A man who wears many hats, Luke Kenny — VJ, critic, director, producer, composer and actor — says he has made creative contributions whenever he got a chance to do so.
“I have been creatively contributive whenever I could be and I am always looking for the next challenge,” the star, best known for his role as Rob Nancy in the 2008-hit “Rock On”, told IANS.
“If you have a passion for something and you feel that you can bring a certain aptitude to it, then by all means you should do it. It’s not about jack of all trades, master of none. It’s about the multi-tasker you can be, never knowing which one can work for you at what point of time,” he said.
Kenny started his career as a solo dancer. Spotted at a college dance competition, he joined Arshad Warsi’s dance team as a chorus dancer and associate choreographer.
“Michael Jackson at that time was the greatest thing that happened to the world; I had a little bit of rhythm, so I started imitating him. I participated in dance competitions doing MJ impersonations. I started becoming a unique package and realised that there are many more avenues that I could be a part of.”
On his first love, music, he said: “Music has led me everywhere. It has been the hand-holder throughout my career and my life. I have always had musical influences coming to me from all directions.”
“My grandfather was a jazz musician in Delhi back in the day. My dad had his own band. My grandmother was a big Hindi film fan. I was exposed to jazz, the 60s and 70s music and also Hindi film music,” he said, adding: “In school I was exposed to whatever was popular. I became a melting pot for all of this.
“That’s how my creative process also started evolving in this multifarious format.”
Kenny has worked as a contributing editor for Rolling Stone India, writing a column called LukeBox, and a live music column called Gig-A-Bites.
He feels that song is everything regardless of the genre it becomes. “I have no biases. I have no walls up against anything. I don’t say I don’t listen to that classical Hindi music. Nothing like that. It’s seven notes. The more interesting and more varied you make them, the more it interests me as a listener. It’s a sound of the universe. Isn’t it'”
According to him, there have been various people who have changed the game in every 7 to 10 years and in the present day, “everybody is taking a bit of all kinds of music as Indian culture is open to the world”.
“We have all kinds of influences constantly being distilled in our subconscious. We are ‘desi’ at heart but when we go out there we want to show that we are the people of the world. We are exposed. We have knowledge. We know where countries are unlike Americans who don’t know the world outside their country.”
While the internet describes him as an Anglo-Indian, Kenny clarifies that in reality, there is no Indian in him.
“My grandmother’s family is British and my grandfather’s family is Irish. Then they moved to India where my Dad met my mom who is Italian. By heritage, by blood, by genes, there is no Indian in me. By conditioning, I am an Indian,” he explained.
Kenny has also been a vocalist with a rock band called Greek. He spoke about the advantage Indian rock bands tend to have and also the challenges that come their way.
“By virtue of non-film music being what it is, rock music is a creator’s paradise. They don’t have to conform to writing a song, which will fit for a particular actor, actress, director, scenario, club or culture. They are free with their creativity but then, it doesn’t become popular,” he said.
“The potential of you reaching a larger audience becomes very little. Like-minded people will enjoy that music. Because of that, it remains very marginal,” he added.
“When an Indian punk band or an Indian rock band goes abroad, they have multiple bands in their backyard. Why would they listen to the Indian band, that’s a big obstacle.”
(Mudita Girotra can be contacted at [email protected])
By Mudita Girotra