By Ruchika Kher
Mumbai, July 18 (IANS) There was a time when he was the voice behind every other hit Bollywood song, but now Sonu Niigaam says he wants to chart a new course. He's working on a musical project in the US and judging a children's show aimed at bringing Indian and Pakistani children together through music.
"I want to do something different now. I recently came back from Los Angeles. I am working on a musical project there," Sonu told IANS in an interview, explaining his irregular presence in the film world.
"In India everybody knows me, I have a name here but in America they don't know me so well. So there is a song that I want to release in America. I'm just seeing if I can facilitate the release over there...currently I'm busy with that.
"Working on a few other collaborations as well, but won't be able to reveal details just yet," added Sonu, who is known for chartbusters like "Sandese aate hain" ("Border"), "Yeh Dil" ("Pardes"), "Kal ho naa ho" ("Kal Ho Naa Ho") and "Saathiya".
Sonu gained popularity as a host for music show "Sa Re Ga Ma Pa" in the 1990s and he is now set to return to the small screen -- this time as a judge.
The singer will be judging music reality show "Chhote Ustaad 2", which will feature 10 children from India and 10 from Pakistan, along with Pakistani singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.
"I did get offers for shows earlier too, but I didn't like them too much. This one is more musically inclined and also spreads a wonderful message of love and peace across the border," Sonu said.
The show will air on STAR Plus from July 24.
"Children have an impressionable mind; so inculcating positivity and a feeling of brotherhood in them from this age will result in a very good future. It's a good initiative and I hope people will appreciate it," the singer said.
Apart from his new ventures, there is something else Sonu is proud of -- his three-year-old son Nevaan. Sonu, who got the gift of music from his father, singer Agam Kumar Niigaam, says his son not only sings but has already turned composer!
"He sings and dances all the time. In fact he has also started composing even though he is just three. He has composed three songs which are very catchy," Sonu told IANS.
The 36-year-old singer married Madhurima Feb 15, 2002, and they had a son July 25, 2007.
"In fact it's not that he's become musically inclined now. Since Nevaan was eight months old I used to sing and he used to sing in the same pitch. It is shocking but true!" said Sonu.
(Ruchika Kher can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)