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Going ‘Ultra-Retro’

Singer Sonu Nigam talks to Titas Chowdhury about his latest romantic number Main badhiya tu bhi badhiya from Sanju and more.

Singer Sonu Nigam is back with a romantic track with Sanju’s Main badhiya tu bhi badhiya. Talking about what sets this retro number apart, he says, “It is very different from the other tracks that I have sung. It is way beyond retro. It is ultra-retro. I don’t think I have ever sung something like this for any actor. Everybody is saying that it is an ’80s song but Pankaj Mullick and KL Saigal used to sing like this in the ’40s. It is like a situational comic interpretation of the old retro songs. This is not something that I sang keeping Ranbir (Kapoor) in my mind.”

Sharing an early memory of this number, he says, “When I sang this song, I found it to be a little odd for the movie Sanju. I knew Raju (Rajkumar) Hirani is a great thinker and he always thinks out of the box. I was quite stunned that he wanted this song for Sanju. But, then, Raju told me what he had in mind. It worked with a particular situation in Sanjay Dutt’s life. This is a very important sequence in the film. So, yes, I sang it in a classic style.”

The Sonu Nigam-Sunidhi Chauhan song has had the crowd crooning to it. On the response to the track, he shares, “I have been in the business for a long time, so I don’t have any expectations from anything. Pata nahi kab kaunsi cheez hit ho jaaye, humein kuch nahi pata! But the song came out pretty well.”

Nigam says he was very particular about keeping the essence of the song intact. “I don’t think there’s ever been a song where you have to imitate the greats of the past. The way they used to sing, I drew inspiration from them. I made sure I didn’t make a caricature of them. I have kept the essence of the ultra-retro feel but I have not made a mockery of their singing. I was very careful about that because I have a lot of respect for my seniors.”

Shedding light on the joy of collaborating with Hirani yet again, the singer remarks, “I hope this remains the same way. It started with Karan Johar, but after a point, I stopped being in all of his films. So, I am not going to assume that I will be in all of Raju’s films. I am happy as long as it lasts. I love Raju as a human being. He is a very good man. He has a lot of depth and integrity. For me, working with people like this is a perk.”

This is the first time Nigam has worked in Hindi with these young composers, the duo of Rohan Gokhale and Rohan Pradhan. “I had sung a very beautiful song for them in Marathi. When I heard that they were doing this movie with Raju, I thought, ‘Arrey waah! Shabaash! Achchi baat hai!’ For the first time, there are two partners who share the same first name. They are very talented people.”

Having seen the music industry changing over the years, Nigam opines, “When I started out as a singer, it was an altogether different Bombay. Now companies have their own artistes, music composers and singers. They like working with new people, making them big and taking money from them. That is how the business has changed and we have to accept it. We must all learn to adapt to the new scenario and new situations.”

Excited about his upcoming single, Nigam adds, “I am a part of a company called ITW Playworx Music. We started with talent management and are now venturing into the creative aspect of the business. First in the list is this song called Aey zindagi composed by Vishal Mishra. He is brilliant. When I heard the song, I really liked it. I thought, ‘Let me try something interesting with it.’ I requested Abhijeet Bhattacharyaji, Shaan, Alka Yagnikji and Suresh Wadkarji to sing this song with me. We all have our solo versions. We are releasing the whole song on the same day and same time, with one video in five different voices. It is a beautiful song written by Virag. You will like it.”

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