Sonu Nigam says TV channels can’t afford him now

Singer-actor-anchor Sonu Nigam, who has been a popular figure on music reality shows, says today the television channels don’t have the budget to hire him.

music Updated: Jun 19, 2018 12:37 IST
Henna Rakheja
Henna Rakheja
Hindustan Times
Sonu Nigam,Rality Show,Music
Singer-actor Sonu Nigam, who has completed 40 years in the industry, says he doesn’t mind taking up reality music shows on TV.

From the time of the iconic Sa Re Ga Ma to the Gen Y appealing Indian Idol, one artist who has upped the game of musical reality shows on television, singer-actor-anchor Sonu Nigam says he is no longer seen on TV not because he doesn’t want to, but because the channels don’t have the budgets to hire him.

In a candid chat, Nigam — who started singing at the age of four and has completed 40 years in the industry — says he didn’t move out of the reality TV space because of having experienced a lot in the realm. “The clear objective fact is that the channels can’t afford me. That’s it. They do come to me, but when they hear the price, they have to shy away and go back. So that’s the main reason I don’t do television. It’s a fact, a professional decision. They don’t have budgets these days. The GEC channels are going through a very rough patch, so they can only afford judges who are on a medium level.”

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“I have been with Indian Idol. They have been sensible and good. Last year they could pay me, this year they can’t so they had to obviously excuse themselves out.” —Sonu Nigam

If given an option, Nigam doesn’t mind doing a music reality show again. “I have been with Indian Idol. They have been sensible and good. Last year they could pay me, this year they can’t so they had to obviously excuse themselves out. Before that I have done X Factor, that was also a very good show but it was a little too expensive for them to sustain. So I like to associate with sensible people, sensible co-judges and I don’t like to participate in a musical reality show and make a mockery out of music. I make sure that the genuineness of whatever I am doing is maintained,” he says.

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Being one of the few Indian artists who have collaborated with western artists such as DJ Avicii and DJ Kshmr, Nigam says, “Indians are non-patronising to such collaborations.” He says his song, Indian Levels — which was produced by Avicii in 2012 — was looked down upon because Nigam isn’t an EDM artist. “All the EDM fanatics ganged up against me [saying] ‘Sonu Nigam kyun kar raha hai, humko karna chahiye tha (Why is Sonu Nigam doing a song with Avicii, we should have done it). It’s a f*** all song’. That’s unfair, and I feel this is typical Indian mentality. Woh ‘crap mentality’ bolte hain na humare India me. If somebody is doing something good, instead of hailing your own countryman [for] working with Avicii or Britney Spears or (American singer) Jermaine Jackson, they indulge in making filth out of it. And because of that, Avicii never came back to India. If they had promoted my collaboration [and] been a little open-minded, Avicii would have done something else with probably Sunidhi (Chauhan) or Shreya (Ghoshal) or Benny Dayal. But when you do not encourage your own countrymen who are doing something so reputed, you are killing your own chances [too],” adds Nigam.

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First Published: Jun 19, 2018 12:36 IST