By Faridoon Shahryar, IndiaFM
“Main bahut chota insaan hoon, bahut neeche se aaya hoon,” said Himesh Reshammiya as we quizzed him on the media backlash in spite of the historical opening of Aap Ka Surroor (his debut film as an actor) at the Box Office. “I have never claimed that I am a star. I am not a conventional singer, music director or an actor. Everything that is unconventional has worked. Everyone who is against me has a reason. I have come a long way. There is some negativity from 1% of the critics….. hamesha se. Their point of view is…why he? Why Himesh Reshammiya has such kind of success? When the film started, they said 'chalegi nahin', then 'isko dekhne kaun jayega' and then it was 'ki ye singer paagal ho gaya hai',” Himesh said about a film that has stunned one-n-all with its Box Office collections although it was pitted against two biggies in Apne and Awarapan. Over to an IndiaFM exclusive as Himesh Reshammiya talks about the burqa controversy, 'differences' with Sonu Nigam, raaz of his originality, Madhuri Dixit, Koffee with Karan and lots more.
It seemed he had more to say to critics who have panned him with acerbic reviews and at times below the belt comments. We decided to let his energies flow. “I have never planned anything. Things have just happened. I have always said destiny is bigger than talent and God has always helped me; my fans have helped me. Otherwise it is too odd for a music director to turn a singer and get all the awards, and for a singer to do the shows and videos. And now this film opening well and doing well and being called a hit. Something unconventional takes time for people to accept it.”
Why do you think you are criticized for whatever you do by a certain set of people? “I've not been able to silence my critics. That 1% is still against me while 99% people have blessed me. But that 1% has criticized Aashiq Banaya Aapne and my nasal singing. They have not been kind to Aap Ka Surroor but Box Office is showing another picture. The film has done very well commercially. And it has been appreciated by the masses as well as classes who have gone to see stress free entertainment. We had never decided to make an art film like Banaras, which earned critical acclaim but didn't do anything at the Box Office. Aap Ka Surroor was meant for commercial purpose, for entertaining the audience. But that 1% is still against the film. I appreciate them. I want to win them over and Inshallah I will win them one day,” Himesh said.
There are reports that collections of Aap Ka Surroor dropped from Monday while a few other reports have already certified it a hit. “Collections are steady. If collections drop by 10-20% in a multiplex then no film has 100% collections over all days. But what affects me is this attitude of 'Who is Himesh Reshammiya? A TV serial producer turning a music director, then a singer, then doing shows and now being called an actor.' There were some divine blessings, people prayed for me and this happened.”
A few of your critics who had panned your music and singing style earlier, now in the movie review of Aap Ka Surroor said, give me Himesh Reshammiya the music composer-singer any day but not the actor. “As an actor I feel my fans have loved me. And its very important that I satisfy my fans completely. Aap Ka Surroor is a tribute to all my fans. This happened to Sholay, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun and many more films. There are so many films that created Box Office history but were not appreciated by the critics.”
We had put up a video of your first live performance at IIFA, Dubai, 2006 on IndiaFM Broadband. The response was phenomenal and within no time we received over two lac views. There is no doubt that you've excelled as a performer in a short time, so much so that you are also being labeled as India's answer to Michael Jackson. “I don't agree. I am nowhere in comparison with Michael Jackson. I am very thankful that you even thought of it. I'm trying hard. I want to do my best. My fans have blessed me. I'm unconventional but I'm common man's hero. The common man can see the journey of a true lover in me. When I sing a song, compose a tune, then, I feel it from within. I see to it that every word is heartfelt and it reaches everyone who has been in love. It touches that chord somewhere. I feel love is a universal emotion that connects globally.”
Alright, but even the kids seem to love you. Why do they have such a fondness for you? “That is something I really don't know. I say my success is because of God, divine blessings and not talent. There are many more talented people in the industry who should have been more successful but God has been kind. Sameer ji; has used difficult Urdu words like Shab-e-firaq, Mohtarma or Suroor…when the album came out, kids started calling me Suroor Uncle and they sang…tela tela suroor…even Aap Ki Kashish Sarfarosh Hai…now all these hard core Urdu words are being used by kids. It is destiny. God has blessed me with these creative tunes which are purely Raag based and it works with kids as well,” Himesh said.
Madhuri Dixit recently admitted on Koffee with Karan that she and her family is fond of your music. “I'm very happy. I am a very huge fan of Madhuri Dixit ji. She is a legend. I'm really touched that she said those things for me,” a visibly moved Himesh said. There are reports that you would be seen on Koffee with Karan soon. “Yes I will. Karan ji called me. It's my honour and I'm so touched. I would definitely go for his show. I'm so happy.” You've said it in your interviews that you'd like to compose music for Karan Johar's films. Now, would you like to compose music for him or act in his movies? “For Mr Karan Johar or Sanjay Leela Bhansali ji, Farah Khan ji or Yash Chopra ji, Aditya Chopra ji, Sooraj Barjatya ji, I would do anything. I have not got the opportunity to work with them. They are legends. I've been requesting them. I will try my luck again. If I get the chance I will be on top of the world.”
A couple of days before the release of your film, you made it to the front pages of national newspapers clad in a burqa. Would you clarify once and for all, what exactly happened? “I respect Khwaja sahab a lot. I just wanted to offer my prayers. We had informed the security and the committee. They said that you can come but in 10-15 seconds the euphoria was such that we couldn't come out of the car. And the security couldn't handle it. There were around 10, 000 people and we didn't know what to do. Finally, Mr Qutubuddin who is from committee said that you wear a burqa and come as it will be better if you take the blessings. I was very keen on getting the blessings from Khwaja sahib. But I didn't know that I would get involved in a controversy. I didn't want to hurt the sentiments of anybody. I'm really sorry that I did this mistake. I asked for forgiveness from the committee members and they forgave me.”