Bollywood’s iconic singer Shaan’s son Maahi is all grown up! And while he shares an uncanny resemblance with his father, this 19-year-old is not your ordinary star kid. He comes bearing an equally melodious voice that has the power to mesmerise. With two of his tracks ‘Sorry’ and ‘Jaadugari’ already finding a spot in everyone’s hearts, a performance at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival, and a passion for music like no other, Maahi may seem to have it all, but what sets him apart is the fact that he acknowledges his privilege. This World Music Day, Maahi speaks exclusively to about taking Shaan’s legacy forward, comparisons, pressure to sustain in showbiz, and more. 

Maahi realised at the tender of 9 that he wanted to be a singer, however, it was only when he became a teenager, that he understood the gravitas of the craft. On growing up in a melodious household, he shares, “A son takes a lot of inspiration from his father. He was never like, `Mere ghar mein sirf mera gaana chalega’. He (Shaan) would get embarrassed when we played his songs at parties. I`ve sung with him on stage. But otherwise, I was just learning from him. The entire point is to not be an accessory to him. You’re not supposed to just be a sidekick. I still have good memories of Dad and me on stage.”

Maahi has currently taken a break from his academics to work on his music, and will soon resume studying. That being said, he emphasises the same stating, “Academics is something I have taken seriously. Education is very important. My biggest fear was being a stereotype – young singer, stupid, no brains. As the youth, we have that responsibility as well to stay informed, and track the news, and what`s happening in our country, at some point we have to also be more proactive.”

Maahi performed at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival while his parents proudly watched and rooted for him from the audience. He recalls, “I remember I was sort of sitting in bed, it was the night before the performance I just couldn`t believe it. It was just a surreal experience. It`s a lot of fun to connect because everyone is an artist. To get that at such an early point for me is gratitude. There was a lot of gratefulness, but also at the same time you`ve been given an opportunity, so you have to make good on the expectations and work hard. There was also a little pressure.”

Speaking about the conversations he has with his father Shaan and how their relationship seconds as a teacher and his student, Maahi shares, “Dad has that complete mastery of whatever he wants to do with his vocal cords. He tells me, ‘I didn`t wake up like this’. And when you see that goal so close by it keeps you motivated to reach that level. It keeps me grounded because if he can reach those heights, he can sing those notes, those songs, be who he is and he can stay grounded, why would a singer who sang two songs think of leaving his feet off the ground?”

Shaan was among the few artists back in the day who ventured into independent music. The singer chose to lend his voice to tracks that were ahead of his time such as ‘Bhool Ja’, and ‘Tanha Dil’ to name a few. Maahi, who also took a similar route decades later asserts that there is a stark difference because things are easier for him than they were for his dad. He explains, “To get onto the CD in the first place back then you needed someone to invest a lot. Today, someone can pull out a song, we can mix it, master it all on our laptops, and dub it with a mic,  upload it. There`s a lot more competition in terms of content. But to just present and put yourself on the field in the first place back then was like a ridiculous feat.”

“If you`re looking at specifically the case study of Dad and me, obviously I will have an easier route, right? I would be stuck but I have someone who has been through this to guide me. He didn`t have that. So in that sense also I`m blessed. Now it`s up to me to seize the opportunity,” he concludes.