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Decoding The Swag

With the record-breaking hit song Swag se swagat in her kitty, singer Neha Bhasin talks to Bhakti Mehta about the music in Tiger Zinda Hai, working with Ali Abbas Zafar again, and her journey in Bollywood

When the song Swag se swagat from the Salman Khan-Katrina Kaif starrer Tiger Zinda Hai released, it broke the Internet. Neha Bhasin, the voice behind that hypnotic number, tells us her experience while singing it.

“The response has been quite overwhelming, to say the least. Of course, since it is a Salman Khan starrer, you know it is going to come with some craziness. But I think Swag se swagat has surpassed even his own records. So, yes, everybody is happy. For me, performing this song live on stage was a fabulous experience. I actually don’t have many dance songs in my kitty because I have done some slow numbers and some rock numbers. Hence, this took some effort on my part. This has been the most commercial song I have ever sung. It was fun seeing that the audience has also accepted it.”

The track sounds effortless to listeners and, indeed it is. But that doesn’t mean there were no challenges for Bhasin and the team. “I have been a big fan of Irshad Kamil and have been fortunate that most of the songs I have sung in Bollywood have been written by him. But this song wasn’t easy for him to write nor was it easy for me to sing. It’s an item number mixed with a party song and it’s not easy to write a song like this in Hindi.

“But Irshad Kamil brought some sense to the song and hats off to him. The lyrics are, like, ‘Ishq se aage, kuch nahi kuch nahi kuch.’ When I was recording the first draft of this song, I couldn’t get that line because I would keep saying, ‘kuch nahi, kuch nahi, kuch nahi,’ which I didn’t get right on the meter and that changed the tone. Then Vishal (Dadlani) sir told me that we had to do it the other way and finally we got it right,” reveals Bhasin.

On collaborating with Vishal-Shekhar after Sultan, she says, “I have delivered the biggest hit of my career, Jag ghoomiyafrom Sultan with Vishal-Shekhar. But this is the first time I have done a duet with them. It is always fun to work with both of them; they are very intuitive, very talented and very kind. When you’re singing a song for Vishal-Shekhar, you know it is probably going to be a big hit and so the excitement factor is always there.”

Bhasin also speaks about her bond with director Ali Abbas Zafar. “My equation with Ali Abbas Zafar has been great. I have actually sung in all his films, from Mere Brother Ki Dulhan to Gunday to Sultan and now Tiger Zinda Hai. It is not pre-decided that I will sing a song for his film but I look forward to it. In fact, I am the last person they get on board for all the songs (Laughs).”

The singer reveals that she has another song releasing soon. “I do have one more song in the film which is not out yet. It is quite a rare thing for a singer because in a Yash Raj Film, you usually get just one song but I was lucky to get two. It was asone pe suhaaga moment. I was called for Swag se swagat and then they wanted to do another version of one of their other tracks, they wanted it in a female voice,” she reveals.

From Kuch khaas hai to Dhunki to Jag ghoomiya to Swag se swagat, this is how Bhasin sums up her journey, “My journey has been quite interesting. I am not a very social person, I don’t have many friends in the industry. I have lasted here purely due to my work and the talent I have. I am a very persistent person, especially where my work is concerned.

“The journey has had many ups and downs because I wasn’t a typical Bollywood voice. My ambition is to be in front and not fade in the background. I want to be number one and I am very honest about that. I am still striving for that position and still working towards it. I have met some really nice people and they really appreciate what I have to offer,” Bhasin says.

Asked about her prospects in 2018, the songstress replies, “Honestly, I have no idea what 2018 looks like for me. My December is completely full. I have collaborated with a Punjabi artiste for a fun song and that’s coming out on December 21. Next month, I will work on my folk music because I took a break from it for two to three months due to Bollywood work. And I also have a song in Kaalakaandi which is a version of Kaala doriya. The movie is releasing in January 2018 but I don’t know when the song will come out.”

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