Singer-composer Shankar Mahadevan shot to fame crooning "Breathless" in 1998. The song, which runs for three minutes and five seconds, was recorded to sound as if it had been sung without a break or even a pause for breath. Although the song doesn't fall in the category of rap, it bears a similarity with that genre of music in the sense that rap requires continuous singing, almost without a break.
Mahadevan has never taken up rap as the defining option in his long and illustrious musical career, but he strongly believes the genre is a very important form of music.
"Rap is contemporary music and a very important form of music. People should be aware that it's the genesis of black culture. I have a lot of respect for freestyle rap. The rappers who get on to the stage and do freestyle rap are amazing," the 54-year-old musician told IANS.
Besides creating solo compositions, Shankar is also part of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, the Bollywood trio along with Ehsaan Noorani and Loy Mendonsa. They recently composed music for the web series "Bandish Bandits" which was well-received by the young audience.
"I believe that the Indian youth understand good music. We underestimated the youth of this country by saying that if the music is fast, only then they like it. Just because they listen to rap doesn't mean that they don't listen to a variety of music. They are glued in with all kinds of music," said Mahadevan.
Till date, Mahadevan has composed music for around 70 films. His son Siddharth Mahadevan is also a playback singer.
"Our youth is the most intelligent set of people. So, it's very wrong to judge and say this is for the youth and this is not for the youth," he concluded.