'I am not arrogant or rude; I am just honest'

After she sang Talli for you in 2008, you are reintroducing your daughter Anmol with the Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai song, Big fat Indian wedding.

I wanted Anmol to get ahead based on her talent, so I didn’t suggest her name. I was wondering who to ask to sing this song when playback singer Neeraj Sridhar expressed confidence in her abilities. After the song had been recorded, Neeraj, who has sung along with her, was very happy and said ‘I told you so.’ Now, wherever I go, people tell me ‘Wow, Anmol sings really well.’

You have judged several singers on Indian Idol. How would you judge Anmol’s

No one could have done a better job than her on that song. She has a great voice. She is going to sing for me in lots of projects now. I want people to wake up to her talent.

In another song from the same film you have incorporated a song written by the late Anand Bakshi.
Producer Ashim Samanta asked whether I could do anything with the song. I was very moved by the lyrics, Pyaar karna na tha. It was very tough since Anand Bakshi wasn’t physically present. But the words are catchy and the tune was composed within seven minutes of my hearing the lyrics. Ashim was flabbergasted, and even I didn’t know how it happened. The song has come from my heart.

What are your forthcoming projects?
I have recorded a song for Sunny Deol’s upcoming film. He is a dear friend. My private album should release soon. There is one number I am really excited about; I will release it online as well as through a music company.

What kind of music do you want to compose now?
I want to forget the awards I have won and move on. I love challenges. I want to do something which will make youngsters say ‘wow’.

You have been the only constant factor in the many seasons of Indian Idol. What kept you glued to the show?
The people of India want to see me for my honest comments. They love the way I react to people I don’t like in the auditions. If I don’t like you, I don’t; but if I like you, I am going to come up to you and say ‘wow, what singing’. I am an emotional guy in love with talent. People tell me they watch Indian Idol because of me.

But some people cannot take your blunt comments in their stride.
I am not arrogant or rude; I am just honest. There is a difference. If I say ‘You can’t sing, go home,’ it is for your betterment. You can shift your focus to something else, rather than meeting me after six years, still struggling with your vocal chords. I advise people the way I advise my daughters. I berate people to help them.

The judges’ panel has a new addition, Asha Bhonsle. Do you get along with her?
Her company is sheer pleasure. She is such a fantastic talent and a great human being. It is amazing that even at this age she has the energy to sit long hours. She has a very sharp mind. When she is sitting in front of you, you are looking at a piece of history — she has such a huge volume of work. Even now, when she sings, she has masti in her voice. I am very keen to do a song with her. 

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