Nikhil Gangavane: A complete talent packageConversations — By Kadambari on August 31, 2011 at 8:00 AM
A multi-talented artist, Nikhil Gangavane is a self taught person, who followed his passion and emerged successful. Gangavane is popular name in the international market for his stock photography, music and Michael Jackson concerts.
In an interview with The Punekar, he talks about being close to Shammi Kapoor, his love for Michael Jackson and several arts that he has mastered.
You are singer, dancer, photographer, spiritual counsellor and a songwriter. Which of these roles do you enjoy the most and why?
I love my sessions of spiritual counselling/healing & song-writing the most. Both the processes involve some kind of mystery and an involvement of higher power. Healing someone is transferring energies from a source to a destination. Similarly, a composition of a song comes to a composer from up there and one just has to put it down and deliver it to an audience.
You are a good example of jack of all trades and master of many. How do you manage to play all the roles with great élan?
It is hard to juggle between all the activities. The priorities keep changing every single day. The only routine that is stable in my life is teaching music. I love teaching children and interacting with their raw genius. Since children are bound to timetables, I am also bound to the timings I have scheduled for them. Photography sales have a seasonal trend, so when market demand is more I have more shoots. In case of music, it’s a totally emotion driven exercise. I never force myself to write a song, I write a song only when I feel like. Spiritual counselling/healing goes on all the time. There are many people who are interacting with you and consulting you, so like a doctor you always need to be available for them.
Were you interested in all these activities since childhood or was there a turning point in your life which helped you emerge as an artist?
From the day, I became a fan of Michael Jackson I always wanted to be a performer like him. I had kept my aspiration for a music career hidden till the time I graduated. My decision took my parents by surprise. I always enjoyed photography but it became a profession by chance. My dedication towards my art has kept me focussed and strong. My spiritual awareness helps me cope with life and problems in a better way, so nothing ever bothers me much.
Are you a self taught person or have you taken special training in these fields?
I have learnt all my art by practice. I never learnt any musical instrument; neither did I take any formal training in dancing, singing or photography either. I have practiced hard… very hard!
[pullquote_right]“When Shammi Kapoor passed away, I suddenly realized that he was a different Shammi Kapoor than the one in films.”[/pullquote_right]
You are India’s number one stock photographer. Tell us what inspired you to pick up the camera?
I loved to click pictures since childhood. What made me actually take up photography seriously was its ability to transform an uninteresting subject into something beautiful. It opened a new world to me, especially MACRO photography. It kind of became my style later to prefer clicking subjects generally despised by the world.
You are also involved in spiritual counselling and healing. Can you tell us something more about it?
There are 3 steps involved. Initially, the person is counselled. Then the problem is verified or pinned down using techniques like aura scan, astrological chart, etc. In the healing process the person is healed using alternative methods like reiki, pranic, gemstones, etc. Along with that the person is also advised to follow some religious routine depending on his/her birth chart.
You have been providing background score to several international projects, how did music entice you?
It is inbuilt. My dad has been a serious listener and I learnt to enjoy all kinds of music. It will be hard for someone to believe that till I was 18 or rather till I fell in love, I never understood or never bothered to listen to the lyrics of the song. I used to get so engrossed with the music that I used to sing the song without really trying to understand what they really meant. After I fell in love I got trapped into the lyrical side of music and groomed it well.
Your Michael Jackson anthem was quite a hit among online audience. How did you come up with it and how was the experience of shooting the song?
Be it Michael Jackson or Shammi Kapoor I never wanted to end up as a fan who was just a fan. Michael Jackson and Shammi Kapoor are the people I follow and admire. For all the good things they gave me in life I wanted to give them something back with a lot of love. Somewhere inside I was not satisfied even when I was handling their fan-clubs.
The idea of Michael Jackson anthem stuck me when Michael Jackson was under trial in 2003. I thought this gesture of mine will make him recognize me as an important fan. It worked and there came a time when he knew that there is this special fan called Nikhil Gangavane. Due to the anthem I got the official recognition of the fan club, the first one to achieve this among all fan clubs in the world. It even got authenticated by Sony Music as an official fan club for India. I had anticipated that there would be about 10,000 downloads of the anthem but as of today, the anthem has had more than 3 million downloads.
[pullquote_left]“From the day, I became a fan of Michael Jackson I always wanted to be a performer like him.” [/pullquote_left]
How did you get a chance to manage the fan page of legendry actor Shammi Kapoor and can you share some fond memories of meeting the star?
Actually the fanpage came 10 years after the website. And after the fanpage he handed over his own website jungle.org.in to me to keep it going. Neither of it was a chance. Like I mentioned earlier, I had a great desire to do something for him as a service, so I contacted him. Earlier he was apprehensive or rather not interested in the idea of a fan club. Our communication started on spiritual notes but after a few months it turned into pure friendship and that too a close one. I actually used to share my life with him especially love life and he used to advise me and cheer me up. He played a pivotal role to ensure that I didn’t lose my sanity! Eventually he accepted the fan club idea and we went on with it. Meeting him or even talking to him on phone was always very personal.
I don’t remember talking to him about his films apart from my first meeting. When Shammi Kapoor passed away, I suddenly realized that he was a different Shammi Kapoor than the one in films. What he carried forward with him after the transformation was his energy, his intelligence and love for food. He still had passion for driving and life but his energies were different, he seemed saintly. I eventually started calling him papaji and he started treating me like a son / grandson and scolded me at times. I saw this transformation of our relationship – first he was a celebrity for me, then a friend and in the end we loved each other like family.
You have performed in several concerts all over India and are popularly known for the M. J tribute concerts. Which has been one of the most memorable?
There is no particular concert which has been the most memorable. I always fondly remember my private performances. I always love performing but I love these private performances more because I don’t perform them for money, I perform out of my love.
You own TheFinalMiracle Studios and Forever Music Pvt. Ltd. enterprise; can you tell us more about the venture?
Both of these ventures work on licensing. We license out art to a worldwide audience. Photography and music both don’t sell well using the traditional methods, yet licensing gives a chance to generate good revenues. My own work or the artists under our label might not be famous locally but we license a lot outside India and are well-known outside India. Local artists are not quiet acquainted or sure about licensing music so it gets difficult to get them under contract but eventually this will happen. Licensing music through our company will keep their music safe unlike the risks taken in individual submissions.
TheFinalMiracle Studios also mainly targets the stock photography market, hence we could give a unique offer to models who don’t have money to make portfolio. We make their portfolio for free and get them sign a contract (model releases) allowing us to sell those images and recover money. It’s a win-win situation for both the parties.
[pullquote_right]“I never learnt any musical instrument; neither did I take any formal training in dancing, singing or photography either.”[/pullquote_right]
What are your upcoming projects?
We are starting a new academy (An enterprise of Forever Music Pvt. Ltd) that will educate people in various art forms like music, painting, dance, photography etc. We are also tying up with various teachers and institutes to teach astronomy, astrology, numerology and various healing methods. There are not many institutes which will teach all these arts under a single banner. Over the years I have met people from diverse fields and I know a handful of genuine people from them. It will be nice to have them work with us. My experience with them will ensure that our students are learning from knowledgeable people and not from the famous but half-learned.
There obviously will be a music albums launched online and for local/national distribution but our main projects will always target an international audience.