Shankar Mahadevan is a popular Indian playback singer and music composer. He is a part of the famous Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy musical trio. He is best known for his rendition of the song ‘Breathless.’
Shankar Mahadevan was born on Friday, 3 March 1967 (age 52 years; as in 2019) in the Chembur suburb of Mumbai. He did his schooling from Chembur’s Our Lady of Perpetual Succour High School and Swami Vivekananda High School. He attained his graduate degree in Computer Science and Software Engineering from Ramrao Adik Institute of Technology, Navi Mumbai in 1988. By the age of 5, Shankar had already become an adroit harmonium player and had also started playing the Veena. He learned the Hindustani Classical music from Pandit Shrinivas Khale.
He has also been mentored by TR Balamani in Carnatic Classical Music.
Height (approx.): 5′ 6″
Eye Colour: Black
Hair Colour: Black
Family, Caste & Wife
Shankar Mahadevan belongs to a Tamil Iyer Family, which hails from the Palakkad City of Kerala. Interesting facts about musical genius Shankar Mahadevan-India TV
Shankar Mahadevan has a sister named Deepika Shringarpure.
Shankar is married to Sangeeta Shankar Mahadevan.
The couple has two sons named Shivam Shankar Mahadevan (born in 2001), who is a singer, and Siddharth Mahadevan (born on 16 April 1993), who is a singer and composer.
As a singer
Before stepping his foot in the music industry, Shankar used to work as a software programmer for the Oracle Corporation. Shankar started his music career by singing jingles for the advertisements. Shankar Mahadevan made his singing debut with the 1994 film “Humse Hai Muqabala (Hindi version of the Tamil film-Kadhalan ),” in which he sang two songs “Petta Rap” and “Urvasi Urvasi.”
He made his Bollywood debut with the song “Tum Nahi Jaana” from the film “Duplicate” (1998). He has sung numerous hit songs such as “Chamma Chamma,” “Bhumbro Bhumbro,” “Ghanan Ghanan,” “Maahi Ve,” “Kajra Re,” “Mitwa,” “Sau Aasoon,” and many more. In 1998, he released his first album “Breathless,” which rose Shankar to fame. The songs on the album were composed by Javed Akhtar.
He made his Tamil debut with the song “Netru No No” from the film “V. I. P. (1997).”
He made his Telugu debut with the song “Shivamethara Sambayya” from the film “Antahpuram” in 1998. Shankar made his Kannada debut with the song “Dennana Dennanaa” from the film “Janumadatha (1999).”
He made his Malayalam debut with the song “Pakkala Paadan Vaa” from the film “Dreamz (2000).”
Shankar made his Marathi debut with the song “Mann Udhaan Varyache” from the film “Aga Bai Arrecha! (2004).”
Apart from these, he has also sung songs in Tulu language; the first one being “Jai Tulunadu” from the film “Rickshaw Driver (2014).”
As a Composer
He has been working as a music composer as the part of the musical trio ‘Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy;’ the first one is for the film “Rockford (1999).”
He has given music to the films like “Mission Kashmir (2000),” “Dil Chahta Ha(2001),” “Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003),” “Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006),” “Taare Zameen Par (2007),” “My Name Is Khan (2010),” and “2 States (2014).”
Apart from singing, he has also done acting. He made his acting debut in the Doordarshan’s TV serial “Ek Se Badh Kar Ek” in 1995. Shankar made his film debut as an actor with the Marathi film “Katyar Kaljat Ghusali,” in which Shankar played the role of “Pandit Bhanu Shankar Shastri.”
Shankar Mahadevan has also worked on “Sarnang,” an album by Rajesh Dhabre, Shreya Ghoshal, Sukhwinder Singh, Hariharan, Dr Bhavana Dhabre, and Shankar. Shankar sang two songs on the album; one is “Bhoomiputra” and the other one is “Sangini.”
Shankar Mahadevan was judging the singing reality show ‘Rising Star: Season 3 (2019)’ along with Neeti Mohan and Diljit Dosanjh. During the show, two of the contestants passed sexist comments on Neeti Mohan, after which she pretended to walk out from the show calling comments as rude. When the contestants got worried, the judges called the act as ‘prank.’ However, the prank did not go well with the gender activists Kirthi Ajay Kumar and she criticised the judges for it.
