Born in Hyderabad and based in Mumbai, Shayan has always been very passionate about music. His version of Rabindranath Tagore’s ode to our nation has become the most viewed online video of any country’s National Anthem. The anthem was played and captured on a limited edition Steinway D-274 concert grand piano, and was a way to pay homage to his mother and to the country, ahead of Independence Day.
“My first piano was gifted by my mother as a goodbye gift, before she died of cancer. She always forced me to learn this instrument but it was only after she left the world, I took this seriously. This video is a tribute to her,” says the pianist-songwriter and entrepreneur who is in his late 30s.
I come from a Parsi family. I did my schooling from Hyderabad for a bit and then moved to The Doon School, Dehradun. I completed Bachelor’s Degree in International Trade Practices and Procedures from the Osmania University.
I started writing songs unexpectedly after losing my mother at a young age. Music was left to me when she passed on. Exactly after a year, I lost my father too. I moved to London to my elder brother where he took care of me. I decided to study at a place where I can learn how to record songs or convert them into production, or about the arrangements. So, I did a Bachelor’s Degree in Sound Engineering and Music Production from the Alchemea College of Audio Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Music Business Management from the University of Westminster, both in London.
Ode to nation
We are forced to stand for the National Anthem in effect. But, when I put it in an environment like YouTube where many people are sitting and watching it, I want this video to literally make them feel that ‘yes, I would stand for this’. I want this video to question their ideology of patriotism. We have now set up the #71for71challenge to garner 71 million views in time for independent India turning 71 years old on August 15. I have done my bit by getting the world’s best to contribute their talent, time and resources; now it’s for all of India to stand as one to beat the #71for71challenge.
The ethos of the video, when we were shooting or constructing it, was to keep it true and completely simple and pure. If I can invoke that emotion, it would make me feel far greater than any number achieved so far.
At the moment, I have written a couple of Hindi songs. One is with a Sufi poet friend of mine, it is a song on piano called Naazanin. If we manage to get the attention, nothing has been decided. But whatever I do, I will do it to change the market.