It's been eight years since you quit Sa Re Ga Ma. How does it feel to be back as a judge on Sa Re Ga Ma Pa
In 1995 when I used to host it, Sa Re Ga Ma was just a baby. Now it's all grown up. They've even added a ‘Pa' to the name, it's been spoilt a little. (Smiles) But now I'm back to straighten up my baby .
Has the show changed much?
It has, but the soul remains the same.
Tell me honestly, why did you come back?
(Winks) Honestly because I struck a good deal! No seriously, we're always cribbing about the music industry not doing well. It was time someone did something. <b1>
So why quit in the first place?
Sa Re Ga Ma made me a household name but after five years it was getting monotonous. I wanted out.
The buzz is that you quit.. following differences with the former producer Gajendrra Singh.
I wouldn't say differences, but yes, the situation did get a little uncomfortable. It's better now.
Isn't there an overdose of reality shows today?
Probably, but see how well they're all doing! The top shows on TV today are musical reality shows. There are so many aspiring singers in our country. Some of them are better than so many of us. Such shows are essential to give them a platform.
But the really talented ones are evicted before the grand finale. The public voting system can be quite unfair.
Really? I don't see anything wrong about the public deciding the winner. As for it being unfair, well, life is unfair!
Why weren't you seen in Indian Idol 3 as a judge?
I had no time. They started shooting for it late. I wanted to be in the US for my son's birth. I didn't even have the time to watch it.
The winners of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa are doing better for themselves than those on Indian Idol. Right?
No, Abhijeet Sawant is good. Both his albums have done well. I just wish Idol would include a classical music round. Anyone can perform Mera dil gaayega zu zu.. whatever. But that doesn't say anything about their singing power.
Did you follow Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2007?
I saw a few episodes. I was disgusted with the mind games everyone was playing. There's no need for this gharana system.
Thankfully Li'l Champs hasn't incorporated this concept. When I was approached, I made it clear that I wouldn't get into catfights with anyone during the show. God, the things these channels make us do for more TRPs.
Any plans to return to acting?
Right now, no. I have no plans to do a movie. But there's this script I've been sitting on for six years. I'll take a decision next year.
And how's your son, Nevaan doing?
Nevaan is all of three months old. (Laughs) Pretty old, na?