Kumar Sanu on reality shows like Indian Idol: 'More gossip gets higher TRPs, samjha karo'

Jun 22, 2021 11:34 PM IST

Kumar Sanu has shared his views on singing reality shows, how the music industry has changed since the 90s, and more in an exclusive interview.

Kumar Sanu, who ruled Bollywood playback singing in the 90s, has said that singing reality shows like Indian Idol offer a platform for talent to be discovered. However, he also added that it is the responsibility of musicians to offer work to the deserving contestants.

Kumar Sanu on reality shows like Indian Idol.
Kumar Sanu on reality shows like Indian Idol.

In an exclusive interview with Hindustan Times, Kumar Sanu opened up on how the music industry has changed over the years - in terms of production, quality of music, and how singers are treated. Here is an excerpt:

There is a lot of discussion around singing reality shows like Indian Idol. Do you think they play any role in nurturing talent?

Jitna gossip hoga, utna TRP badhega, samjha karo. Badi baat nahi hai (The more the gossip, the better will be the TRP. Please understand. It is no big deal).

Talent finds a way and these shows bring the talent to the fore, but what next? Not just Indian Idol, every show brings such talent to public platform. Maybe they do not get a chance in the industry, they may get a chance to get some work and money.

It is the responsibility of producers, music directors to offer work to them. Many singers are there, they are talented but someone needs to give them work. These shows work to bring the talent to the limelight, and industry people need to offer them work.

How has the quality of music changed? Has the approach of filmmakers towards music changed over the years?

The style of singing has changed. Directors now want us to sing in a certain way while earlier we could sing in our own style.

We have become technically upgraded but the soul of the yesteryear music is missing. I talk about 90s, that is missing. So many films were musical hits earlier. Now, the focus and development is on sounds while the soul is missing. I would want it to be a priority that producers maintain soul of the songs.

Has there been a change in how singers are treated?

Personally, I have always been treated with respect. However, I have seen few things around me. Overall, the respect for singers has gone down. Not that people behave badly with them. In the sense, nowadays, the same song is being sung by many singers and the producers chose one among those voices. I believe that is a disrespect to singers. It happens when the music producer, director or creator does not have confidence in himself. Now, no singer is sure after recording a song, whether his/her version will be the final one to be retained.

Do you want to talk about your struggles in the industry?

When I came to Bombay, I sang in hotels. Jagjit Singh ji found me, Kalyanji Anandji gave me the break and Gulshan Kumar was the first one to introduce me publicly.

What are the troubles that singers face in the industry?

Politics is everywhere, even in our industry. I never indulged in it. I kept to myself and only concentrated on my work. I tried my best to ensure that whatever work I am given, I give it my best.

You once recorded 28 songs in a day. Tell us about it.

In 1993, I was going for a 40-day tour in America when producers got to know. Everyone wanted that I should record their song before leaving. I decided I will go to my Juhu Tara studio and record them one by one. I did not know it would be a record. I just kept recording the entire day.

In Dum Laga Ke Haisha, you replaced Lata Mangeshkar for the logo sound of Yash Raj Films.

I was surprised as well. Perhaps (they used it) just for the film. Who am I? No one on this earth can replace Lata ji. I guess people enjoyed it and it was a great opportunity for me.

How do you see yourself as a politician? You have this track of joining, resigning and then again joining a political party.

Politician? Joining resigning kuch nahi (Nothing like it). The thing is, I run three schools for kids, I do not have any NGO or anything but I use money from my songs to run it. I thought I'd use the MP quota funds for schools for the homeless kids whom we see on the streets. There are so many kids working in roadside dhabas and small shops. They need education and I believed I could do something for them.

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My three schools continue to run, at least I am doing something. I joined the party (BJP) with that aim. Usike chakkar me join kiya, waha pata chala ki aisa kuch nahi hoga to resign kr diya. Kabhi koi party join karunga hi nahi, koi party nahi, koi party nahi (That is why I joined. After going there, I realised nothing was going to happen so I resigned. Won't join a party ever again, not any party). You need to understand the games of politics to survive.

Will you share what's on your playlist these days?

Please write from your side. I don't know. I do not listen to new songs.

You may share any song that you are listening to. Maybe something from 70s, 80s or 90s. Maybe your own songs?

Okay, my own songs? Ab Tere Bin (Aashiqui), Do Dil Mil Rahe Hain (Pardes), Jab Koi Baat Bigad Jae (Jurm), Kuch Na Kaho (1942 A Love Story) and Naraaz Savera Hai (Sangharsh).

Get more updates from Bollywood, Hollywood, Musicand Web Seriesalong with Latest Entertainment Newsat Hindustan Times.

    Sweta Kaushal has 13 years of experience covering Bollywood and regional movies, TV shows, national current affairs and social issues.

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