Exclusive: Actor Shashank Arora talks about making music, why he loves the ukulele and acting with Naseeruddin Shah
Not many would know that Made In Heaven actor Shashank Arora has quite the musical side to him. He is multi-faceted and refuses to be unidimensional. He also indulges in carpentry during his spare time. He picked up the ukulele around ten years ago and has since then been making music during his spare time on the sets. “I would often take a breather in-between an emotionally charged or an action scene and play the ukulele,” says the actor, who released a new track called Kya (iss gaane ka naam hai).
The track sounds a bit sinister as you tune in and then it grows on you. We soon discover that it is vastly different from what he has composed before - Mere Saathiyon or Dhamki for instance. The hauntingly beautiful Bikhre from Moothon he composed happens to be one of our favourites. He confesses that he got on his ukulele to compose the track as he felt a little gutted with the ravages left by the pandemic. “I wanted to derive some strength from the music I made. You know, electronic music adheres on a beautiful irreverence and that’s what I needed something to look beyond the bleak reality,” says the Titli actor.
The 31-year-old shares that music comes to him in impulses, which he then polishes over weeks and puts it out. Something similar happened with Kya, which he created as he was stuck in his Mumbai hold when as productions came to a halt. “I have been playing the flute for a long time and the guitar too. I would often strum when lonely, but it was the sheer mobility aspect of the ukulele attracted him to the instrument,” says the actor.
Those who love listening to his compositions might be disappointed to know that he does not have any plans to release full-fledged EP. He admits that acting keeps him busy but music is his answer to his own conscience as all the money that is raised from his music on the streaming platforms will be directed towards non-governmental organisations in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and will be used for buying essentials for those who are badly hit by COVID-19. “I don’t want to make money from music,” says Shashank. While we get talking about his musical inspirations, he reveals that he looks up to the Argentine musician, Gustavo Alfredo Santaolalla and multi-instrumentalist. Tajdar Junaid. “Also one has to remember that there’s so much talent out on the streets, the younger musicians creating their own tunes, the Iktara players,” he says.
Meanwhile, he is producing a documentary where he chronicles the influence of cinema and art on society. As for acting, Shashank is excited about his web-series Gangster Newton and Dibakar Banerjee's next film. “In Gangster Newton, I play a chap who is dealing with the mafia from his dad’s garage and using science to fight his way up,” says the actor. He quickly adds that apart from waiting for Made in Heaven 2, he is also looking forward to going on sets to shoot with Naseeruddin Shah. “I am quite excited to share screen space with him and watch and learn from him,” says the actor.
Kya is now streaming on Spotify.