How does it feel to complete 26 years in the industry?
Exciting. The industry has been good to me. I’ve had great teachers. I’ve learnt a lot here. Every day has been a new experience.
Isn’t it a strange condolence that your son Siddhant is getting into music now?
Yes it is, but as a father I’m proud of him. Siddhant is making his debut in a Marathi film under composer Anil Mohile. My entire family is connected to art..my wife Hema is a pianist, my father-in-law Ashok Kumar Saraf was the owner of Melody Makers. My daughter paints.
Were you skeptical about your son?
Nope. I wasn’t against him pursuing singing. I wanted him to begin his career sensibly, rather than hastily. He’s 13. He is learning classical music. I didn’t want him to figure on reality shows. I don’t support the concept. I don’t mind if he wants to cut his own album or if wants to playback.
Why are you against reality shows?
Such shows only garner TRPs. The organisers don’t care about the kids.. winners behave like Michael Jackson and Mohammad Rafi. They can’t take failure.. and that element of jealousy shows.
Was becoming Amitabh Bachchan’s voice a boon or a bane?
Most definitely a bane! Mr Amitabh Bachchan is my inspiration. I always wanted to imitate him. I used to practise till I got his voice right. I used to sing Rang barse on stage often. Everyone was amazed at the way I imitated him.
How did you start singing for him?
Laxmikant-Pyarelal had heard me singing. They often called me to the recording studios. They called me to Mehboob studio to record my voice for a film. Excited, I ran to the studio without knowing the details of the song. When I reached the studio, I found I had to sing for Amitabhji. Laxmikant Pyarelal were quite impressed with me. They made me sing more songs for him.
There was a controversy over Bappi Lahiri claiming that he is the voice of Amitabh Bachchan.
Actually today, we’re both singing for Bhoothnath. He has sung for Mithun Chakraborty and I for Amitabhji.
Which is your favourite Bachchan song?
I love Jumma chumma from Hum. It established me as a playback singer. I also like Meri makhna from Baghban, Sona sona from Major Saab and Shava shava from Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham. Jaya Bachchan and Abhishek were present for the recording of Meri makhna. Abhishek told me, “This is the best song you have sung for pa.”
It’s said that you designed your house in Goregaon and you’re also designing holiday homes.
Yes. I guess it’s a part of my creativity. I was always interested in interior designing. My father designed the house and the building we live in. I was interested in construction. I always wanted to own a bungalow by the river or by the seaside. I’m a nature lover. Few of my architect friends and I decided to try our hands at interiors. The response has been good.
Any last words?
Nothing except even now composers offer me only Amitabh Bachchan’s songs. I am his voice..but my identity as a singer is lost.