"Shaan is an expert in hitting the right notes"
Shantanu Mukherjee, famously known as Shaan, is one of Bollywood’s best Indian playback singers of his time.
He is known for gracing the Bollywood industry, with his phenomenal voice on the most popular love songs.
Shaan was born on September 30, 1972, in Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh, India. He was born to his late father Manas Mukherjee and his mother Sonali Mukherjee.
Taking inspiration from his father, a music director, Shaan put himself on the map. Making his debut in Pyaar Mein Kabhi Kabhi (1999), his music career was starting to kick off in 2001 onwards.
Mesmerising hits like ‘Woh Ladki Hai Kahan’ (Dil Chahta Hai: 2001) and ‘Apni Yaadon Ko’ (Pyaar Ishq Aur Mohabbat: 2001) was a great stepping stone for him.
Tackling many other genres like Pop, Jazz, Rock and Dance he has been labelled many complimentary titles. These include ‘Golden Voice of India’ and ‘Magician of Melody’.
Singing in many different styles of music illustrates his talent and versatility. He has also sung for huge Bollywood actors including Shahrukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan and Aamir Khan.
Furthermore, he is an award-winning singer, attaining awards such as Zee Cine awards and Filmfare awards.
Blockbuster hits such as ‘Chand Sifarish’ and ‘Jab Se Tere Naina’ has rewarded him great success. We pick fifteen of his chart-topping and heartfelt tracks.
Yeh Hawayein – Bas Itna Sa Khwaab Hai (2001)
‘Yeh Hawayein’ is a romantic track dating back to 2001, which was relatively early in Shaan’s career.
This particular early playback song reminds us of his innocent and soft romantic voice which is a great fit for the melody.
Besides, the contribution of popular female singer Alka Yagnik outpours the love element of the tune.
Her soothing melody bouncing of Shaan’s gentle voice creates the perfect combination musically. The vocals of the song also heavily reflect the chemistry in the visuals.
The budding romance between Abhishek Bachchan and Rani Mukherjee implies purity between two lovers. The scenery of landscapes with bright colours creates a sense of happiness and positivity.
Also, Shaan’s fresh-sounding voice is suitable for the young Abhishek Bachchan during the early 2000s.
According to Rajeev Masand publications, Shaan provides insight into being Abhishek’s preference voice for the song. He comments:
“Abhishek Bachchan is the only actor who recommended my voice to composers saying ‘I want him to sing for me’. That was the first and the last time.”
Furthermore, in reference to the India Times, Shaan talks about the impact of his voice in Yeh Hawayein and the composer:
“After Bas Itna Sa Khwaab Hai, composers felt that I could fit into the mould, though I am not sure of the baritone”.
“Aadesh is an extremely promising music director. He got the best out of me in Bas Itna Sa Khwaab Hai, and it was because of the fact that I had a free rein to treat the songs my way.”
The song was perfectly composed by Aadesh Shrivastava and makes this one of Shaan’s top ballads.
Watch ‘Yeh Hawayein’:
Apni Yaadon Ko – Pyaar Ishq Aur Mohabbat (2001)
In what is an upbeat yet meaningful track, ‘Apni Yaadon Ko’ has a catchy beat, which Shaan masters in his singing.
The eloquence of Shaan’s voice magnifies the underlying message of the song. It tells the story of two former lovers who are moving on in life but also never forgetting their history.
Furthermore, the video of the song highlights the intensity of ex-lovers. We witness Arjun Rampal and Keerthi Reddy characters sharing eye contact realising their existing love for one another.
This is symbolic in the passionate lyrics written by Anand Bakshi. It reads:
“Apni Yaadon Ko Chhod Na Jaana, Apne Vaadon Ko Todh Na Jaana, Jaana Main Hoon Tera Deewana, Deewana Aashiq Pehla Purana.”
[Don’t leave your memories behind, don’t break your promises, beloved, I’m your crazy lover, I’m your old and first lover.]
The musical jazz is rich alongside the funky sound of the clarinet and guitar. Not to mention, the cheerful whistling in the tune contributes to the idea of Shaan being versatile.
Investing in the slow and love-theme songs, he knows how to work around a unique type of tune like ‘Apni Yaadon Ko’.
With Viju Shah being the composer, he tries to incorporate different instruments like flute and clarinet into his music. This was key in bringing out the raw talent in Shaan’s singing.
