The music of Lucky Ali makes me miss the good old days of Indie pop music. The singing sensation of the 90s, remembered for his popular song ‘O Sanam’ from his first album Sunoh (1996) which established him as a popular singer, is deeply etched in my musical memory. He created waves with Hritik Roshan’s Kaho Na Pyaar Hai (2000). His other albums, Sifar, Aks, Kabhi Aisa Lagta Hai did equally well. His music gave us musical gems, and his music spells nostalgia for those who grew up in the 90s.
Lucky Ali’s music was sincere, conversational and worked like a balm on the mind and soul. His music appealed particularly to the urban youth. He said in one of his interviews, “I do not think my music is Indie pop. My music is culmination of my growth within the country; whatever it has given me in terms of what I heard from its rich source of music and whatever I have gathered from its films.”1 The emotional honesty in his voice and lyrics was hard to miss.
There was a time when at the end of the day I had Lucky Ali. The void he left has not been filled but recently I discovered Prateek Kuhad. Like lucky Ali he refuses to be pigeonholed into the clichéd and stereotypical musical fabric of the contemporary nonsense lyrics and notes enveloped in din.
Since the release of his debut album Tokens & Charms in 2015, singer-songwriter Prateek Kuhad has successfully established himself as one of the frontrunners in the Indian music scene. The predominant themes in his music are love and loss. Prateek sings in perfect Hindi and impeccable English. He’s an amalgamation of our times and his music will definitely appeal to English educated urbanites like me. His voice lingers for a long time and bristles with emotions.
His music has a transporting effect for me. Like lucky Ali he has a distinct style, seemingly untrained and unconventional voice. Since releasing his third album, cold/mess in 2017 the singer songwriter has been touring all over the world with sold out shows in New York, Austin, Toronto and Singapore. According to schoopwhoop.com his songs “are like a mug of hot chocolate on a cold winter night”.
In just a short career of 5 year he has emerged as one of the most admired musicians of India. His music stands apart from the ‘noise’ produced as music nowadays. His music has melody and his voice is soothing. The creative genius of Prateek can be gauged by the beautiful lyrics of his songs that he combines with minimal but soulful tunes.
Tere hawale hai yeh zindagi meri...
Tere ujaale se sab raahein hain yahan..
Apne naseeb ka mai baadshah nahin...
Tu meri shaam hai tu hi meri subah..
Tune kaha maine sun liya....
Kho jaane ki zidd na karo
Khwaish hai yeh dil ki
Raahon ko nazar mein rakho
Main bhi to laut aaunga
Hawaon sa gungunaunga
(Tum Jab Paas)
I wish I could leave you my love
But my heart, is a mess
My days they begin with your name
And nights end with your breath
There a magical quality in Prateek’s voice that makes me go slow motion for a while. His characteristic expression is of a ‘forlorn lover’. He has a boy next door looks but lord has imbued him with a special charisma. In a world where most musicians are tattooed, flamboyant, he’s no way close to rock-star goodlookiness.
But, there’s a mysterious way in which popular tastes change. I hope he keeps surprising his audiences, otherwise there’s always a chance of metamorphosing into a filler musician for cheesy wedding seasons.
About the Author
Dr. Sapna Dogra completed her B.A and M.A. in English Literature from University of Delhi. She holds a PhD from Jawaharlal Nehru University and is presently working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of English in Government College Baroh, Himachal Pradesh. She has over ten years of teaching experience. Her research articles, book reviews and translations have been published in reputed journals and magazines. She has also developed school level books. Her research interests include Folklore Studies, Translation Studies, Indian English Writing, Hindi Literature and Popular Literature. She can be reached at email@example.com.