He’s been in Mumbai for over three months and leaves for his home in Spain tomorrow. Once an icon of pop, composer-turned-singer Biddu Appaiah, now 62, is still active on the Indian and Western music scene, producing albums that are spiritual and Eastern-oriented.
Where have you been?
I first came to Bangalore to visit my mother, which I do every year. I stay in London mostly but four years ago, I made a conscious decision to be in India more. I’m quite upbeat about my new video and two songs I’ve done for the album Shut Up and Dance. I’ve also done a few songs with Abhijeet Sawant.
I’ve composed and sung a song for Shootout at Lokhandwala.
What’s this new album about?
Shut Up and Dance is a remix album. One of its songs, Five, is on air. It has two songs of mine.
We’ve done an interesting remix of Choli ke peechhe, and shot a video for it. It features Shaana who makes her debut in Namaste London. I hate those gyrating videos. So we have only her singing on a mic. It’s a complete dance album.
Why were you hibernating and cutting on work?
I wasn’t hibernating per se. I reduced work in India because there’s no system of royalties here.
I can’t function in an atmosphere where the original artistes are paid peanuts compared to the actors who mime the song. I can’t give away all my songs in an album for one-time money.
The scene abroad is much better.
There’s no free Internet downloading, no free ringtones.
I was away because the scene suddenly changed 360 degrees. Earlier, 20-30 lakh copies sold was considered a hit. Today it’s only two lakh copies. Piracy is at an alltime high. It’s not an exciting proposition, yet I enjoy the little work I do here.
Where is Nazia Hassan’s family?
She was a dear friend. Her eightyear-old son lives with her parents today. She had split from her husband a while before she died in 2001. I was in touch with her off and on. She lived in London. I’m not really in touch with her family today.
You were once associated with Alisha Chinoy.
We created blockbuster albums for Magnasound in the ’90s. Then she moved on with her career, I moved on with mine. We phone each other sometimes. She’s a great singer. I loved her Kajra re in Bunty Aur Babli. Whether we work together or not, we’re friends.
What’s been the worst pop song you’ve heard in recent times?
I hear too many of them to remember one. I can proudly say none of them was mine.
What about your family?
I have a grown-up son and a daughter. She isn’t into music but works for a private company and prefers to earn her own money. My son’s a rap singer and works in a firm in America. What next? I have to start writing my film script, my poetry and my book. I don’t know when it will all materialise but it will for sure.