From club numbers to EDM tracks to ghazals and mostly soft, romantic numbers (which are considered to be his forte), Arijit has done it all. In a quick chat with us he talks about the importance of rehearsals, his take on Pakistani musicians and why he is elusive of the media. Excerpts…
You believe in rehearsing for months till you get a song right. What prompts you to do so?
There have been occasions when I did not like a particular song and would have liked to do another recording, yet it has been released as it is. There have been times when I have had a sore throat or fever but I have still sung. The song Mohabbat barsa dena tu was recorded at 2.30 am. I could have done much better but they still released it. For the songs of Dilwale, I had to travel to Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad because Shah Rukh Khan wanted to brief me about the tracks personally. I had already sung Gerua thrice till then. There have been times when I have been given references sing like Salamat Ali or Aamir Khan sahab. Nevertheless, I have learnt a lot from these experiences which has helped me evolve as an artiste.
Do you feel that there are some deserving singers who aren’t getting their due while some non-singers are getting a lot of work?
What I understand from this question is that you want to say – people who sing well and are deserving are not getting their due. This happens across all professions. For instance, there are RJs who feel their colleagues aren’t talented enough. So, this is rampant in every field. I feel that ultimately if you want to be a lambi race ka ghoda you need to perform consistently. Maybe these other people are equally deserving. There have been many big singers who were criticised initially, but were ultimately loved for their work. People went Kumar Sanu had a nasal voice but even today he is popular amongst music aficianados. The same has been the case with Sonu Nigam , KK and Mohit Chauhan. Then there were some other singers who got better over a period of time. Atif (Aslam) has sung Jeena Jeena in Badlapur so well.
Talking about Atif, there have been controversies about Pakistani singers coming to Bollywood and singing Hindi songs. What is your take on this?
This is absurd. It is a weird thing to say. I am an Indian singer -I sing not just in Hindi but in Urdu as well. Aren’t we huge fans of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Ghulam Ali? The place is not important when it comes to music. All this is nonsense. Music is beyond boundaries.
Who are your favourite composers in the industry?
There are many. But one of my favourites is Pritam. I work with him a lot -as a singer and a producer. I love A R Rahman, Amit Trivedi and Vishal-Shekhar. Even Amaal Mallik, is doing some amazing work.
Recently, Shreya Ghoshal mentioned you as one of her favourite co-singers…
I am really honoured. I can’t say that she is my contemporary as she has been in the industry for many years, – I am a newcomer in front of her. I count Papon, Benny Dayal, Shalmali Kholgade, Shefali Alvares and Neeti Mohan as my contemporaries.
You are known for avoiding the media. You like to spend most of your time in your native place, Murshidabad (West Bengal)…
This time, I went back to my hometown after six to seven months. It is not that I intentionally do this. I am constantly busy – even when I am not recording or doing shows. I am trying to do so much more. Every two to three months I go to Murshidabad for 15 days to unwind.