With Mere angne mein, Amitabh Bachchan successfully conquered yet another bastion of Bollywood – singing. But even to this day, if a musician requests him to sing just for the experience, the actor has no qualms obliging.
Recently, Bachchan collaborated with Kailash Kher on the sets of Kaun Banega Crorepati on a song that Kher penned exclusively for the show. Titled Dharti pe jannat ka nazara, the track speaks about a common man’s grandiose perceptions of Mumbai and, by extension, his expectations from the show. The sequence featuring the duo is part of the introductory segment, and will be aired on one of the episodes in the coming week.
While writing the song, Kher wanted to capture the frenzy that accompanied Bachchan’s welcome line in all the three seasons that the actor has hosted. "His stylish greeting at the beginning of every episode was unique and became extremely popular among viewers. The way people came to develop a fondness for his voice inspired me to write the song," Kher says.
Bachchan forayed into singing with the 1979 film, The Great Gambler. Ever since, he has sung playback for many of his movies; performed live with Lata Mangeshkar and Kalyanji-Anandji, among other musicians, and has even cut an album with Bally Sagoo. However, he still shies away from being termed as a singer. "I believe an actor should be able to do all sorts of things – sing, romance, fight, dance, ride a horse. If that isn’t the case, your performance graph just goes down," he says.
Dharti pe jannat ka nazara was recorded last week at the Kailasa studio in Andheri. After the recording, Bachchan also spoke about the Hanuman Chalisa album that he has collaborated on with Aadesh Srivastava and other singers. The actor is still taking on singing assignments, but it’s hard for him to name a favourite from the songs he’s sung. “I only sing for fun. These days they have all this great equipment, which makes even the worst singer sound good. That’s why I do it,” he says.
Besides mainstream music and live performances, few know that Bachchan has also sung Hindi folk songs or thumris written by his father, poet Harivanshrai Bachchan. “I’ve sung the thumri and lok geet during my father’s times. Those were songs that he composed,” Bachchan says. Kher hopes to collaborate with him again soon. “I only wish I could sing a thumri with him someday,” he says.
Bachchan’s hit list
Laawaaris (1981): Mere Angane Mein
Baghban (2003): Main Jahan Bhi Rahoon
Naseeb (1981): Chal Mere Bhai
Mr Natwarlal (1979): Mere Paas Aao Mere Doston
Main Azaad Hoon (1989): Itne Baazoo
Eer Bir Phatte (1996) With Bally Sagoo