Watch ‘Apni Yaadon Ko’:
Woh Ladki Hai Kahan – Dil Chahta Hai (2001)
‘Woh Ladki Hai Kahan’ is another example of a light-hearted tune that gets the Bollywood audiences dancing. This fun track revolves around finding love with the right person, especially from a young adult’s perspective.
Furthermore, this particular composition is known for showcasing Shaan’s vocal abilities around this exclusive beat.
Interestingly, this song consists of Celtic music alongside bluegrass fiddling, in addition to composer Ehsaan’s acoustic guitar and flute.
The cheerful melody by Shaan brings an infectious charm to the listeners. Also, the voice of Kavita Krishnamurthy strengthens the distinction between two potential lovers.
In the interview with Rajeev Masand, Shaan explains how ‘Woh Ladki Hai Kahan’ was the significant boost in his career:
“That was my first hit song from a film that was a hit. That was a time when my songs were working but films weren’t. With that song I decided I was not jinxed.”
Visually, the music video is a spoof that plays on the theme of the 60s, 70s and 80s in Bollywood.
It shows Saif Ali Khan and Sonali Kulkarni sitting together in a theatre, where they envision themselves in the love story.
Being produced by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani, they brilliantly combine the young and innocent voices of Shaan and Kavita.
Watch ‘Woh Ladki Hai Kahan’:
Chura Liyaa Hai Tumne – Chura Liyaa Hai Tumne (2003)
Shaan takes a different approach to ‘Chura Liyaa Hai Tumne’ through brilliantly expressing emotions with singer Alka Yagnik.
Once again, this beautiful ballad makes us feel warm, as it regards the feeling of falling in love.
On-screen, the visuals illustrate an ardent and exciting young love between the characters of Zayed Khan and Esha Deol.
Exclusively speaking to DESIblitz, Alisha Randhawa compliments the relationship between both singers:
“The voices are very compatible with each other. Shaan is an expert in hitting the right notes and Alka is the perfect combination for any love song”.
With the lyrics perfectly constructed by Sanjay Chhel, and Himesh Reshammiya composing, Shaan and Alka voices become more elegant.
This calming and affectionate anthem is extremely moving in the words. Especially when Shaan recites:
“Palkon Se Neendon Ki Tarah, Neendon Se Khwaabon Ki Tarah, Dil Ko… Chura Liyaa Hai Tumne”.
[Like sleep from the eyes, like dreams from the sleep, you’ve stolen my heart just like that, you’ve stolen it.]
Watch ‘Chura Liyaa Hai Tumne’:
Kuch To Hua Hai – Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003)
‘Kuch To Hua Hai’ exemplifies the rush of excitement when love grows between two people. Shaan and Alka Yagnik combine forces to also explore the significance of happiness.
Whilst Alka Yagnik is the dominant singer on the track, Shaan engages in utilising his vocals to his strengths.
It is noticeable as to how Shaan tends to continuously hit the high notes in this upbeat track.
The iconic Yash Chopra is the producer of the track, whilst the lyrics originate from the famous Javed Akhtar.
The on-screen representation shows Preity Zinta, Saif Ali Khan and numerous other characters giving their opinions on love.
Intriguingly, following the release of this film, Shaan was beginning to sing for Saif Ali Khan in more films.
Following his interview with Rajeev Masand, he describes how his voice closely matches the voice and look:
“I sound a lot like Saif even when I speak. But I have seen some bad mimics do good mimics of him and I hope that’s not the way I sound.”
“I am told so, so maybe I do. But he is fantastic and says I am his voice. That feels good.”
Shaan’s rendition opposite Alka Yagnik’s musical vibe was a perfect fit for this peachy and peppy song. Undoubtedly, this was Shaan’s and Alka’s biggest hit they collaborated on.
Watch ‘Kuch To Hua Hai’ here:
Chaahat Ki Khushboo – Ishq Hai Tumse (2004)
Chaahat Ki Khushboo is a classic hit of Shaan, as he channels his inner charm towards the hearts of his fans.
Teaming up in an intense, yet sweet romantic track, Alka Yagnik creates the precise balance between the male and female relationship. The deep and amorous words sung by Shaan in the chorus is significant.
