I am not hungry for success as an actor,says Jai Ho... singer Sukhwinder Singh at the cusp of movie stardom
How did the acting bug bite you?
(Laughs) Actually, I bit the acting bug. Honestly, it was never the game plan to become an actor. My passion was, is and will be to sing, maybe even die behind the mic, in a studio recording a song.
So, how did Kuch Kariye happen?
The director (Jagbir Dahiya) and music composer Onkar had approached me to sing a song for the movie. The composition was impressive. Soon, our team clicked. They wanted me to sing more songs in the album. Eventually, the director offered me to act because he felt that my face expressed the emotion behind every song.
What was your initial reaction then?
I declined the offer. It was awkward. Jagbir tried his best to convince me that I was best suited for the role. After a few weeks, I gave in. I agreed to hear the script. It blew me off. I was surprised because it was too perfect a role for me. It gelled with the person I actually am.
Recently, Subhash Ghai launched the music. How did he agree for it?
He appreciates my work a lot. And the idea actually was to inaugurate the music at the hands of Maa Saraswati. We sang an ‘aradhana’ for her and then we placed the CDs in her lap and he opened it.
Aren’t you apprehensive turning an actor, given that singers and composers have rarely been taken seriously as actors? After signing the dotted line, I was wondering whether I was greedy enough towards my acting career, whether I really wanted to hog limelight and be known as a movie star. The answer from within wasn’t in the affirmative. I was neither disappointed with my career as a singer-composer, nor was I going through a lull. I realised that people loved me for my work and probably, they might even appreciate me in the movie. I am neither nervous nor apprehensive. I am not hungry for success as an actor.
Did you join one of those popular acting classes then?
Oh, no! I did my own bit of research. I watched a lot of movies to learn to be comfortable before the camera. I met a lot of people who advised me on how I should go about with the movie and my role. I started rehearsing my lines at home. The first few days on the shoot were the greatest learning experiences for me. Initially, I would get camera conscious. Later, I learnt that it was best to be natural and be oneself before the camera.
Did you really need to train given that you’re playing a musician in
I needed to learn the basics of acting. I’m playing a musician in the film but the musician is not Sukhwinder Singh. So, I had to learn to switch on and off between my character and me. Now, I’ve learnt to be someone else when the director shouts, “Action”.
IPL Rockstar could have been better: Sukhwinder
Once some reality show singers came to me asking for work. I realised that their fame lasts only for as long as they are on the shows. It upset me. Around that time, I was looking for new singers for my album. IPL Rockstar also came along. I decided to choose the fresh voices for my album through the show. I would like to admit though, that the show could have been better. The kind of show I had thought it would be and what actually came on air wasn’t the same. It came from experienced people and I didn’t expect it to be that way.
No one can become Kishoreda:Sukhwinder
Kishoreda has been an inspiration for generations of singers in the industry. He has influenced so many, that they could actually think that they can move from behind the mic to face the camera. He is, by far, the most successful example of a singer who could compose and act convincingly. He’s an inspiration, but not someone I am trying to imitate in my career.
Himesh and Sonu should sing: Sukhwinder
Himesh (Reshammiya) and Sonu (Niigaam) have a fabulous sense of music. Himesh is an excellent composer too. He can juggle with everything actually. They should not quit music for acting though. They should continue to be singers, for sure.
I understand languages: Sukhwinder
Everyone wonders how this Punjabi guy manages to sing in Tamil, Hindi, Telegu, Marathi, Kannada and Malayalam. But I understand all these languages pretty well by now. I may not be conversant with them but that’s fine. Before I sing in any of these languages, I ensure that the music composer explains every word to me very clearly.
Rahman is Rahman: Sukhwinder
Nothing can change that man. He’s still very humble. After Slumdog Millionaire, the industry had preempted that our relationship would turn sour given that he won the awards. But my association with Rahman has grown even stronger. He and I have worked on three songs in Raavan. While recording the songs with him, not for a minute did he make me feel that he was an Oscar winner.
* Chaiya chaiya (Dil Se…) This song gave me the much-needed recognition back then.
* Chal chal (Astitva) It had beautiful lyrics, which were so expressive, yet not vulgar.
* Rut aa gayi re (1947 Earth) I just love this track. I don’t need a reason for it.
* Fashion ka jalwa (Fashion)I had fun recording this one. I didn’t know it would be used for a ramp show in the movie.
* Dhan te nan (Kaminey) This was something very different. I didn’t know what it would turn out to be when I was recording it.