Himesh Reshammiya: Criticism may simply be a point of view
In conversation with Javed Ali, Himesh Reshammiya on unconventional singers and tackling negative feedback despite rendering multiple chartbusters
We catch Javed Ali and Himesh Reshammiya in the midst of an unusually long day. As they take a breather during the shoot of a reality show, it will only be moments before they step into another equally long leg before the day comes to a close. They will be weary, we're certain, and also partly disappointed. But put them together to discuss music, and they are anything but that. If we meet them again, we'll certainly ask them what keeps them fuelled during days that run this long. For now, we let them do the asking.
Javed to Himesh
Having judged so many reality shows, what do you think about the talent in Superstar Singer?
I've done so many reality shows, which have got good TRP ratings. After a point, you begin to wonder how the team will scout for better talent than the ones we see. But this team has sourced such fine singers. There are so many reality show singers doing well now, including Aman Trikha and Mohammad Irfan. But, this team got us to notice how talented kids can be, despite the skilled singers we've seen in the past. And indeed [we were impressed].
You have rendered about 700 blockbuster songs. How do you deal with criticism?
I don't react to it because if someone criticises the song, it is because that person has a point of view. It's not necessary that his point of view is right. The verdict is always given by the audience. Ninety-nine per cent of the time, my songs have not faced criticism. But for that one per cent who harbours that point of view. More than criticism, it is a point of view. For instance, when Aashiq Banaya Aapne released, people found [my voice] nasal. But in the same year, I rendered 50 hits. Yet, the awards came in for the first song only. The fact that it was nasal was a new aspect. After that, 5,000 nasal singers came, and they were all accepted. I'm happy that the audience's verdict [was in my favour]. And I'm still trying to win over that one per cent who has that point of view.
Given that there are so many biopics being made if you had to pick an artiste whose biopic you'd like to work on, who would it be?
A 100 per cent, even though it will take a lot of effort to pull off, it will be Kishore Kumar's. Who wouldn't want to work on a biopic of Kishore da? Being a musician, I understand his mindset. Now, I have done almost 10 films as an actor. I am trying to learn the nuances of getting into the character. That's also what I've tried to do with my upcoming film, Happy Hardy And Heer. You'll notice an improvement in me as an actor. My journey started from a singer to a judge, then a live-performer and an actor. I like the music of the film too, and I hope people like it. I play two characters. One is an NRI Gujarati, Hardy. Another is a sardar. All the characters are very Indian, at heart. Whether or not it is a double role is something we'll learn through the film. We did several workshops for it.
Your wife Sonia ji [Kapur], is also a Punjabi. Did you take any tips from her?
Yes. My wife is a Punjabi, and my heroine Sonia Mann is also a Punjabi.
Since we're on that subject, tell us how you met her?
She was hosting my shows. There was an emotional connect. We'd known each other for a while, and friendship grew into love.
Himesh to Javed
We have an old connect, since Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, and I really like the way you sing. We will also work on a lot of songs, and we will work on a hit song together very soon. Since
we're currently associating on Superstar Singer, tell me which contestant is likely to win?
Everyone in the top 16 is distinct in their own way. Personally, my favourite is Sneha. She is learned and belongs to a family that's [known] for their music. Sometimes, some people perform in such a way that it takes you by surprise. I think Konkona is good too, as is Nishtha. Among the boys, I'd pick Mauli, Shoaib and Fazal.
Is there a song from the '90s that you'd like to remake?
While I have done a few recreations in films like Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai. But a song like Pehla Nasha from Jo Jeeta Wahi Sikander, which is very close to my heart.
I think it will sound great in your voice.
When I came to the industry, I had rendered several remixes, which became superhits. These include Bin Tere Sanam and Kya Khoob Lagti Ho. My [career] began with remixes. But perhaps I'd remake a song like Pehla Nasha, or Kuch Na Kaho [1942: A Love Story].
Having done so many stage shows, has there ever been an incident related to a show that was odd?
I've always earned love from audiences. A long time ago, I was performing for a college event. You can understand the kind of energy that the crowd has. A few students had lost control. They began breaking chairs. I won't forget that experience. But, they apologised for it 2019-08-26 later.
Have you ever had a fistfight when you were back at school?
When I first arrived in Mumbai, I used to live in Andheri. We didn't have a car then, and on one occasion, my father and I had to travel by bus. As soon as the bus arrived, it didn't stop and kept driving ahead slowly. My father had caught the handle and because of the movement, was about to fall. I lost my cool and slapped the conductor. The people in the bus supported me.
What have you learnt from your guru Ustad Ghulam Ali?
To always do what your heart pleases.
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