Kailash Kher has had a rather interesting life. After being a homeless musician living at Mumbai’s Andheri Station early in his career, Kailash has become one of the biggest players in the playback world of Bollywood – truly going from rags to riches. Kailash’s uniquely raw, high-pitched voice has made him instantly recognisable.
Since leaping into the limelight with the smash hit “Allah Ke Bande” – from the film Waisa Bhi Hota Hai II – Kailash has made beautiful music in other movies, including Mangal Pandey: The Rising and Corporate. And we cannot help but point out that Kailash is a vegetarian who does not consume any milk or other animal products!
Read on to find out what Kailash has to say in the following exclusive PETA Youth interview. Here he is in his own words.
How did you become a singer?
I was very much influenced by my father’s singing. He had a hobby to sing. … Since my formative years, I have been listening to different kinds of music, and music has left a very deep impact on my being altogether.
When did you start singing?
I have been singing since the age of 4.
You are currently a sensation in the playback world of Bollywood. How has your journey been so far?
It has been an interesting and wonderful journey. I am not a playback singer by choice. I came here to make an album of my kind of music. Somebody heard my voice, and then advertising jingles happened. I have also done a lot of TV commercials.
Within four years, I have sung almost 500 TV commercials. Somebody heard my voice in TV commercials, and I got opportunities to sing in films. So what started off very casually has now taken on very serious dimensions.
Are you a vegetarian?
Yes, I have been a vegetarian since childhood. I am a Brahmin.
What is your favourite vegetarian dish?
I love eating vegetables. I don’t eat out at restaurants. I love homemade food like gobi (cauliflower), peas, mushrooms. I don’t regard paneer as a vegetarian dish because it’s animal-derived. I feel even drinking milk is unethical. Even though soya milk exists as an option, not too many people are aware of it. We have very few institutions like yours educating people.
Who is your favourite music composer?
My favourite music composer is A R Rahman. His music is pure and divine. It is not only for entertainment but conveys a message. It gives peace and relaxation to the soul. My favourite song is the one I have sung with A R Rahman in the movie Mangal Pandey called “Maula Maula”.
Why do you think it is important to support animal protection?
My beliefs are very different. It’s not only about animals. Whoever is created by God – be it animals, trees or human beings – they are all gifts of God to this planet, and one should not hurt them. The reason for a natural calamity is when we disturb nature. In this world, we should not hurt anyone or earn their ill feelings.
Do you think it is important to preserve wild animals’ natural habitats?
God has created nature, and we should not tamper with animals’ natural surroundings. It would be ethically incorrect to do so.
Music is about expression. What do you have to say about animals imprisoned in cages who cannot even express their pain living in such unnatural surroundings?
It is sad to imprison animals in cages.
You must have heard about animals being poached, wild tigers being killed for their skin and elephants being killed for their tusks for ivory. What do you have to say about the illegal trade in wild animal products?
It is sad when animals are poached. There should be strong laws against it. It is very sad when I see cows let loose on the roads of cities after they are incapable of producing milk.
What do you have to say about animals who are forced to perform out of fear of being whipped or beaten, such as animals in circuses?
Animals should not be a part of entertainment. It is very sad when bears are made to dance by madaris and everyone enjoys the show. No animal should be made to perform under threat.
One of our biggest campaigns right now is against KFC. We are asking KFC to eliminate some of the worst abuses that chickens suffer in its suppliers’ factory farms and slaughterhouses, including live scalding, life-long crippling and painful debeaking. What would your message be to the head of KFC about how the company should treat chickens?
Any heinous act/brutality/cruelty towards animals is bad. They have been created by God and should be treated well. He said, “Don’t make anyone suffer”.
What do you have to say to young people who are thinking about going vegetarian?
Vegetarianism should be appreciated. Great people have been vegetarians. Vegetarianism helps you lead a healthy and long life.
What would you like to say to young people about protecting animals?
I have a humble request to spread awareness amongst people. Education increases sensibilities towards both animals and humans.