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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Rahman hasn't made an everlasting song: Abhijeet

Singer Abhijeet as he readies for his live show at the Times Hyderabad Festival chats with TOI...

This is your first public concert in Hyderabad. How come you haven't performed here before?
I have performed in Hyderabad many a time, but all of them have been for private shows. I've done stage shows all over the world and have always been looking for a chance to do a public concert here. Hyderabad is close to my heart because the language and nazaakat is very similar to my hometown Lucknow. I'm really looking forward to perform at the Times Hyderabad Festival and entertaining my people.

What do you enjoy more — playback or live performances?
Definitely live performances. My shows are family oriented and there is something for every age group. So it's a lot more fun doing stage shows. Even the kids connect with me thanks to my stint as a reality show judge in a children's singing competition.

Talking about reality shows, why don't you judge a show for adult singers?
I'm not comfortable doing that at all. With children I know that I can contribute a lot. I can groom them, guide them and most importantly, become a child once again. With adults it's a different ball game. Most of the shows already have four to five judges who are composers. All they do is show-off and make tall promises to the singers which most of the time they don't fulfill. I don't make promises to anyone because I know I can't fulfill them. Most composers go on reality shows only to promote themselves and their projects.

But most of their songs are hits today.
That's because they promote it so much that it sticks in your head like a washing powder jingle. The quality of these songs is as good as washing powder. Plus, most musicians these days are clones of AR Rahman. But I have news for you — winning an Oscar does not make you a good musician, you just become the 'news'. So if they want to be in news, then what they do is fine. They have gone so much into using technology that they don't have knowledge of music. Using 'autotune' they have made singers out of besura people. I'm glad to be have worked with people like Nadeem-Shravan, Jatin-Lalit and Annu Malek. None of the composers today have made an 'everlasting' song. Not even Rahman. Apart from " Roja", " Bombay" and " Guru" can people remember songs from his other films? Except for RD Burman no other composer has recall value to his music.

Aren't you courting trouble by making such statements?
That's how I have always been. The truth is today, in every film most good songs are sung by the composers themselves. They don't give the good songs to singers. And honestly most music directors are horrible singers. I have never been diplomatic or cunning. Earlier I used to sing for every film, today I hardly do playback. In spite of that my status as a good singer has not changed.

Don't you feel upset about not getting enough songs to sing?
Not at all. There are 5,000 singers today who don't have any distinct identity. They are merely used as an add-on. Why should I be part of 5,000 mediocre singers? Today any bhikari singing a Sufi song will get a chance to sing for an SRK or Aamir, but nobody can match the magic of my voice. No radio station can run without playing my songs. The last of the known singers today are Shreya Ghoshal and Shaan. My distinct identity as a singer has helped me amass a lot of wealth to be comfortable. Monetary issues are not a problem at all. When I read that Priyanka Chopra has 9 flats I was shocked, because I have 11! Plus, I have other commercial properties and investments as well. I have most of the comforts than a star like SRK has. So I don't have to worry.

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