This is due to the visuals implying a racy and passionate connection between Dino Morea and Bipasha Basu’s characters.
Whilst being delicately orchestrated by Himesh Reshammiya, and the wonderful lyrical Sanjay Chhel contributing, it is a true, original track.
Also, in reference to the lyrics, the charming and affectionate words go as follows:
“Har Dhadkan… Teri Hai, Har Dhadkan Teri Hai O Saathiya, Maine Tumse Pyaar, Kar Liya.”
[Every heart-beat… is yours, every heart-beat of mine is yours my beloved I’ve fallen in love with you.]
According to a YouTube user, they admire Shaan’s intelligence and artistry for constructing his voice to signify heart and soul:
“Shaan’s voice is believable in the song and sings with plenty of passion! He makes Dino Morea look like he’s singing instead!”
Whilst this particular track was not as popular amongst desi fans, it certainly is an underrated classic from talented musicians.
Watch ‘Chaahat Ki Khushboo’:
Dus Bahane – Dus (2005)
A different style of music to which Shaan works around, but definitely worth dancing along too.
Shaan puts his wonderful voice firmly in this duet next to Krishnakumar Kunnath, going down as one of his top songs.
Furthermore, in terms of lyrics, Panchhi Jalonvi intriguingly places English lyrics, something we don’t see often in Shaan’s music.
Phrases like ‘I looked at you, you looked at me’ and ‘Everybody put your hands up in the air’ indicate the ‘dance’ genre.
Most notably, Shaan singing opposite another male artist in Krishnakumar pinpoints how Shaan adapts to different types of music.
Supporting the genre of “Dance”, the music video displays Zayed Khan and Abhishek Bachchan singing and dancing in harmony.
Also, cleverly producing ‘Dus Bahane’ was Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravjiani.
Interestingly, it was a considerable success, after receiving a nomination at the 51st Filmfare Awards in 2006.
Shaan was shortlisted for the Best Male Playback Award, just losing out to Aashiq Banaya Aapne by Himesh Reshammiya.
Watch ‘Dus Bahane’ here:
My Dil Goes Mmmm – Salaam Namaste (2005)
‘My Dil Goes Mmm’ is a popular track from the well-known film Salaam Namaste (2005). A comforting and soothing song about romance is what makes this song delightful.
Shaan’s calming voice alongside the bold and vocal tone of female playback singer Gayatri Ganjawala interestingly works together.
Additionally, the tone of their voices closely matches the characteristics on screen.
Saif Ali Khan’s character is quite a calm, but mischievous individual. However, Preity Zinta’s character is quirky and is an upbeat kind of person.
Based on Shaan’s interview with Rajeev Masand, he also mentions the calmness when representing Saif Ali Khan in music:
“If it’s Saif, I like to keep it urban, metro-centric. I try to keep these things in mind.”
Regarding the story of the video, we see those two characters love story growing to the point where they consummate their relationship.
Anju Misra, a loyal fan of Shaan, hails the flexibility in his voice and the rapport with Gayatri, to DESIblitz:
“Shaan’s singing is evergreen and is extremely nostalgic to the younger days of falling in love. Plus Gayatri is a perfect fit for Preity Zinta!”
Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravjiani again worked with Shaan but chose a different path in music. As a result, they brought out the best in Shaan and Gayatri Ganjawala in terms of melody.
Watch ‘My Dil Goes Mmmm’:
Chand Sifarish – Fanaa (2006)
‘Chand Sifarish’ undeniably goes down as one of Shaan’s greatest tracks, as his sensational poetic lines make this song iconic.
Shaan produces stellar vocals as this particular track sees him serenade in the melodious theme of love.
The lyrics by Prasoon Joshi, enables Shaan to conquer the romantic notes, highlighting the connection between Aamir Khan and Kajol.
Visually, we see Aamir Khan grow closer to Kajol’s character. The lyrics are also figurative as Aamir poetically comforts Kajol with words as she is blind in the film:
“Teri Ada Bhi Hain Jhonke Waali, Chu Ke Guzar Jaane De, Teri Lachak Hain Ke Jaise Dhaali, Dil Me Utar Jaane De”
[Your charms are like a gentle breeze, let them touch me as you pass, your move is a graceful branch, please move into my heart.]
Also, the sense of mischief in Shaan’s voice is a suitable fit for Aamir Khan’s character in the film.
