'Didn't want to break the image that my audience loved'
In the early '80s, when she joined the Hindi film industry, she happened to see a performance by legendary singer Gurdas Maan. That was her introduction to Punjabi music. "Though I'm a Punjaban, I never found a very deep connection with Punjabi music earlier, despite the fact that my mother used to listen to Surinder Kaur very often.Updated: Feb 27, 2014 09:38 IST
In the early '80s, when she joined the Hindi film industry, she happened to see a performance by legendary singer Gurdas Maan. That was her introduction to Punjabi music. "Though I'm a Punjaban, I never found a very deep connection with Punjabi music earlier, despite the fact that my mother used to listen to Surinder Kaur very often. There was, however, something about the music that I wanted to explore," says she. Here, we are referring to a time when her debut film, Nadiya Ke Paar, made her an overnight star. This was the time when veteran actor of Hindi cinema, Sadhna Singh, saw the world around her go upside down with just the release of her first film.
As the years progressed, music took a back seat and so did the need to explore. "Accidentally, for the past one-and-half years, there has been a sudden inclination towards Punjabi and Sufi music all over the country. In the past year, I have listened to singers I'd never heard of before -- Waris Shah, Shiv Kumar Batalvi, Nooran sisters, Hans Raj Hans - and I found that deep connection I was looking for. Through the internet, I also got to know about an annual mela at Nakodar," says Singh.
Her connection with music, however, run so deep that he was incidentally offered the role of Bibi Saroop, a Sufi singer, for musical film Jugni. "Initially, Shefali (the director) met me for some work, but the moment she saw me, she knew I'd play Bibi Saroop's character. While listening to the script, I was sure in my heart that I'd do justice to the character. Since I am a singer myself, I established a connection with the character immediately," says Singh, who was in town recently to shoot for Jugni.
Calling herself a self-taught singer, Singh shows us a video of a song recording, her next project with record label Sa Re Ga Ma. "With a few music director friends of mine, I recorded some old Hindi songs in a my own style. By adding musical elements such as the guitar and saxophone, we recorded some songs that Sa Re Ga Ma liked and agreed to release," says she.
Are they remixes? "No, they aren't. You can call them my interpretation of these songs. This way, one can protect the legacy of old numbers too. Soon, three songs will be launched on YouTube."
When in Punjab, Singh also seems to be completely in love with state. "A few days ago, when I went back to Mumbai from Jugni's shoot, I was only talking about Punjab. The simplicity of the place is what has won my heart," shares Singh, who has shot here earlier in 2008 for Ekta Kapoor's Kis Desh Mein Hai Mera Dil and in 2005 for Bollywood film Shaheed-E-Azam.
You wonder what held her back from doing more projects after establishing her self in the industry in 1982. "I never came to Mumbai to become an actor. My sister, Surinder Kaur, was doing a classical dance film with Rajshree Productions; I came to meet her. I was very tomboyish and the moment the director saw me, he knew I was his heroine for Nadiya Ke Paar," says she and adds, "I have seen the manifolds of success -- from a lathi charge on people who wanted to meet me to police protecting me from crowd -- I have seen it all. It was this love that I received from the audience that made me fearful of experimentation. I was anxious about my fans' reaction about me playing any other character than the village girl, Gunja, whom they saw in Nadiya Ke Paar. I didn't want to break the image that my audience was in love with."
First Published: Feb 27, 2014 09:35 IST