Kuwait: Sukhwinder Singh gets candid about life, career and Bollywood

Kuwait: Sukhwinder gets candid about life, career and Bollywood

By Wilson Saldanha, Shirthady/Kuwait
Daijiworld Media Network - Kuwait

Kuwait, Jun 2: Sukhwinder Singh is an Indian singer best known as Bollywood playback artiste. Singh is famous for the song "Chaiyya Chaiyya" for which he won the Best Male Playback Award at the 1999 Filmfare Awards. The song, from Mani Ratnam's 1998 film Dil Se.., was composed by A R Rahman, written by Gulzar, and sung in duet with Sapna Awasthi. Singh later gained more international fame for singing "Jai Ho" from the film Slumdog Millionaire, which won an Academy Award for Best Original Song and a Grammy Award for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media.

A day after the live in concert ‘Jai Ho’ in Kuwait by Apna Bharath Society, Akash Panwar the president invited me for a lunch with the singers Sukhwinder Singh, Jasleemn Matharu and others. According to Sukhwinder sing’s Business Manager Sameer Kaushal who is with him since 5 years, Sukhwinder Singh is a simple, fun loving person and a very good human being but sometimes moody. He puts his entire energy while performing and performs by heart. Never goes for award ceremonies. The latest movies for which he has given voice are Policegiri, Bhag Milka Bhag and Yamuna Pagla Deewana. He had come to Kuwait earlier with Sunidhi Chauhan.

When I started interview with Sukwinder Singh during lunch, I found him a down-to-earth person ready for an open hearted conversation. When a Kuwaiti family asked for a photograph with him, he happily agreed. Sukhwinder’s other hobby is cooking. He also clicked a photograph with the chefs and staff of Crown Plaza where we had lunch. When someone was struggling to use knife and fork during lunch, he kept his own aside and showed him how to enjoy food by eating with hand, and continued to eat with hand.

Excerpts from the interview:

Considering the lifestyle in Mumbai and other parts of the world, the Middle East and specially Kuwait, has a different lifestyle. How do you feel being here for the show?

Sukhwinder: With the information gathered I was expecting Kuwait as quiet and boring. But genuinely it is colorful. We learn different culture in different places and also sense the feeling of people when they are out of their country. This will help me to add flavor in my music and also other countries' traditions in Hindi music. I always learn from others and accept critics. The impression of Kuwait is completely changed in my mind. It is not boring. Life here is peaceful. The authority is good here and it is a new experience for me. We can learn a lot from different people and cultures.

I observed that you always sing in high pitch, different from other singers. Your voice is powerful.

Sukhwinder: The high pitch is not power. It is passion. Passion is power. Power cannot be a passion. I was a playback singer. When I met A R Rahman, he changed singing in me into performance. I do not sing a track. Rahman gives us a concept and we are allowed to sing our own way. He has completely engineered the music technically. With this theory, after people accepted ‘Chaiya Chaiya’, the trend of singing changed.

In olden days every actor had a singer like (Mukesh for Raj Kapoor etc) and singer used to sing keeping the actor in mind.

Sukhwinder: Yes, the voice of the singer would match the voice of the actor. There were limited actors and a particular singer used to sing for them for every movie. But now the trend is changed. World is made for special people and special people are few. In about five years' time only a few genuine singers will exist. Other voices will be technically generated using modern technology.

While singing, do you keep actor in mind?

Sukhwinder: Actor has to adopt the character and the singer. Not vice-versa. I keep movie and character in mind, but not the actor. I am ready to sing for theatre too. We should be sincere in every work.

Nowadays artistes get more limelight due to the media which reaches the world faster as compared to olden days. What is your opinion on this?
Media is an art, not machine. When journalism started, revolution began. When media speaks, everyone listens. It can make or break a person. I appreciate today’s revolution in media and also disagree with media when they publish and make news without checking the facts.

I heard that you don’t go for award ceremonies. Is it because you don’t get awards or you hate awards?

Sukhwinder: Success is not from any platform or home. Success is addiction and doesn’t have a home to stay. It needs to travel. Satisfaction only stays at home. Sing for satisfaction and success follows you. I too got awards. When I was 5 years old, I rejected a trophy because I wanted toffee and never knew that a trophy was more valuable than toffee. Self-satisfaction is more than an award for me. Awards make us greedy and increase stress as we need to maintain the flow. Success gives stress and insecurity. I am not so serious about work but always sincere towards my work.

Have you tried to sing in any other language?

Sukhwinder: Gandhiji learnt Sanskrit in two months. When S P Balasubrahmanyam asked me to sing a song for his Tamil Movie ‘Rakshakan’ in which he acted, it was a challenge for me. It was also an honor to sing for a legendary singer like S P. I do one work at a time. I learnt Tamil lyrics and accent in 6 months and for that song I got award that too from S P Balasubrahmanyam’s hand on a Tamil stage. I also sung a Tulu song for ‘Muji Muji Aiji’.

People say you are moody and get angry soon

Sukhwinder: An artiste is always moody and has the gift of high blood pressure. I do yoga before every performance. Visibility of yoga is not much but it creates energy and more fragrance in my voice. It helps me to control my anger. The stress we face during concerts makes us angry sometimes.

Do you miss your past life after becoming celebrity? Generally, one cannot continue one's past lifestyle after becoming celebrity as one needs to maintain one's standard.

Sukhwinder: I like to be celebrity. I am frank. It looks funny to me when I read poems and articles about childhood. My present life is very good so I don’t miss my past life. One should not be so sensitive. Only have experience with the past. Don’t live with the past. It will trouble you. Sometimes we like to do the things we used to do earlier but we are restricted due to our celebrity status. I remember one incident of past. When I was in hostel, we wanted to have beer and we broke a room and took beer. When my friends were tempted to take cash and gold from the room, I stopped them doing so as our aim was not stealing but just to have beer. When the issue came to light, we were arrested. I got a slap from the principal for the mistake and a gift of Rs 100 for honesty.

Did anyone influence you in the industry?

Sukhwinder: When I was three years old, I used to be 6 months old in my dream and Lataji in red saree and a big tikka on her forehead used to hold my hands. She is the best. I also like some Hollywood singers. They have brilliant performances which we don’t have in Indian singing. But trend has changed.

We can still listen to the old songs even after so many years. The new songs disappear very fast. What do you say about this.

Sukhwinder: Yes, that is a fact. I love item numbers and dance songs. I am also planning to do 60’s romantic songs. We have started working on international artistes and Indian opera performing stage shows titled 'Music Circus'. It includes a Russian band, Punjabi singers, me and Indian opera.

Do you have any plans to settle in life?

(Sukhwinder just smiles and gives a wry smile to Jasleemn Matharu) I am 40 plus now. You may find me with my kid next time I come to Kuwait.


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Comment on this article


    Sun, Jun 2 2013

    Thanks for the interview, Sukhwinder paaji, Sukhwinder Singh has long been considered one of Bollywood’s most successful singers, thanks to popular tunes like “Chaiyya Chaiyya,” a 1998 hit that featured Shah Rukh Khan and cast members dancing on top of a moving train. But it was the song “Jai Ho!” that introduced Mr. Singh to a large international audience. All the best Sukku Paaji.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

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