Furthermore, the composer Jatin-Lalit adapts a blend of alaaps, tabla beats, whistles, guitars making this an instant hit. Interestingly, this was the first time Shaan provided the voice for Aamir Khan in Bollywood films.
Chand Sifarish was a rewarding success for Shaan after claiming four prestigious ‘Best Male Playback’ awards back in 2007.
These include a Zee Cine Award, Star Screen Award, IIFA award and a Filmfare award.
Watch ‘Chand Sifarish’:
Main Hoon Don – Don (2006)
This is another iconic song in which Shaan puts his own spin on the classic. Shaan gracefully masters the self-made and ‘boss’ nature of Don.
In addition, he overcomes the pressure of matching the level of the original ’Main Hoon Don” from Don (1978). The legendary Kishore Kumar was best known for this popular song, however, Shaan also delivers.
His bold and domineering demeanour when singing this song is relatable to the character of Don, played by Shahrukh Khan.
An example of Shaan bolstering his voice is in the lines when he commands ‘Main Hoon Don’.
Regarding the music video, the track falls into the timeline of when Shahrukh Khan regains his memory and celebrates.
Lyrically we notice how Javed Akhtar changes the lyrics as he adapts a modern twist. Furthermore, the lyrics are significant as to how dangerous Don’s character is.
The words allow Shaan to assert his confidence as if he is Don himself:
“Main Zindagi Ki Baazi Lagak, Maut Se Khelta Hoon Jua, Na Mujhko Gham Hai, Na Mujhko Parwah, Kaun Mera Dushman Hua”
[I put my life on the line, and I gamble with death, I don’t care and neither am I worried, as to who is my enemy.]
The producers of the song, Ehsaan Noorani, Loy Mendonca, and Shankar Mahadevan also make major adjustments to the sound.
A mix of rave and techno instruments creates a unique piece of music to this song.
Watch ‘Main Hoon Don’:
Hey Shona – Ta Ra Rum Pum (2007)
‘Hey Shona’ is a well-known track that features heavily during weddings and functions.
The smooth duet of Shaan and Sunidhi Chauhan establishes a cordial feeling amongst the listeners.
Their relationship through their vocals work in sync and is fresh to the ears. The subtle tone of Shaan’s voice when explaining the love story of the tune conveys a sense of a hidden sentiment.
His soft and slow vocals are very familiar with the visuals. For example, the use of slow-motion in the music video fits perfectly with the flow of the words.
The lyrics by Javed Akhtar vividly epitomises affection, endearment and fondness.
The music video shows the characters of Saif Ali Khan and Rani Mukerji dancing romantically around Times Square, New York.
YouTube user, Vedant Kulkarni applauds Shaan’s singing voice and states he is the main attraction of the video:
“Everyone is talking about Rani and Saif… but Shaan is the real heart of this song.”
Also, with Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravjiani producing this style of music is noticeable.
The use of romantic instruments like Guitar and an orchestra is crucial to the success of the song.
Watch ‘Hey Shona’:
Aao Milo Chalen – Jab We Met (2007)
Aao Milo Chalen is a personal and exceptional singing performance by Shaan as his vocals shine through on this track.
In a song, which revolves around adventure and mystery, is an intriguing piece to listen to.
Shaan accomplishes a great deal of dedication to his singing as he almost convinces audiences to take a journey with him.
Lyricist Irshad Kamil brilliantly constructs these words for Shaan to musically indulge into, which makes the song inspiring to the listeners.
Furthermore, Pritam Chakraborty incorporates an upbeat feel to the song and blends small adlib vocals by classical vocalist Ustad Sultan Khan.
Conversing with DESIblitz Manoj Kumar cherishes this track and he indicates there’s an element of enthusiasm about life in it:
“The way Shaan beautifully sings about walking on a nameless path instead of sitting around, and taking a journey into the unknown is interesting.”
“He puts life into perspective and almost tells us to seek new opportunities and live in the present moment.”
His capability of hitting high notes is admirable, and certainly mirrors the emotion shown on Shahid Kapoor’s face in the video.
The visuals capture the rich culture of India and follow the story of Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor Khan’s characters.
Watch ‘Aao Milo Chalen’:
Jab Se Tere Naina – Saawariya (2007)
‘Jab Se Tere Naina’ is a prime example of a blissful and calming tune about first setting eyes on your true love.
