AR Rahman recreates voices of dead singers: Who were Shahul Hameed, Bamba Bakya?

Both singers have closely worked with music composer AR Rahman before their untimely deaths. AR Rahman has reportedly recreated their voices for the upcoming film ‘Lal Salaam’.
AR Rahman recreates voices of dead singers: Who were Shahul Hameed, Bamba Bakya?
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Ever since the news of music director AR Rahman bringing back the voices of two late singers for his new composition came out, fresh attention has come to Shahul Hameed and Bamba Bakya, whose voices have reportedly been recreated using Artificial Intelligence. The Oscar-winning musician has adopted their voices for the song ‘Thimiri Yezhuda’ in the upcoming film by Aishwarya Rajinikanth, Lal Salaam. Shahul and Bamba had both worked quite a bit with Rahman, Shahul in the composer’s early years before his untimely death in a car crash in 1998. Bamba died of a cardiac arrest in September 2022. Both were in their 40s.

Here are some of the most popular songs sung by Shahul:

  • Usilampatti Penkutty (Gentleman) – All the songs from the 1993 film, starring Arjun and Madhoo, were popular. But Usilampatti, rendered by Swarnalatha and Shahul, was more so, with its beautiful choreography and visualisation. Sadly, both Swarnalatha and Shahul have passed away.

  • Rasaathi (Thiruda Thiruda) – Another early work of Rahman’s, the songs from this less popular film by Mani Ratnam are still beloved by Tamil film music lovers. Rasaathi, a relatively sad track by Shahul, is punctuated with catchy choruses.

  • Urvasi (Kadhalan) – This is probably Shahul’s biggest hit, and one of ARR’s personal favourites, given the number of times he has presented it on stage. Shahul, Suresh Peters, and ARR sang the song, which introduces Prabhu Deva and Vadivelu in the film.

  • Senthamizh Naatu (Vandicholai Chinnrasu) – This dance number featuring Sathyaraj and Sukanya, also composed by Rahman, was rendered by Shahul and turned out to be a lot more popular than the film.

  • Varayo Thozhi (Jeans) – Yet another Rahman musical, the songs and BGM of Jeans, starring Aishwarya Rai and Prashanth, were hits at the time. Varayo Thozhi, a happy song-and-dance number showing a grandmother having fun with her granddaughter and friends, would be one of the last sung by Shahul, along with Sonu Nigam, Harini, and Sangeetha.

Bamba also rendered some unforgettable songs, composed by Rahman. Here are a few:

  • Pullinangal (2.0) – The song about love of birds, defining one of the main characters in the Rajinikanth film, was rendered by Bamba along with AR Ameen and Suzanne D’Mello.

  • Simtarangaan (Sarkar) – A typical dance song led by Vijay, Simtarangaan is a catchy track by Bamba, with Vipin Aneja and Aparna Narayanan joining for the chorus.

  • Kaalame (Bigil) – Bamba gave voice to this sad track, which appears in the film when one of the characters played by Vijay (who plays father and son in the film) passes away.

  • Ponni Nadhi (PS-1) – Bamba begins this peppy song, which is then taken up by ARR.

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