Back in his homeground, Assam, the 35-year-old is as loved as Assamese tea. He's been on the music scene in Mum bai for over a decade now.. and has made an impact, slowly but surely. His repertoire of unforgettable numbers include Mere watan(Fiza), Jaane kya (Pyaar
Zubin Garg, of Ya Ali fame, makes his Bollywood debut with the film Chakra, which he's also directing.
ke Side Effects) and Ek din (Naqaab).
Talk is that he might now even do a Sonu Nigam (or should that be Himesh Reshammiya?) on us. Besides singing, he may act in a film titled Chakra.. which he is scripting and directing. That's why I trot over to his Andheri home-cum-studio to ask:
Have you just moved in here?
Not really. Actually I live out of a suitcase, I'm constantly travelling for shows and song recordings. If I'm not on the move, I take off on a 10-day trip to Guwahati every month.
What's been the response to your album Zindagi?
It hit the market just three or four days ago. It's been promoted as my album but it's a mix actually. I've sung five of the nine songs. The others are by Chitra, Shafaqat Ali Khan. I've to still cut my first private album.
I believe you're working on a film script.
Yes.. Chakra. I will direct and maybe act in it as well. I've written, directed and acted in Assamese films. If all goes well, the shoot of Chakra should begin early next year.
<b1>Are you planning to build luxury hotels in Guwahati?
Yes. I've bought two ships. I'm planning to build ethnic luxury hotels on them. But I will start working on that only in the summer of 2008. I want them to be state of the art. Tourism is on a high in the North-East. I think the hotels will increase the tourist traffic.
That sounds like a plan.. but what about your playback singing work here?
I wouldn't ever let that suffer. Right now, I've sung for Manorama Six Feet Under, Aashayein and another Nagesh Kukunoor film.
I'm launching three albums - highlighting Assamese folk music, a lounge-cum-classical album of SD Burman songs.. and my first private album.. titled Paakezah.
Although you've worked quite often with Pritam, why aren't you a part of his band?
He approached me for a song but I was in Assam. We've been working together for a long time now. We came to Bombay almost simultaneously in 1995-96.. I've worked with him on ad films.
How come Pritam and you haven't delivered another Ya Ali?
Because such songs happen once in 10 years.. sometimes once in a lifetime.. it's a benchmark for us.
How did you first make an impact in Mumbai?
Around 2000, I was being recognised as a singer of potential. Then Ranjit Barot gave me the song Mere watan which got me Jaane hoga Rama re (Kaante). I always had work in Assam there.
I have two recording studios and a film production house there. I have a chain of spas. Unlike other newcomers in the Bombay movies, I was well off.. mercifully.
Lastly, tell me about your family.
My father Mohini Borthakur is a poet and was a magistrate. My mother Ily Borthakur was a singer and actress, so was my sister Protima..she passed away recently. My younger sister Palme is a classical dancer. My wife Garima is a fasion designer.