A film is made for actors, not for singers: Javed Ali

  • Nikita Deb, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Aug 13, 2016 08:51 IST
Javed Ali says though he records a lot of songs, only a few make it to the soundtracks of films. (Pramod Thakur)

Though Javed Ali doesn’t sing a lot for films these days, he has several hit tracks to his credit. With songs such as Arziyan (Delhi-6; 2009) and Kun Faya Kun (Rockstar; 2011), the singer has contributed immensely to Sufi music in Bollywood. Javed has sung a track — Mahroom — in the upcoming movie Happy Bhag Jayegi. He is also set to perform in the city on August 17. A huge fan of singer Ghulam Ali, Javed says he was inspired to learn music by listening to the ghazal legend’s songs.

Love for ghazals

Javed says that while ghazals are not working commercially today, they will make a comeback. “Ghazals can never die; they will come back. If I’m given a choice to pick what I am interested in, I will definitely sing a ghazal for a movie,” says Javed.

Javed Ali says that AR Rahman makes an artiste feel comfortable. There are times when he changes his melodies if a singer faces difficulty in singing parts of the track.

The playback singer has collaborated extensively with AR Rahman. Talking about his equation with the celebrated composer, he says, “Rahman saab is a composer who makes an artiste feel comfortable. There are times when he changes his melodies if a singer faces difficulty in singing parts of the track. He doesn’t force his compositions on the singers.”

Read: I love working on challenging projects, says musical maestro AR Rahman

Explaining why he doesn’t feature on Bollywood films’ soundtracks as often as he used to in the past, Javed says, “People usually call me for experimental songs. The number of tracks made in Bollywood has also gone down. There are only four to five songs in every movie, and there are 500 to 600 singers in the industry. So, it depends on your luck. I sang a number in Wazir recently though.”

Problem of plenty

Javed insists that he records frequently for films even now. “I have been singing a lot, but at times, a director decides to replace the voice, or the song doesn’t match the situation in the movie,” says Javed.

The singer also feels that the shelf life of songs is short these days. “A new song releases every 15 days. So many new tracks keep coming up. You have to be part of that race,” he says.

Read: Did you know that Javed Ali is ‘very fond of EDM?’

For the record

Recalling one of his most memorable recording experiences, Javed says working on the track ‘Kun faya kun’ was amazing. “When I went up to the microphone to start singing, Rahman sir asked me to do wazoo (the preparation done before offering the namaaz) because it was a spiritual and pure song. After wazoo, Rahman saab locked the studio, and nobody was allowed to enter. Irshad Kamil (lyricist), Rahman saab and I were the only ones inside. Irshad was writing the lyrics for the song. We started recording at 8pm and we finished by around 6am the next day,” says Javed.

‘Kun faya kun’ from Rockstar wa a hit song composed by Javed Ali. It was composed by AR Rahman.

Of late, a lot of Bollywood actors have ventured into playback. On the trend of actors turning singers, Javed says, “A film is made for actors and actresses, not for singers. So, if they want to sing the songs that are picturised on them, there’s nothing we can do about it. We can’t tell them not to sing because we want to sing their songs.”

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