Whether it is ‘Saturday Saturday’ (Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania; 2014), ‘Abhi toh party shuru hui hai’ (Khoobsurat; 2014) or ‘Selfie le le re’ (Bajrangi Bhaijaan; 2015), Badshah’s name is synonymous with chartbusters. His single, ‘DJ waley babu’, also became popular soon after its release. Here, the rapper talks about his love for independent music, his wish to produce films, and more.
Singers often want their songs to be picturised on big Bollywood stars. How does it feel that your latest song, ‘Baby ko bass pasand hai’, features Salman Khan?
I couldn’t ask for more. I was lucky to receive the chance to work with him in the past too. We worked on the song, ‘Selfie le le re’, together. I am thankful to Vishal-Shekhar for giving me this song.
In an interview, you had said that you never wanted to join Bollywood...
What I meant was that I’m more comfortable with independent music, not that I never wanted to be part of Bollywood. I am comfortable doing independent music; it gives me more freedom as an artiste. I enjoy that more than being given a brief to work with.
But doesn’t Bollywood provide artistes with a larger reach?
Bollywood gives you an immense reach. The stars have a huge fan base. The amount spent on promoting a film is incredible. To be part of such productions, in some way or the other, is a blessing for any artiste. But independent music lets you experiment. It gives you more space and opportunities.
What has contributed to your success?
The love and support of my fans. Also, when I was busy with my work, my family understood [me]. Though I have a bigger studio and a bigger car now, I still work as hard as I used to.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
The image that was formed of me. I am an artiste. I have a lot of perspectives that I want to showcase. I am reserved; I don’t speak much. I can’t deal with the attention. But my public image is such that I will never be offered a sad song with, maybe, Arijit Singh (singer). It is not the industry’s fault; my image is such.
Do you want to break away from your image?
I don’t want to break away. I just want to be able to do what I want to do.
Recently, a controversy erupted when Arijit apologised to Salman on Facebook. He even requested the actor to not delete his song from his upcoming film. Is Bollywood a vulnerable place for established artistes?
Bollywood is just like any other industry. It is just that people in this industry are constantly in the public eye. Everybody knows what’s happening. I respect Arijit for coming out and speaking his mind. I met him briefly, and he came across as a humble guy. However, I don’t know what the real feud or issue was. Whatever it is, I’m sure Salman bhai, who is known to have a big heart, will get it sorted out.
Many believe that the quality of lyrics has gone down nowadays. What is your opinion?
Opinions are subjective. Everyone has their own taste. The popular public opinion is this [that the quality has deteriorated], but I don’t think it is the case. At the end of the day, we are here to entertain, and people enjoy what we are coming out with. We do our social duties too. For instance, I made a song, ‘Bandook’, which was about karma, and ‘Pinjara’, which was about caste-based killings. I recently wrote a song on female foeticide too. So, it’s about what you choose to listen to.
What else is on your plate?
I co-produced a Punjabi film, Ardaas, which released earlier this year. It was about how if you do good, good things come your way. I want to produce more such films, apart from [working on] my music.
You work on multiple Bollywood music projects. do you get enough time to work on your singles?
I work on my singles and my own sound simultaneously. I should be able to release my new album next month. At the same time, I like working on Bollywood music. The industry has been kind to me. It gives me the opportunity to have a greater reach, and to inspire other artistes to work hard.
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