Set to perform at the Pune edition of NH7 Weekender, Indian Pop star Baba Sehgal talks about the glorious days of Indi Pop, and surviving the Internet
Q. Why do you think the Indian Pop craze fizzled out?
Pop became paap. At first, Magnasound had come up with various Pop albums and companies such as Tips and Venus joined in. Later they realised it was too time consuming and they weren’t making enough money. So the music died too. People moved on and we didn’t have digital media. Bollywood became Pop music.
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Q. How did you end up doing your viral YouTube videos?
It’s a huge platform. My song, Going to the Gym, had almost 10,000 downloads on SoundCloud. So, someone suggested I should do videos too. I believe in DIY. For an artiste like me, who does not have crores to pump to promotion, it’s great. People should start their own channels and not stay dependent on companies that offer to host you. Slowly, the money will come in — through partnerships or even caller tunes. My next song is about online shopping.
Q. And how did Twitter happen?
I have always been a social guy. I believe in, ‘hai’, not ‘tha’; you should work hard. I realised what Twitter could do during IPL, when I tweeted about (Chris) Gayle, and had 100 retweets. Baba Sehgal abhi bhi hai.
Q. How do you deal with criticism on the Internet?
Even a bad comment is a good comment since a person has taken time out to type it. I ask my team not to delete obscene comments. People use dirty words, ‘Ms, Bs, Cs’; it’s not cool you are a bloody fool. After my song on online shopping, I am going to do Haters Rap.
Q. What will you perform at NH7 Weekender?
When I was offered this, I was so happy to be a part of the culture. I am very excited; I am thinking about so many things — What songs do I sing? Abhi four packs baney hai — I will have to work out more. It will be a 45-minute performance, and I will perform all my popular songs.
Q. Before you returned to the limelight through the Internet, what had you been doing?
I have worked in several Tamil, Telugu and Kannada films; I am very popular in the South. They call me ‘Power Singer’ there. I have fans whose parents are worried because they’ve shaved their heads and wear balis (earrings), like me. I mostly stay in Hyderabad.
Q. How would you define your music as today?
It’s pure Rap. You don’t make a Rap song by adding words like party, baby and alcohol. It’s an expression of yourself. I like to eat baigan ka bharta and chicken fried rice; you don’t have to eat shrimp to look cool.
Q. If you had a chance to do a 1990s reunion, who would you invite?
Everyone! Alisha (Chinai), Remo (Fernandes), Daler (Mehndi), Hariharan, Lesle Lewis...
On: December 4, 5 (Sehgal performs) and 6 at Pune.