Kumar Sanu’s career, as a Bollywood playback singer, started over 25 years ago. He has sung several chartbusters like ‘Dheere dheere se’ (Aashiqui; 1990), ‘Mera dil bhi kitna pagal hai’ (Saajan; 1991), ‘Dil hai ke manta nahin’ (Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin; 1991), ‘Teri umeed tera intezar’ (Deewana; 1992), ‘Yeh kaali kaali aankhen’ (Baazigar; 1993), ‘Chura ke dil mera’ (Main Khiladi Tu Anari; 1994), ‘Tujhe dekha to’ (Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge; 1995) and ‘Do dil mil rahe hain’ (Pardes; 1997), among others.
Reminiscing about his journey in the industry, the singer, who turned 58 this week (on October 20), says, “My journey has been great. I managed to make an identity as a playback singer in the industry; I thought I’ll never be able to do that. I am thankful to my fans and to God for helping me gain recognition in the industry.”
Kumar Sanu’s hit song Bas Ek Sanam from Aashiqui
Of late, many of his hits have been covered or remixed by other artistes. But the singer has no objections whatsoever. “I like to listen to my songs in their style,” he says, adding that he also likes the current state of Bollywood music. “I think the songs are marketed really well today. Also, there are newer kinds of songs, in different genres. I am only concerned about the fact that the tracks are very short-lived nowadays. Most of them don’t sustain for more than a week. Maybe that’s because the number of songs coming out is so large that the listeners get bored, and switch to a new song whenever they can,” says the singer.
Ask him what he misses about the music of the ’90s, and Sanu says, “I think the kind of togetherness and understanding between music directors and singers, and between producers and directors, is not the same anymore. Now, it’s all too professional. Also, while today’s music is good, I miss the melody and lyrics of the earlier times.”
Best of Kumar Sanu and Alka Yagnik
Sanu, who doesn’t sing a lot of Bollywood songs these days, prefers spending time with his family now. Is there any aspiration, as an artiste, that is yet to be fulfilled? “I still feel I need to improve as a singer, and do more riyaaz (practise). I want to sing some more classical tracks; something similar to what I did in films like Virasat (1997),” says the singer, who is also interested in acting in Bollywood. “I did a cameo in Dum Laga Ke Haisha. If I get good Bollywood offers, I would love to act,” he adds.