An artiste’s popularity is set in stone when a day is dedicated to them. In 2010, Ted Strickland, the former governor of Ohio, USA, declared June 26 as ‘Shreya Ghoshal Day’. Ghoshal, who reveals that it is celebrated annually, says, “I never assumed that this would happen. I feel embarrassed and grateful at the same time,” she says, as she talks to HT Café about the fame she has garnered over the years. The ‘Deewani mastani’ (Bajirao Mastani; 2015) singer has come up with her own album in collaboration with Shaan, Shantanu Moitra and Gulzar. Excerpts from the interview:
You started your journey with a music reality television show. How much has that platform helped you in your career?
I have been in this industry since the past 14 years. Due to this [musical] journey, I have a better understanding of the word, ‘music’. But there’s so much to learn because films limit you in many ways. They provide you with a lot of opportunities. However, it’s always within the boundary of a film’s story and with the thought of what will work commercially. The times today are competitive. Films have given me an opportunity to sing varied styles of music. But ek musician ki bhookh hoti hai (every musician is hungry to do more). In today’s time, you get very few opportunities to satisfy that hunger. That’s when independent projects come into the picture. When I take up such projects, I know I’m investing my efforts in doing something that I like.
Watch: Deewani Mastani from Bajirao Mastani
You have achieved immense success over the years. Do you find it hard to handle success at times?
No, not really. I’m a grounded person. That’s why I’m a happy person and not a troubled one. I know my priorities. Today, whatever I have, I may not have tomorrow. I lead my life with that mantra and do things that make me happy. I feel uncomfortable easily when I’m asked to do things that I don’t wish to do. If it is morally incorrect or goes against my ideology, I don’t do it. My choices are simple. All the love I receive from people is because of that.
Watch: A live performance by Shreya Ghoshal
From ‘Chikni chameli’ (Agneepath; 2011) to ‘Deewani mastani’ — you have sung songs that belong to various genres. It must be challenging to switch from one style to another…
I experience a lot of joy in switching genres, as I am a restless person. I am not too choosy and have an affinity towards music that is new and refreshing. For me, switching genres in film music is more than welcome. Usually, Bollywood songs are made on the basis of the trends that are being followed. Every year or two, a trend is set and the same kind of music is created. Then, film music gets monotonous. Nothing satisfies a singer more than working on a personal project.
You have collaborated with Shaan, Shantanu Moitra and Gulzar for your latest album. How has the experience been?
This is truly one of those projects that every artiste dreams of. We have translated some of Rabindranath Tagore’s poems for the project. Tagore was a poet who should be celebrated nationally. I think it’s time that the new generation understands this.
Watch: Chikni Chameli from Agneepath
Despite heavy competition in the music industry, several artistes are collaborating for projects…
Yes, but most of the collaborations are happening on the film front [and not with independent music]. When it comes to film music, collaborations don’t always take place because two artistes want to work together. Most of the times, the music composers and film producers decide these collaborations. More often than not, they are put together to make a project commercially more successful or marketable.