Exclusive: Sukhwinder Singh, the singer who went to self-imposed exile after success of Chhaiyaa Chhaiyaa, bares his soul

Sukhwinder Singh unravels his emotional side as he talks to InUth about Shah Rukh Khan and his success record in giving vocals to his songs

Singer Sukhwinder Singh has seen an illustrious career in Bollywood since his debut. In 1998, when he crooned for Chhaiyya Chhaiyya from Dil Se, he became an overnight sensation. Thereafter, Sukhwinder had a plethora of music directors trying to get him to sing for them; but he chose otherwise. At a time when film industry offered him to sing fourteen songs per day, Sukhwinder Singh decided to keep a low profile. He is proud of this consistency—something the younger generation of singers should keep in mind if they wish to be in the long run.

Currently running high because of the response his song Udi Udi Jaaye from Raees has got, Sukhwinder says he is in a happy place. His success record with Shah Rukh Khan is cent percent and he agrees to it. Heaping praises on King Khan, he says the superstar always appreciates good work—a quality he has fallen in love with. Despite being at peak of the success, Sukhwinder claims he is not money or career oriented. He said his freinds take home all the awards he got, but he doesn’t complain.

The jovial singer said amid chuckles that he has never been heartbroken and he flirts a lot. In an exclusive conversation with InUth over phone, Sukhwinder bared his soul and touched many topics. Here are excerpts from the interview:

1. One genre you really enjoy singing

Whenever I get a chance to sing for a dance song, I really enjoy it. I have got an opportunity to sing across genres but what I really like is belting out dance numbers.

2. Independent music is on rise these days. Your views!

Non-filmy music is an industry prominent in the West. It is really nice that people are adopting such independent music in India. I, too have planned something for independent music on a large scale that will be launched in March. It will have interesting content—it’s going to begin with me singing songs and then few others from the music industry will be brought on board.

3. Your views on the revamping of old songs

Definitely, no one can sing like Kishore Da, Lata ji and others, but I’m not against it. If I get a chance to sing a song of Pancham Da, I would be glad. But one thing I want is that if you are recreating a song, due credit must be given to the original composer, mostly out of respect. However, I don’t think it should happen more often because then, people will think the music industry has nothing new to offer.

4. How do you ensure that your singing blends with the character?

Expressions play a role in it. I can’t change the voice, but expressions are what that matters the most.

5. Don’t you think that reality shows give the contestants a short-term game?

I think it is a great platform but the aspiring singer who doesn’t win gets in a lot of trouble. Their path to success becomes tougher, but I think in this case, mentors should take reponsibility. Even I was approached for reality shows and I told them I had music and style to offer. They told me music and drama is what brings TRPs. But I disgareed with this concept. In fact, I’ll tell contestants of Indian Idol (when I will meet them) that music creates style and this is what they should keep in mind.

6. Arijit Singh said singers have a shelf life of 6-7 years in the industry. But you have been here for so long. Any comments?

Lata Ji ko bhul gaye wo? (laughs) Even today filmmakers want to make movies only if Lata Ji agrees to sing. Lata ji, Asha Ji, Rafi saab have sung for 40 years. I think it is the capacity of every person.

7. A lot of hoopla has been created about the awards being bought and the ‘right person’ having not been nominated. Have you ever experienced the same in your career?

I am not career-oriented or money-oriented. I have always been oriented towards love. I was shocked only once when Chak De! India was not nominated. I go to award shows to perform sometimes, to meet people. But if this is happening, then the organisers should correct themselves as it will only bring disgrace to them.