- Padma Shri in 2019
- Lata Mangeshkar Award on 28 September 2011
- Kerela State Film Award for the Best Singer for the song “Kalyana Kacheri” from the film “Madampi” in 2008
- Filmfare Award for the Best Male Playback Singer- Telugu for the song “Chandrullo Unde” from the film “Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana” in 2005
Nandi Awards (presented by the Government of Andhra Pradesh)
- Best Male Playback Singer for the song “Okkade Devudu” from the film “Shirdi Sai” in 2012
- Best Male Playback Singer from the film “Venkatadri” in 2008
- Best Male Playback singer for the song “Yenna Solla Pogirai” from the film “Kandukondain Kandukondain” in 2000
- Best Music Direction (as Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy) for the film “Kal Ho Naa Ho”
- Best Male Playback singer for the song “Maa” from the film “Taare Zameen Par” in 2007
- Best Male Playback singer for the song “Bolo Na” from the film “Chittagong” in 2012
- Food: Chicken With Jasmine Rice, Spicy Green Thai Curry, South Indian Food, Sweet Dishes made up of Chocolates
- Restaurants: Royal China in Mumbai, Chenab in Mumbai, Hotel Supreme Heritage in Mumbai
- Musician: Zakir Hussain
- Poet/Lyricist: Javed Akhtar
- Bands: Pink Floyd, U2, Yes
- Travel Destination(s): Dubai, Orlando, Mauritius, San Francisco, California, Miami
- Shankar loves cooking and drawing caricatures.
- Shankar founded the Shankar Mahadevan Academy along with Sridhar Ranganathan on 3 March 2011. The academy provides training in the Indian Music via online courses and is affiliated to the Berkely College of Music.
- Mahadevan came into the limelight after the release of his first album “Breathless.” The unique feature of the album was one of its tracks titled ‘Breathless,’ which was moulded to sing in one breath. Hence, the title of the album was kept after it.
- His song ‘Breathless,’ which is 2 min 48 sec long, was not sung in one breath. In an interview, Shankar told-
This must be the 3,000,000th time I am answering this question. But, no it was not in one breath. It was a song which seemed like it was sung in one breath and it just starts and goes on and on.”
Reportedly, the song topped the music charts for nearly 10 weeks, with over 3,00,000 copies sold.
- Shankar Mahadevan is a part of the musical quintet ‘Remember Shakti.’ Other members of the band are John McLaughlin (English guitarist), Zakir Hussain (tabla), U. Srinivas (mandolin), and V. Selvaganesh (kanjira, ghatam, mridangam).
- Since his childhood, Shankar was a fan of the band ‘Shakti.’ He used to buy their cassettes and decode all the complex rhythm patterns and phrases from their music. Years after when John McLaughlin and Zakir Hussain put together another band with the same concept called ‘Remember Shakti,’ Shankar Mahadevan became the part of it. Talking about it, he said-
Never in my life did I ever think that I am going to be part of it.”
- On 30 April 2012, Shankar was invited to perform at the UN General Assembly hall for the finale of the International Jazz Festival by the UNESCO and the US State Department.
- When Shankar was learning music from TR Balamani, she used to consider Shankar as an extremely mischievous and useless person. When talking about the reason for it, Shankar said-
I would bunk classes, sometimes because of my cricket, I would not do riyaaz. But there was a lot of love underneath that strict demeanour and I knew that.”
- Shankar Mahadevan, Ehsaan Noorani, and Loy Mendonsa make the popular musical trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. During the initial days of Shankar’s singing career, Ehsaan and Loy were already established composers in the advertisement field. Shankar, along with the then duo of Ehsaan and Loy, often used to collaborate together for advertisements. Ehsaan and Loy often asked for Shankar’s suggestion while composing. It was in 1997 that the trio got a chance to work together for a song in Mukul S. Anand’s film “Dus,” which never got released due to Mukul Anand’s death, but the music of the film was released later. The song was ‘Sabse Aage Honge Hindustaani,’ which was released in 1999 and became an instant hit. Ever since then, the trio has been working together.
- The trio, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is often referred to as the ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’ of the Hindi Music Film Industry.
- Shankar and Sangeeta know each other since their childhood. They met for the first time when they were 14 years old. They were both neighbours and used to play badminton together.
- Music was a part of Shankar’s life from the beginning, as he did not leave it even when he was an engineer. He would often have jamming sessions with his friends and play with a local band called ‘Divya.’
- Shankar had left his job just five to six months prior to his marriage to Sangeeta.
- Apart from being a singer, he is also an excellent cook. He can cook Thai and South Indian cuisines, and can also make great salads and soups. According to his wife, had Shankar not been a singer, he would have easily become a good chef.
- Shankar and Hariharan are neighbours; as their farmhouses in Karjat (a small town near Mumbai) are divided by a wall.
- Shankar is a part of a popular Indo-Swedish fusion jazz band called Mynta.
- Shankar is also a part of the Indo-Jazz fusion band called ‘Silk.’ The name of the band is derived from its band member, i.e. the world-famous percussionist Sivamani, Sridhar Parthsarthy, Louiz Banks (Keyboards), bassist Karl Peters, including Shankar Mahadevan.
- He is politically inclined towards the Bharatiya Janata Party.
- He has judged the reality shows Rising Star Live and Indian Voice.
- He is a dog lover and owns two dogs named Honey and Kiwi.