If you think Deepika Padukone was the only Bollywood personality to shine this year, think again. Noted Bollywood singer Mika Singh also hit the right notes with many a popular songs — from Duma Dum from DDay to the current crowd favourite, Gandi Baat from R…Rajkumar.
In between performing at Mullanpur on Sunday and his road trip to Manali for a New Year’s Eve performance, Mika catches up with HT City.
Ask him how performing in Punjab feels and he says, “It is always special to come back to Chandigarh and Punjab. The people here love me very much and I always get a good response from the crowd.”When we bring up the rumoured fee of Rs 1.25 crore, which he is supposedly charging for his New Year’s Eve performance, Mika very candidly puts our doubts to rest: "It is the first time an Indian artiste is being paid so much for a performance. But, I am open about my fee; I don’t want the Income Tax Department to come after me."
Ask him what has kept him going all these years and he says, “I have been around for 15 years now; very few singers can say that. My USP is that I have managed to sustain myself in the industry. I have done that by singing a diverse variety of songs. I don’t restrict myself to language and have sung chartbusters in Telugu and Bengali.”
Known for his outspokenness, Mika recently called himself the ‘Khan of singers’. “It is my attitude.
Initially, people thought I was crazy, but now, they have accepted that my brand of crazy has helped me sustain. Like the Khans, I have seen competition from different singers over the years. Even today, I can compete with the younger lot of singers such as Arijit Singh and Benny Dayal.”
Mika, who is producing a Bollywood film, Balwinder Singh..Famous Ho Gaya, with his friend Shaan in the lead, says he has no acting plans yet due to a packed schedule. There is, however, another dilemma that stops him: “Everytime I gain weight, I get a lot of offers; when I lose, the offers stop coming!”
At the event, Mika also spoke of his NGO: “ I run an NGO called Divine Touch, which has centers in Delhi and Bombay, where we educate over 1,000 girls. We help them complete professional courses, practice art and craft along with formal education. While I contribute a chunk of my earnings to the NGO, I hope to get government support in the future so we can expand operations.”
When asked what keeps him busy besides music and his NGO, he says, “I have 18 dogs, two horses and two camels, with whom I try to spend as much time as possible.” Plans for 2014: “Marriage, a world tour, Sufi songs and producing good movies that promote newcomers.”