Sukhwinder Singh: Rahman and I share a spiritual connection

By HT

Mumbai, July 20 -- Sukhwinder Singh's entry into Bollywood was crafted in a way dreams are made of. After an initial struggle, he got a chance to lend his voice to a song that continues to define him as a singer even today. 'Chaiyya chaiyya' (Dil Se..., 1998) is known as much for its stirring vocals as for its cult video featuring Shah Rukh Khan and Malaika Arora Khan.

With a distinctive voice like his, it was not difficult for Sukhwinder to create his own niche, which is reflected in songs such as 'Ghanan ghanan' (Lagaan, 2001), 'Jai ho' (Slumdog Millionaire, 2008), and more recently, 'Matru ki bijlee' (Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola).

In this interview, he talks about his upcoming projects.

You've had a successful year so far with releases like Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Raanjhanaa and Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola. This is a sharp contrast to the last couple of years when you had fewer releases.

Yes, in the next six to seven months, you can expect the release of around 40 to 50 songs that I have sung. Lately, I have also started working with newer and younger composers. Since I have already worked with all the established names in the industry, I wanted to reach out to the upcoming lot, looking to rope in star singers for their songs. Working with them has been a very creative process. There are some composers who are still teenagers but are blessed with great talent.

Your partnership with AR Rahman has yielded great songs. Are you working on any project with him currently?

Rahman and I share a spiritual connection. He often tells me, 'Sukhi, whenever I work with you, I feel there are two composers working on a song.' And interestingly, I am the only shararati munda (naughty boy) in his team. I am always joking and entertaining everyone. The rest of his team is very serious. Soon, we will be going on a 20-city international tour. After he won the Oscar (in 2011), this is the first time we are teaming up.

How was the experience of working on Raanjhanaa?

It was beautiful. Anand Rai (director) told me 'Sukhi you are a tantric! We've been working on the music of the film for almost a year. As soon as you came on board 15 days ago and sang the song, everything fit in perfectly.' The song that I sang, 'Piya milenge' is the one that the entire film is themed around.

You're also going to feature in a TV music series, Sureeli Baat, on a Hindi news channel. Tell us more about that.

It's an amazing show. I had a blast on it. The anchor, Mala Sekhri, is full of life and made the entire experience enjoyable. It's a chat show, where I talk about my music journey - the milestones and the hurdles that came along my way.

When you look back at your career, do you have any regrets?

There's just one. I feel although my passion for classical music is 100 per cent, my capability as a singer for it is only 10 per cent. But soon, I am trying to put together a project which will be my dream come true. It will be a concert series featuring a music ensemble of 30-35 musicians from different backgrounds, who will perform at various cities. You will get the first glimpse of it in mid-August.

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