Interview Hindi

Change is inevitable: Sunidhi Chauhan on the music industry

The singer will close out the fifth edition of the Bollywood Music Project on 20 and 21 December in Mumbai.

Sonal Pandya

It has been nearly 25 years since singer Sunidhi Chauhan first made her mark in Indian film music. She began singing as a pre-teen for Shastra (1996) and has remained a sought-after playback singer since.

A natural at dance numbers and party songs, Sunidhi Chauhan has won the Filmfare award twice, the first time in 2007 for the song 'Beedi Jalaile' from Omkara (2006) and again in 2011 for 'Sheila Ki Jawani' from Tees Maar Khan (2010). Earlier, in 2001, she had been honoured with the Filmfare RD Burman Award for New Music Talent.

She returns to close out the fifth edition of the Bollywood Music Project. Ahead of the latest edition of the music festival, Chauhan answered a few questions on e-mail about the changes in the music industry, how her baby son’s music choices take over what she listens to, and how she prepares to sing in a language other than Hindi.

You have been performing live since you were a child. Do you remember the first time you got on stage? How did it feel?

I was four when I got on stage for the first time and as one can imagine a four-year-old would hardly feel anything. All I remember is loud applause when I was done.

How do you like to spend time at the music festivals once you are done performing? Do you like to watch other artists as well?

I haven’t been a part of many such festivals as it is a considerably new concept for us here in India. If I can, I would absolutely love to be part of the audience for the entire time!

Which of your songs do you love performing on stage?

All of them! Every genre/mood has its own response and satisfaction.

How has the music industry changed since you began your career? Do you think technology has been a boon or a hindrance?

Change is inevitable. There is a lot more to come and may it forever be that way! Technology is both a boon and a threat as we can see in every aspect of our lives that is touched by it. Music is and can be no exception.

Who are your musical influences? What kind of music do you listen to now?

These days I’m busy listening to children’s songs and nursery rhymes! My son has a bigger appetite for music than me, so there is not much choice there.

What is your take on the increasing number of remixes and recreations in film songs?

Originality is an acquired art and needs serious patronage. When both the creators and the promoters feel there is an audience for original music more than remixes and recreations, we will see a change. Until then, let’s all party as I’m sure we all do when the DJ plays those old songs with new beats at our friend’s wedding!

Which song from your repertoire are you most proud of and why?

Hasn’t happened yet. There’s so much more to explore. One lifetime isn’t enough.

Besides Hindi, you have also sung songs in Marathi, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. How much preparation goes into those numbers versus those sung in Hindi?

The diction is generally what one needs to focus on. The composition otherwise explains itself, so there is no extra preparation needed as such.

Which music composers did you have the easiest time working with, and which were the hardest?

[The] easiest [were] Vishal–Shekhar and Amit Trivedi [and the] hardest [was] Jatinder Shah.

What projects are in the pipeline for you in the new decade?

I’m not much of a planner. Have never been. Things will unfold as they are meant to.