Sukhwinder Singh: My heart wasn't in it anymore

Updated: Dec 02, 2019, 08:37 IST | Sonia Lulla, Mohar Basu | Mumbai

Copping flak for his on-stage tantrum at Mumbai music fest, Sukhwinder Singh defends walking away mid-performance.

Sukhwinder Singh
Sukhwinder Singh

The fourth edition of the Paddy Fields Festival, which kicked off in the city on November 29, culminated on a sour note on Sunday evening after Sukhwinder Singh — who was to deliver the finale act — left his set mid-way due to the apparent mismanagement by the organisers.

Singh says that after being initially informed of a delay in his set, he was made to wait for another three hours, and was offered the stage only at 1.15 am. "I tell my team that my set should start on time. I am willing to perform till the wee hours of the next day, but don't put me on stage post-midnight. I arrived at 8 pm and was told that my set was being locked for 10.30 pm. I told my management that I don't take to the stage post 9 pm but decided to cooperate nonetheless. But, they pushed my performance to 1.30 am. By then, my heart wasn't in it anymore," says Singh. He adds that during one point of the constant negotiations pertaining to the delay, he was assured to be the next in line after an ongoing act. "An artiste called Osman Mir was performing and was doing a fine job."

"The management assured me that I would be the next performer. So, I calmed down and began to meditate to be mentally prepared for my act. Mir's act kept me in good spirit. I was looking forward to taking forth the same energy that he had concluded with. But then, they placed another performer for another 60-75 minutes." When Singh finally refused to take to the stage following the significant delay, the organisers said they would cite his ill-health as a reason for his inability to perform, to the audience. "I said that was nonsense. So, I went out and told the audience everything." Singh hopes the organisers will learn a thing or two from his decision. "They thought even if they kept me waiting, I would eventually sing. That [didn't] happen."

A source from the organising team confirms that they had told Singh they would use his ill-health as an excuse to reason with festival attendees, but puts the onus on ruining their experience on the singer. "There was a massive showdown between him and the organisers. He used coarse language. On stage, he ranted for 15 minutes, then sang one song, and then, ranted again." A spokesperson from the organiser, Nesco, tells mid-day, "Since this is a multi-artiste concert, Sukhwinder's performance was delayed because the audience was enjoying the previous sets, and demanded encores." Festival attendee Madhuri Verma says she was eager to watch Singh perform live, but suggested he was in an "inebriated" state. "By the time the third song played, he had left the stage. It was a waste to wait for [his act] till 1 am. As a regular at the festival, I know that last year's act went on till 2.30 am. He was unprofessional."

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