INDIA. Mumbai: 59 years’ enthusiastic Kiran Shembekar is truly an enigma of sorts. Learning music from a young age from Pundit K.Mahavir (Hindustani Classical music) Kiran went through his life with his two passions, cricket, and singing (film songs).
While he had his fortunes fluctuating, he never had an, “I quit attitude,” which most born artists demonstrate in their lifetime. Kiran’s story is uniquely filled with passion, glamour, and also with humility.
The beginning of a glorious cricketing career
Kiran told transcontinental Times, “ my primary passion was cricket, as I loved the sport and began my confident journey under the training and mentorship of my sports mentor Bal Mahaddalkar of the Mumbai Cricket Association.”
He played the Harris Shield and the Giles Shield representing his school and was a vice-captain while playing these cricket tournaments.
He studied in the IES Raja Shivaji Vidyalaya, Dadar, Mumbai, hence one can imagine his passion and love for cricket. His father had presented him with a Duncan Fearnley Bat, imported from England for his birthday,” he reminisces.
Dadar has been home to international cricketing giants, like Sunil Gavaskar, Ajit Wadekar, and Sachin Tendulkar. That explains why Kiran devoted his time amidst studies to cricket.
Kiran’s cricketing career abruptly came to a stop, when he suffered a right shoulder injury, twisting his shoulder joint muscles, while fast bowling in the tournaments. He said, “that was the turning point in my life; a virtual full stop to my cricket career and passion.”
On a lighter note, he told, Transcontinental Times, “I still fear holding the microphone while singing on the stage in my right hand, and keep interchanging between the two hands in front of the audience.”
A mysterious journey to become a stage celebrity
His journey began afresh with his second passion” music.” He had his first solo break in a song sung by Narendra Chanchal, Yara Ho Yara Ishka Ne Mara (Benaam-1974 Hindi film) at his Lala Lajpatri College’s 7th annual cultural gathering as he got typified during graduation in commerce as “ Benaam,” meaning “Anonymous.”
He had many occasions to participate on stage as a voice culturist singing imitating veteran singers, from K.L Saigal to Kishore Kumar, from the golden era of the Hindi film industry (1940 to 1980). His father, Vaman Dattatray Shembekar, judging his passion for singing created a musical group “ Super Hits Musical Group.” whilst he was freelancing for other groups.
He began afresh with a home platform created by his father. As fate had it, his father passed away with illness. His created platform got a beating, and he’d to change course.
From 1983 to 86 he formed his group with his three closest friends, called “Zapata Musical Group.” This platform brought him immense success. In 1986 he was married to a singer Sangeeta, daughter of accomplished Marathi singer Jaywant Kulkarni.
From Nov.1986 to 91, they together toured India with programs as many as 45 shows. He had his bus for the tours for his musician and themselves. He never looked back since then. Years 1992-93 was again a slack year for Kiran because the television media began during this period in Mumbai. His entire family now was part of the singing group.
A golden era song concept emerged in concert singing
By 1998-99, a new concept emerged as “Bhooli Huyee Yaade,” (forgotten ester year songs), where his stage performance journey once again began as a KK singer (a voice, emulating the songs of the legend, whom he worshipped). He never looked back again and used his voice imitating the legendary singer, as close as possible.
“I was overwhelmed once when I found Kishore Kumar sitting in the audience listening to me during the Film Fare Awards Night,” Kiran told Transcontinental Times. “Hame Tumse Pyar Kitna (Kudarat 1981) was the number he’d sung,” he reminisces.
A Tribute to the Legend Kishore Kumar (KK)
He pays a tribute to the legendary singer Kishore Kumar, an all-rounder on 13th Oct.(KK’s death anniversary) since 1998, as he feels he owes a lot to the talented legend who has unwittingly been his inspiration and attempts singing his songs on the stage and is now recognized as an established concert singer. He attracted 600-700 people to the audience show. He did shows in Master Dinanath Mangeshkar Hall, Mumbai Marathi Sahitya Sangha mandir hall, and others.
Pandemic and his Karaoke online teaching classes
“The pandemic brought new challenges to me and I began teaching through online classes the exact method to sing online with Karaoke. His caption is simple, “learn singing technique, voice culture, performance tricks with emotion,” he said. He conducts live programs on the zoom platform from his studio.
He said, “during a pandemic or crisis of any sorts, the most that is affected is the entertainment industry. And, the most recovery after the crisis ends is seen in the entertainment industry itself.”
He felt proud to say, “during normal times I have given playback to Marathi films Unad Maina (1988), and Hamal De Dhamal (1989) and Hindi film, Phaasi Ka Phanda (1990).