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'Whatever I got in life was based on merit'

You have rendered chartbusters such as Awaara bhanware (Sapnay) and ‘Badal pe paaon hain’ (Chak De India), but we don’t hear you enough.

In the music industry, I have been fortunate to work with good people; but it also has its share of indecent people. When they mention the casting couch, one takes a break. I will never compromise on my values. By the grace of God, I have done 60 superhit songs. And it makes me feel good to know that whatever I got in life was on sheer merit.

How do you keep yourself busy?
I do stage shows. I was made to entertain people. When I sing Badal pe paaon, Chori chori (from Garam Masala) or Ishq chandi hai (from Biwi No1), the audience screams in unison. The oneness between my audience and me is gratifying. I have been a fan of Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh; and I feel fortunate to have worked with them. People say they find the confluence of the east and the west in my voice. Hence, I plan to release two albums around September this year. One is titled 'East Side' and the other, ‘West Side’.

You recently recorded a song with Bappi Lahiri.
Yes. I just recently sang a Bappi Lahiri for an untitled production. It is a club song which is on the lines of the disco numbers he is famous for. After I had rendered the song, everyone in the recording studio, including Bappi da, gave me a standing ovation. Working with him is an experience — he is warm, respectable and praises from the heart. A little while earlier, I sang another song for Bappida — it was a duet with him da for a film called Mr and Mrs. This too is a typical club song. I always wanted to sing such peppy songs for Bappida; and I am happy that this is happening.

Do you think playback singing has become overpopulated today?
There are a lot of songs and many singers. Finally, only those who touch people’s hearts will stay. But with so many different voices been given to the heroines, their vocal identity is being lost.

What drew you to Sri Sri Ravishankar?
Destiny. I did an Art of Living course in Dubai because my sister persuaded me to. And since then, every year has been worthwhile.

Would you want to be part of another TV reality show?
I was a judge at K for Kishore and would love to be a part of a reality show again. But it hurts me when a child cries on the show and they focus on the child’s tears for TRPs. A child’s emotions should not be exploited. I disapprove of using someone else’s pain for money.

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