Joined: 21 June 2005
'It is very important for any singer to get great compositions' - Babul Supriyo
The millennium has seen Babul Supriyo find his identity among the promising young singers of the millennium.
A combination of musical genes, talent, hard work, and as he puts it, 'a bit of strategy' has made this young Bengali singer make headway in the very competitive and now very fickle arena of playback singing. If 2005 saw him hit the right notes with his solo album Kuch Aisa Lagtaa Hai, 2006 will see Babul forge ahead with Aditya Chopra's Fanaah and Sooraj Barjatya's Vivah after having made another mark with the Pandit Shivkumar Sharma album Eight Stages Of Love.
Excerpts from the Interview:
I think that it is very important for any singer to get great compositions, which play a major role in any song becoming a hit. A singer like me is very incomplete without them. The race to the top depends a lot on this as well. Coming to Kuchh Aisa Lagtaa Hai, a couple of tunes had come into my head - which is natural after being exposed to so much music - one of which was 'Tere liye...'. My friends insisted that I must do something. It would anyway have been presumptuous of me to ask the best music directors of today to compose an entire album for me, so I thought, "Why not make my own songs?" rather than compromise on the quality.
How has the album fared?
The response is great, and I have got very good reviews too. Mine is no one-song album that fades out after the lead track. The music company has invested so much in three more videos now. Yes, the rampant piracy has affected the sales, as it has with every good album of late.
How do you evaluate the phase of film music today?
It's a mixed bag. Phases by definition soon change. Today there is a lot of emphasis on the Western element and the beats, and even the Indian songs that have worked have this flavour - like 'Kajraare kajraare...' (Bunty Aur Babli) and the songs of Aashiq Banaya Aapne. Till some years ago, there was a lot of melody coming in from a combination of Anu Malik, Nadeem-Shravan, Jatin-Lalit, Anand-Milind and Rajesh Roshan.
But singers like you, apart from others from that phase, are all affected - the stress now is on singers who can bring in the 'firangi' flavour.
Unfortunately for me personally, this phase began immediately after the phenomenal success of my title-song from Hum Tum in mid-2004, so I could not really cash in on that intensely melodious song's cult popularity. But I do not see any reason to panic. It is excess that always invites a change - excess melody, excess beats, excess disco in the olden days and so on. My songs in Fanaah and Vivah will rock the charts.
Thank God it is in the past! I remember how they would tell me to forge my own style and then ask me to sing like Sanu-da in the recording room! Many of my songs did come to me because Sanu-da wasn't available. But the first hint of my real success came when music directors began to encourage me to sing in my own style and Sanu-da too was among the other singers. My album Sochta Hun too heralded a change. Hum Tum consolidated it because it was a beautiful song as well as a super-hit one, a quality that some of my earlier songs in which I wasn't singing like anyone else lacked, like 'Aate jaate...', the lovely song in Chori Chori, the title-track of Tera Jadoo Chal Gaya or even 'Hataa saawan ki ghataa...' from Hello Brother.
But your first real upswing was with Kaho Naa...Pyaar Hai.
Yes, it was 'Dil ne dil ko pukara...' from this film that marked a major breakthrough for me. But one hit song cannot be enough to change a strong mindset. I also sang most of the songs of Dhaai Akshar Prem Ke and had good songs in Aaghaaz, Sharaarat and others. But these songs suffered when the films did not do well.
How do you see yourself placed now?
I think that I have come a long way, and I know exactly where I want to go, par Dilli abhi door hai! Most singers peak at 34-35 and I am that stage now. I think that as long as I sing well, there will not be a problem. I want to establish myself as a good singer.
Updating oneself is also very important when music is changing so fast.
Look, I have come from a background of Indian music - I am the grandson of Manikanth N.C.Boral, the famous Bengali lyricist and musician whose cousin was the famous '30s film composer R.C.Boral. I quit a lucrative bank job to take up singing and while being exposed to all the new things that are happening today, I have got a clear picture of what I can do and what would be so inappropriate that I would not even attempt it. I would like to believe, in short, that over the years I have nurtured and chased a few legitimate dreams for myself and my music, and God willing I shall fulfill all of them! To have come this far without being a part of any camp and by singing for everyone is something for which I do deserve some credit.
Whether in camps or otherwise, today there are as many as six singers for one actor. Why is this?
We have to live with the fact that we singers are categorized very fast into certain genres. This is also about sound because music directors and everyone else want each song to sound different.
So what is your definition of a good playback singer?
To me it is all about of sounding like the hero I am singing for in a film. I think that I have been as convincing for Rishi Kapoor in my first film Prem Rog (my first song in Ekka Raja Rani was retained only in the album and wasn't there in the film) as for Tusshar in Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai and for artistes as varied as Suniel Shetty in Aaghaaz, Abhishek Bachchan in Sharaarat, Hrithik Roshan in Kaho Naa...Pyaar Hai, Akshaye Khanna in Doli Sajaake Rakhna, Salman Khan in Hello Brother, Bobby Deol in Aashiq, Aftab Shivdasani in Kya Yehi Pyaar Hai, Saif Ali Khan in Hum Tum and newcomer Yash Pandit in Rok Sako To Rok Lo.
Weren't you a part of the Kalyanji-Anandji troupe that did a world tour with Amitabh Bachchan in 1993?
Yes, and that tour was what made music directors here take a look at a rank newcomer like me with respect. After my return, Bappi (Lahiri) - da gave me a break with 'Zindagi char din ki...' and Nadeem-Shravan recorded 'Dil ko zaraa sa aram denge...' (Ekka Raja Rani).
Yes, I did. Laxmikant-Pyarelal liked my singing, but at that raw stage I could not have hoped to get work from them. As for Pancham-da who was my idol, he told me, "Just wait for 1942 - A Love Story to release. I will make a comeback and then I will give you work." But that was not to be!
How would you like to be remembered?
I would just like to be remembered! You have to keep delivering and keep being very good. Luck comes in only after quality.
Joined: 27 January 2005
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