‘Akshay Kumar told me not to become a producer, said you will become a struggler from a star’: Mika Singh
Singer Mika has debuted as a producer with the web show Dangerous and has been on a steep learning curve. He says Akshay Kumar warned him off when he decided to venture into this field, but it was the actor’s advice that finally stood him in good stead.
After working with Karan Singh Grover and Bipasha Basu on the project, he has now decided to either work with only top actors or newcomers in his next venture. In an interview with Hindustan Times, the actor-producer said he had to rush from India to London to control the situation, which went out of hand on the very first day of the shoot. Excerpts:
Tell us about your debut in production, Dangerous.
We shot the entire web series in London. The main motive has never been earning money. I am earning enough money by God’s grace. There was a time I rode a second-hand bicycle which cost Rs 300, and today God has given me a lot.
My main motive was to give chance to young artists, especially singers, composers and writers. I didn’t want to produce a big-budget film and decided to cast Karan Singh Grover. Bipasha also wanted to be a part of the show and their team thought the two will look together on the show. There are Suyyush Rai, Sonali Raut and Natasha Suri as well. I am also very particular about giving good music whenever I produce a project. There are four songs in the series. Payal Dev has sung and composed the first song. Sharib Toshi has done amazing job in composing. Iulia Vantur has also sung a song as I wanted a western voice.
I want to share an interesting episode. When I was producing this, I met Akshay paaji (Akshay Kumar) in Thailand. He asked me ‘I heard that you have become a producer’. I said ‘Yes’. He instantly said ‘Which donkey made you a producer? Do you know what is the meaning of a producer? It is gadha (donkey)’.
He said producer is the one who pays the actor as well as knocks on the vanity van and asks ‘mam, may I come’. If an actor is big and renowned, that’s fine but what if the actor is not that big and you are standing in front of the vanity and knock to ask ‘mam, can I come?’ He said, ‘Brother, you have gone mad, don’t do this.You will turn from a star to a struggler’. Salman Khan gave me a go-ahead.
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Any memories worth sharing from the making of the show?
On the first day in London, Bipasha didn’t have her breakfast. I think she forgot and she straightaway went to the sets. She is a person who follows a strict diet. When she didn’t get to eat anything, she started shouting at everyone on the first day on the sets. I was in India at the time. I got a phone call about the matter. I have spent money so I was a bit tense. Somehow, I managed to get things under control.
My director Bhushan Patel is so cute. Be it car, luxury room in a five-star hotel and hospitality, I arranged everything for him. All he complained about was not getting butter chicken there. After all the drama, I reached London. I thank Akshay paaji for his advice and did as he said.
I stopped my one-month work and went there to see what exactly was happening. I can say this confidently that I am a bigger star than all of them. I am happy that our work went about smoothly. Bipasha was punctual and she used to reach sets on time. Karan was punctual too. In the end, the product is good but there were a lot chaos.
After a tough experience, are you open to producing again?
I don’t like to fool anyone. I just work. I will again produce a film but will probably get top actors or newcomers next time. It is very difficult to handle those at the middle-level.
Your views on the outsider-insider debate.
It doesn’t matter. I want to request to audience and actors -- I made a film (Dangerous was made as a film but was released in the form of a 7-part series on MX Player). I am newcomer as a producer. If this project was produced by Karan Johar or Sanjay Leela Bansali and had taken same actors and would have given them the role of a watchman, then their reaction would be ‘Thank you, Karan, Thank you, Sanjay sir’. I think a new producer should also be thanked the way big producers are. I think the credit is given to those who are dominating this industry. I gave chance to three newcomers. I will also tell them they should be thankful for the support.
Everyone gets a chance in Mumbai. I was not even a good singer but I got a chance. I don’t think there is any Mumbai gang. You take the examples of Guru Randhawa, Honey Singh, Badshah, B Praak -- everybody has achieved success.
What kept you busy during lockdown?
I can challenge I am the only one from the industry who was working during the lockdown. I am happy I worked while others sat idle. I have made two songs during the lockdown: Quarantine Love and worked on Rafi sahab’s Tum jo mil gye ho. I have done riyaz and focussed on my fitness in this period. I have become pretty thin now (laughs).
I am working religiously with my NGO – Divine Touch. We have been arranging food for the poor from the past four months. We provide food to over 1000 people every day and have distributed more than 5000 masks and sanitisers. I want to thank my team in Delhi and Gurugram for all their efforts. My ultimate aim is to provide food to people at least till the time of the lockdown.
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