden agenda. It is only they who will tell you about the commercial [aspects of this deal]. I will not tell you that. I can only tell in ‘yes’ or ‘no’ if I would be able to do this job or not).” It is fine, we say when we hear him declare, “Hum ye kaam kar payenge (I will be able to do this job).” That is what we wanted to know, we say. It is fine with us if the agency quotes your price. “Correct, commercial part agency karegi baaki hum jo hain acceptance de denge (Correct, the commercial part will be handled by my agency. I will give acceptance),” he informs us.

Hope, you have no problem, we say. “Nahi, nahi, zindagi mein nahi (No, never in my life),” Kher assures us, thus. But then it has to be kept between you and us only, we tell him. The singer is rather gung-ho about the deal to say, “Bilkul, bilkul aur jo bhi matter hoga … content aap denge lekin hum log usse filter kar sakte hain uske right humare paas hain (Sure, sure and whatever the matter is … you will provide me the content. But I will have the right to filter it).” Yes, we tell him. Kher has understood how this has to be done by him. So he says, “Nahi hum usko filter kar denge mould kar denge … baat wahi hogi … saar lekin bigadne nahi denge jo uska bhawarth hai wo wahi ka wahi rahega (No, I will filter the content and mould it … the nature of the content would remain the same … I will not distort the gist. Its meaning will remain as it is).” This is exactly what we expect from you, we tell him. This is why we had sought this meeting. The content will consist in promoting the BJP. But it has to be done in a way that it doesn’t look like you have become a brand ambassador for the party. Agreeing, he says, “Na wo sab nahi … isiliye hum mould karenge … isiliye hum usko filter karenge (No, not all that … That is why I will mould the content … That is why I will filter it).”

Appreciating his approach, we say this is how the general public would take it as a message coming from you as an individual. “Bilkul … hundred percent … tahbi hota hai asar hee tabhi hota hai … humein neutral rehna hoga (Correct, hundred percent … it is effective only then. I will have to act neutral),” says Kher, agreeing.

As usual after bringing him on board, we ask Kher in which mode he would like to receive his fee. It is, you know, political money. “Wo saara wo hee batayenge … wo saara ho jayega jo bhi aap unse baat kijiye (They [his agency] will tell you about it … all that will be done. You talk to them),” he advises us. Before wrapping up the interview, we tell him it is political money. Therefore, we will have to pay him a good part in cash maybe in ratio 50–50, 60–40. “Wo aap unse baat kijiye (You can discuss it with them),” Kher tells us. With this our interaction with the singer ends.

We had e-mailed a questionnaire to all these celebs to know what they would like to say on what we have revealed in our story. Click here to read the answers.

Reply of Bollywood Celebrities  

If you like the story and if you wish more such stories, support our effort Make a donation.


If you believe investigative journalism is essential to making democracy functional and accountable support us. »