The award-winning Indian singer and composer Shankar Mahadevan is to receive an honorary doctorate from Birmingham City University (BCU) for his outstanding contribution to music and the arts. West Midlands Mayor Andy Street made the announcement on behalf of the University in Mumbai, India.
The singer rose to fame in India after the release of his indi-pop song Breathless - which was believed to be sung in one breath. However, the singer clarified later that this was not the case for the 2:48-long song.
The top Bollywood star is a playback singer and member of the celebrated Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy song writing trio in Mumbai. He is famed not just in Bollywood but across all regional film industries too.
He was formally invited to receive the University’s highest honour at a ceremony in 2023. He has previously BCU’s £400m campus, including Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (RBC).
Who is Shankar Mahadevan?
The singer studied to be an engineer but followed his passion of music. He has been composing and singing for hit Bollywood films for more than three decades now. His repertoire encompasses Indipop, film, folk and spiritual music as well as Indian classical music and jazz.
The musician has performed at prestigious music festivals around the world and was invited to the United Nations Assembly, where he represented India twice. At home, Shankar had the unique honour of performing at the Rashtrapati Bhawan for former Presidents of India, the late Dr. APJ Kalam and the late Pranab Mukherjee.
The 55-year-old singing sensation holds a Guinness World Record after leading close to 100,000 people in singing the Indian National Anthem. The record was set for maximum number of people singing the National Anthem in unison.
What did the singer say?
Shankar Mahadevan said: “This is truly a special moment for me. It’s something new and will take some time for me to digest this feeling. When I started my career, never did I expect that one day I would be awarded a doctorate for music.
“I am looking forward to some amazing music being created between Indian musicians whom I represent and musicians from the West Midlands. We’ve heard musicians from the Conservatoire perform especially for us at our visit and it was just outstanding – I saw a beautiful collaboration that will happen.”
What did Mayor Andy Street say?
Andy Street said: “Given the strength of the Indian diaspora in our region, it’s wonderful to celebrate the ‘living bridge’ between India and the West Midlands by honouring Shankar Mahadevan - a titan of film and music. I hope it will encourage greater cultural and educational collaboration in the months and years ahead.”
Birmingham City University will confer an honorary doctorate on Shankar Mahadevan at a ceremony in 2023, and the singer and composer will lead on several collaborative projects at the University’s Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and STEAMhouse creative hubs.
Top hits of Shankar Mahadevan to listen to
The singer and composer has delivered many hit songs for Bollywood and other regional film industries over the years and here are the top 10 songs of his worth listening to, according to Spotify.
1. Uff Teri Ada
3. Kadhale Kadhale
4. Enna Solla Pogirai
5. Gallan Goodiyan
7. Desi girl
8. Shiv Tandav Stotram
9. Indru Netru Naalai
10. Punchiri Thanjum