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Hitting A High Note

Playback singer Divya Kumar talks to Titas Chowdhury about his latest songs, Kamariya from Stree and the title track of Paltan, and more.

After belting out a series of hit numbers in Fanney Khan, GOLD, and now Stree and Paltan, playback singer Divya Kumar has become one of the most sought-after vocalists in the industry. Talking about his latest numbers, Kumar says, “As an artiste, I like exploring new things. The title track of Paltan is a very army kind of song. In Fanney Khan, I sang the recreated version of Halka halka suroor. The song has a very different flavour compared to the original song. I have been a big fan of Nusrat (Faheh Ali Khan) saab. I have grown up listening to him. Kamariya from Stree is an out-and-out dance number. Jaaga Hindustan from GOLD is a very different song from the other songs I have sung. It is very patriotic and emotional. Every song has its own expressions. I haven’t chosen the songs that I have sung. The songs have chosen me.”

About bagging the title track of Paltan, he states, “I had met Anu (Malik) uncle for Dum Laga Ke Haisha. That was the first time he called me for a song. That did not work out but he kept in touch. We met for the first time and connected very well.” Excited about the project, he says, “This is a J P Dutta movie. I am very glad that I could sing for his film. I have been a very big fan of his movies. After a long time, four male artists have recorded a song together. It was a great experience.”

Kumar feels blessed to be a part of Malik’s legacy and journey. He remarks, “I have been looking up to him since I was a child. My dad was a part of his journey in the ’90s. Working with him nudged us back to the good old days. He has his own style of working. He is very chilled out and humorous. He is one of the very few composers from the ’90s who continues to work today. Hopefully, I will be recording another song for him in a different film.”

Talking about Kamariya, Kumar reveals, “I recorded this song for Sachin-Jigar a long time ago. Back then, I did not know that this song would be for Stree. I came to know about it only when it came out. It is fun to work with them.”

The singer is not very keen on recreations and reboots. “I keep saying that a lot of recreations are happening today, but I am not in support of them. We are recreating iconic songs and tampering with their essence. I asked Amit (Trivedi) sir about why we were recreating Halka halka suroor. But there are certain demands that you need to deliver. It was my small tribute to Nusrat saab. It is not a very good tribute though (Laughs). Karna padhta hai kabhi kabhi. I hope I don’t have to do this again. A lot of people might have not liked the song. I am not 100 per cent happy with it either. I love the female portions in the song though.”

The vocalist is carving a mark for himself for his textured voice. “I think my vocal quality has helped me a lot. People think my voice sounds unique. I have a rustic and earthy voice. When I was a child, people used to think my voice was damaged. Now when people are listening to that ‘damaged’ voice, I feel amazing. It is a huge compliment when people say that I sound different from others.” He adds, “I keep telling young, aspiring singers to retain their original identity. What is the use of being a clone? If you are a clone, then you won’t get any projects because the original voice is already out there. You may admire someone, but don’t copy them.”  


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