Javed Ali

Talent, Dreams, And Self-Reliance: Javed Ali On His Struggles Fuelling His Musical Versatility

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His vocals have made up Hindi songs that are now your memories- whether it is feeling the Qawwali in Kun Faya Kun, or whether it is the bubbly Guzarish from Ghajini or crooning along with Kajra Re in weddings, or his latest hit number Srivalli in Pushpa. Yes, we are talking about the one and only Javed Ali, the versatile singer who has shown his repertoire in not just Hindi but in at least 14 other languages spoken across the length and breadth of the country- from Bengali in the east and Punjabi to Gujarati and Telugu songs. Indeed, Javed Ali is not just a man for Bollywood but he is the man for this entire country. This also reflects in his performance at the UN headquarters with AR Rehman on the occasion of India’s 70th Independence Day celebrations. 

But the talented singer never had it easy. Today, the much feted and celebrated singer may be the toast of the nation and the choice of directors and music composers, but there was a time when he could barely afford one square meal a day. However, like Javed Ali says, he made it through the tough times with his sheer persistence and hard work, faith in God, and parents’ blessings. To see such a talented man display such humility is indeed a lesson for all of us, as we, at Jay-Ho! The Jay Kumar Show experienced during his tete-a-tete with the host Jay Kumar, the noted Boston based media entrepreneur. 

Talk is cheap but actions speak the loudest. Like the famous Ralph Waldo Emerson said, What you do speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you are saying”. His father encouraged him to Work hard to develop his capacity for anything. This has been a constant mantra in Javed Ali’s life, imparted to him by his father. It is a lesson he took to heart and which stood by him in good stead when he arrived in Mumbai with only Rs 125 and then promptly had to sell his chain to raise Rs 1200. 

And needless to state the obvious, his dream was fueled and paid for by him alone although his family’s blessings were always there. After all, the City of Dreams isn’t  merciful to those who aren’t persistent or those who aren’t ready to pay the entry price. He stayed in a small house and rushed from studio to studio in order to find work. When Javed Ali would be paid to perform at events, he would send some home and manage his living expenses on the rest. Yes, the most talented singer not only supported himself through his talented voice and hard work but he also supported his family. While he would worry about paying bills and keeping food on the table, he saw many coworkers receive support and cheques from their families. It is a testament to his talent and hard work that his voice resonates across the country and his name underlies many memorable songs that will forever stand the test of time. 

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