Why were you miffed with the format of Amul Voice Of India 2?
Actually, I was surprised and shocked. When I was initially told about the 50-50 format, I imagined a different sequence of things. But the format changed. The audience poll took precedence over the judges’ decision.
So, we lost a couple of good contenders to undeserving ones. Now, the judges have been given the power to bring back the two eliminated singers as wild card entries. So, now we’ll have better singers on the show.
Several media reports claimed that you were not at all affected by Ishmeet Singh’s death.
What rubbish! I think the press can be insensitive. I was in a state of shock when I heard that the 19-year-old whom I had connected with as a friend and younger brother was no more. It shook me. And then, suddenly it’s raining phone calls to ask me about my opinion about his passing away. How can anyone speak in that state? It took me a few days to get out of it. I paid my condolences after that.
Do you think anchoring music shows has become a hot alternative profession with singers?
Music has become visible now. Sonu Niigaam was the first one who started anchoring, I’m doing it and now the younger lot like Abhas Joshi and Aditya Narayan are doing it quite well too. But I don’t think it’s an alternative profession for singers. If three out of 3,000 singers do it, you can’t say it’s a trend.
Sonu Niigaam is the highest paid singer. Right?
(Smiles) Well, I’m not the highest paid singer anyway. Really, I don’t earn that kind of money. I don’t know what anyone’s fee is. All of us charge a certain amount but most of us reduce it or even sing for free for small films and composers. I sing for everyone who approaches me.
Do singers from reality shows really have a future?
Yeah, they do. I see most of the 20-somethings driving their own cars. They are earning already through live shows. They’re globetrotting. Isn’t that a sign of prosperity? But at times, the attitude of these singers brings them down. They all have a chip on their shoulders. They mistake popularity for success.
Why have you sung for the animation film Cheenti Cheenti Bang Bang when such movies or their soundtracks don’t work?
I think the Hanuman series worked with the kids. The songs were quite popular. These movies are brave attempts to compete with the west. I sang for Cheenti Cheenti because I got to work with Nida Fazli after years. I love his poetry.
The CD of Ek Vivah Aisa Bhi has been in the market for nearly three weeks but there’s been no buzz about it.
Well, it takes time for such albums to grow. They don’t have those typical Hinglish dance tracks, which catch on quickly. I’ve sung all the six songs. I’m sure the reaction will be quite positive. I took up the project because it gave me a break from monotony.
Have you been getting acting offers of late?
Loads.. many of them came from Bengali movies. I’m not desperate to prove my acting capabilities. Some say, “Anyone can become an actor.” Sorry, I disagree with that.
Why haven’t you cut a private album in nearly six-seven years?
It’s really embarrassing to push companies to do a private album with me.
What’s the update on your sister Sagarika?
She’s setting up her house in London. After that, she will focus on her singing career.
What about your sons?
They sing fabulously though I’ll never force them to do this full-time. I didn’t go through any training and I’m still doing okay. I don’t want them to become child prodigies. That they grow up normally is extremely important.
Durga puja is a few days away. Any plans?
We don’t do extravagant things at home. Somewhere down the week, Radhika and I will buy our kids their traditional clothes for the festival. The sariwalla comes home. So, mum and Radhika don’t go shopping outside.