The man who stole our hearts in the 1990s with his scintillating voice is all set to mesmerise music lovers once again. Kumar Sanu, the phenomenon who once ruled Bollywood’s playback singing circuit, is back with an album titled ‘K Tere Bin’. Sanu was at the Zee News office in Noida to be a part of an initiative called Jazba Soch Ka, that celebrates iconic personalities of the country. In a freewheeling chat with Zeenews.com’s Mimansa Malik and Gayatri Sankar, Kumar Sanu spoke about his future plans, present day music and lots more:
Here are excerpts from the interview:
Congratulations on your new album ‘K Tere Bin’. Let’s begin with the beginning. How did you choose music as your profession?
Well, I come from a musical family of Bengal. My father Pashupati Bhattacharya was in this line. He was a vocalist and composer. So, from the very childhood, I was interested in music and followed music. He taught me singing and playing the tabla.
Later, when I decided to pursue music as a profession, I moved to Mumbai.
How did you get your first break?
I often used to do small numbers or sing songs of other well known singers in studios. One day, Shri Jagjit Singh happened to visit one of the studios where I was singing. He heard me and enquired about who I was.
When people told him that I was a young lad from Bengal who had come to Bollywood to try his luck, he asked someone to call me.
He gave me his phone number and told me to contact him the next morning.
Before I knew it, he had given me a break and got me signed for my first film. Though the movie did not get released eventually, my voice got noticed.
Soon, I got a movie where I had to sing for Amitabh Bachchan, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Any assignment that was really special?
I would have to say the movie ‘Aashiqui’. All ten songs of film were super hits. (hums a few lines). To me that was very special.
And now you got the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to release your album. That’s another feather in your hat.
Oh! It was a great moment. Pranab da stays miles away from Bollywood. This is the first time he has got associated with anything from the film industry. It’s a great first for me.
His wife says that he either listens to Rabindrasangeet or to my songs. It’s a huge honour for me.
Tell us about your album. What does ‘K’ in title stand for?
My album is a good mix of melodious songs. But it also features peppy numbers.
The ‘K’ in the album stands for two things. First, ‘K Tere Bin’ is just an expression in Hindi, a form of speech.
The other, as you would be able to guess, K means Kumar Sanu.
What’s your take on the present generation’s Bollywood music?
There is lack of melody in today’s music. Not that the songs composed today aren’t good enough, but they will not be able to leave an impact on the listeners’ mind for long. Moreover, anyone can become a singer now. There is a lack of depth in the songs that are being composed these days. They are catchy, no doubt, but the soul is missing. They don’t touch the heart.
You have made it to the Guinness Book of World record for recording the maximum number of songs in a single day. Do you think anyone will be able to break your record of recording 28 songs back to back?
I really don’t think so. And if anyone succeeds in doing so, I would salute him.
Music directors now have technical aid to make singers sound better. But in the earlier days you had to record songs live with the musicians. What do you feel about the technical advancement?
Unfortunately, singers don’t have their own individuality these days. Earlier, one could instantly point out that so and so is singing, the moment we heard a song. But these days, they all sound the same. So a singer’s identity is lost. A non-singer can also become a singer, thanks to technology.
Why have you been missing from the Bollywood playback circuit for a while?
I was not being able to find soulful songs to sing. I was not able to relate with the kind of music that is being composed these days. So I had been recording songs for regional movies – Bhojpuri, Marathi, Bengali and even Tamil.
I am also coming up with a three-album pack for Durga Puja in Bengali. In fact, I have just flown in from Kolkata. Two albums are ready. I would be going back for the third.
Meanwhile, I am also back in Bollywood. I have sung one song “Chamak Chalo Chail Chabili’ for the recently released film ‘Rowdy Rathore’, which has become very popular. You can look forward to a number of other melodious numbers, which will be released shortly.
Who would you like to work with from the modern generation of music directors?
I would like to work with Shantanu Moitra, Sajid-Wajid, Kashi and a number of other music composers who have the ability to produce songs that can touch the heart. And I would also like to work with Anu Malik, with whom I have delivered chartbusters earlier. He is one fine musician.
You were initially compared with Kishore Kumar. Did you copy his style deliberately? And was there any pressure?
Yes, Kishore Kumar inspired me, but there was no pressure. I used to copy his style initially. In fact, with whatever little money I made, I used go to a studio and record songs of famous singers, mostly of Kishore Kumar. But this was not particularly unusual. All great singers copy someone else in the initial stages. For example Lata ji used to copy Noorjehan.
The point is that you should not stay at that level. After following the footsteps of the greats, each singer must carve out his own identity, else he will perish.
Despite comparisons, I too was able to carve a niche for myself and create my unique identity. And slowly, I am glad that I was able to get rid of that tag and be what I am today- Kumar Sanu.
Having said that, I would add humbly that the people who’d thought that I could equal Kishore da might not have been in their senses. It’s insane to even think that I could match him.
How would you define your style?
My style is simple. It is out and out melody.
Your message for your fans.
I would like all my fans to keep loving me and supporting me forever. You will get to hear my latest songs very soon and I am sure you’ll love them. Wherever there is melody, you will find me.