Shaan takes his level of purity in his voice to the next level, as themes of innocence resonate with the characters on screen.
The visuals display the character of Ranbir Kapoor dancing with excitement and happiness after meeting Sonam Kapoor’s character.
Shaan poetically recites his lines in a free-flowing motion, making listeners believe the character is in a trance of contentment.
As the composer, Monty Sharma exquisitely uses orchestral vocals and instruments to signify the culture of Bollywood.
Furthermore, lyricist Sameer Anjan approaches this track by verbally painting the picture of someone who is blinded by love.
In his interview with Rajeev Masand, Shaan elaborates on the help he was receiving from Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Monty Sharma:
“Bhansali is a wonderful singer and would explain to me certain lines that I wouldn’t get by singing them to me.
Between him and Monty, I had the best guides and the best people to direct me with the song.”
Also, according to Daily Pioneer, Shaan describes the impact of Asha Bhosle on his life:
“Ashaji has been very complimentary and kind with her words for me, especially when I sang Jab Se Tere Naina from Saawariya.”
“I count that as one of the best moments of my life.”
This amazing love song was a huge success for Shaan after attaining three ‘Best Male Playback’ awards in 2008. These include a Zee Cine award, Filmfare award and IIFA award.
Watch ‘Jab Se Tere Naina’:
Chaar Kadam – PK (2014)
‘Chaar Kadam’ is a different type of tune to what we usually expect from Shaan.
With the vocals also provided by Shreya Ghoshal, they definitely reprise as a charming melodious pair.
Regarding the music video, Anushka and Sushant present themselves as a cute lovable couple, heavily reflecting the connection between Shaan and Shreya.
Music director Shantanu Moitra illustrates a quirky, but also child-like composition to indicate the theme of youth and innocence.
Interestingly, this track was also inspired by orchestral artist Ian Hughes and his song ‘Valse Parisienne’.
Lyricist Swanand Kirkire revolves his words around trust and caring for the person you love. This is evident in the lines Shaan recites:
“Chaye Udaasi Lateefe Suna Kar, Tujh Ko Hansa Denge Hum, Hanste Hansaate Yunhi Gungunaate, Chal Denge Chaar Kadam.”
[If you’re sad, then I’ll crack jokes, And make you laugh, Laughing and singing in this way, I’ll walk four steps with you.]
Filmfare user Devesh Sharma reviews ‘Chaar Kadam’ appreciating Shaan’s romantic demeanour:
“Shaan brings all the romance in his voice to belt out a breezy love duet in the able company of Shreya.”
Watch ‘Chaar Kadam’:
Aaj Unse Milna Hai – Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (2015)
‘Aaj Unse Milna Hai’ is a beautiful and endearing track from Shaan. Known for its cultural value concerning weddings, Shaan embraces the vocals with ease.
With regards to the meaning of the track, lyricist Irshad Kamil presents the words in a way of praising and respecting women.
Also, the element of romance and shyness between two people are evident:
“Kya De Nishani Yeh Hai Mushkil, Mahalon Ki Rani Hai, Sunder Sayani Hai, Woh Khandani Hai Jaan-e-dil.”
[What all shouldn’t I buy, It’s difficult to decide a gift for her, She’s the queen of palaces, She’s beautiful and wise, She’s aristocratic, my beloved.]
Music director of the track, Himesh Reshammiya invests in utilising an old-school and traditional wedding feel to the song.
The music video hits the core of Indian wedding traditions, as the visuals are full of colour.
Furthermore, Shaan’s voice brilliantly matches the actions of Salman Khan, who is singing about his love for Sonam Kapoor in the film.
Although, Shaan’s vocals are as sharp as ever, and makes the song upbeat and makes everyone feel warm.
Watch ‘Aaj Unse Milna Hai’:
Shaan has many more notable hits that we must not underestimate. These include ‘Suno Na’ (Jhankaar Beats: 2003) and ‘Behti Hawa Sa Tha Woh’ (3 Idiots: 2009).
He continuously improves as the years’ progress and is resourceful when adapting his voice to certain actors.
Shaan is also an inspiration to youngsters aspiring to become singers. Presenting shows like Sa Re Ga Ma Pa L’il Champs and Star Voice of India shows he is a role model in the industry.