Sun Sign: Leo
Date of birth: July 30
Place of birth: Faridabad
Hometown: Mumbai and Delhi
School/college: J D Tytler, Vidya Bharti, Sacred Heart, La Montessori, Versova English School, St Mary’s, Baby Sweet Home. (in reverse order)
First break: By Usha Khanna for a. TV serial ‘Talash’ by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, 1991
High point: Many in life, creating ‘Saregama’ was one.
Low point: Demise of my Mother
Currently doing: Leading a much more fulfilling life than anyone I know or see around, touch wood!
You are an ardent Mohammed Rafi fan. Which one of his songs is the closest to your heart?
Ye na thi hamari kismat .
You moved to Mumbai at 18. What was your first impression of the city?
It seemed to me to be extremely hardcore, uncouth and only my hard work and perseverance could win me a place in this ruthless world.
Singing, hosting or acting: which gives you the most satisfaction?
Anything that puts me in the company of geniuses and like-minded fair, genuine and reasonable people. Only then does the real Sonu unravel!
Who are your favourite international singers?
Mariah Carey, Marc Anthony, Usher, R Kelly and Justin Timberlake.
The best thing about being a singer in Bollywood is...
That you get exposed to and can excel in many genres of music. Back in the day, we’d have Om Jai Jagadish hare, Suraj hua maddham and You are my Sonia, in the same movie, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... (2001).
You have sung songs for all three Khans. Whom have you enjoyed singing playback for the most?
Every actor is special for me and I respect them all. I have noticed that my songs come with a greater destiny, which reveals itself gradually. Like Do kadam aur sahee from Meenaxi: A Tale Of Three Cities (2004), and my own album, Classically Mild.
Bollywood’s most romantic on-screen pair is...
Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rehman. This is when we didn’t use the derogatory term of ‘Bollywood’ for our beautiful Hindi film industry
Among the new singers, who do you find to be the most talented?
Arijit Singh and Armaan Malik.
One song you can hear over and over.
Khuda jaane ke from Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008).
One singer you enjoy teaming up with?
I share a lot of love with Shaan and Kailash Kher.
One song that made you nervous while recording it.
Khamoshiyan gungunane lagi from One 2 Ka 4 (2001) because I was witnessing Lata Mangeshkar singing on the microphone that was supposed to be recording my voice later.
Apart from Hindi, which language do you enjoy singing in?
Kannada and Marathi.
Music directors you enjoy working with.
The ones who know their onions. And don’t worry, there actually are a few who do.
A dessert that describes you.
None. I am not bad for health, and I don’t attract flies!
Your dream destination.
Antarctica and Mars.
A childhood memory you always carry with you.
That of my beautiful and kind mother.
What do you miss the most about Delhi?
The winter, the idea of gajjak, patti, revari and moongfali wrapped in an old newspaper.
Your favourite street food.
Gol gappe, sev puri, dahi paapdi, dahi bhalle, tikki, pao bhaji, bhajiya, roadside bhurji and bread, jalebi, overcooked kadhai milk... I can go on.
You destress with...
Some like-minded rascals who can make me roll on the floor with their humour.
For the gym: Just an electronic tanpura
For the road : These days it’s music from Katyar Kaljat Ghusali, a brilliant piece of art by Shankar Ehsaan Loy
In the monsoon: Megha re megha re from Pyaasa Sawan (1981)
When winter comes: Ab mujhe raat din from my abum Deewana
Theme song of your life: A close call between Man re tu kaahe na by Mohammed Rafi and Har ghadi badal rahi hai from Kal Ho Naa Ho (2001)
The most embarassing song you’ve heard... Teri chu chu chu chu chunari ko chooha khaa Gayaa
From HT Brunch, March 27, 2016
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