Life has been somewhat bittersweet lately for playback singer Sonu Nigam, with a near escape in Kabul, reports of a souring marriage and a semi-hit album under his belt.
In an interview with IANS, the popular singer talks candidly about his feelings -- and his newfound passion for yoga and spiritualism.
Q: Your life seems to be in turmoil.
A: Why do you say that? I've never been more at peace. Sure, there will always be ups and downs... Like the stage collapsed in Kabul when I performed recently. But for every Kabul there is Babul... I sang a song recently for a film of this name. And I was moved beyond measure. If I get a song like that I am willing to pay the music director instead of vice versa.
Q: What happened in Kabul?
A: Anything could have happened! There was a crowd of 50,000 people. If it were India or Pakistan, the audience would have probably stormed the stage and killed us all! But the crowd in Kabul was so well behaved.
Earlier I was in the middle of an explosion in Pakistan. Sometimes too much publicity is harmful. But I found the Pathans in Afghanistan to be thorough gentlemen.
Q: And the women?
A: Couldn't tell. They were in burqas. But they were dancing at my show! Have you ever heard of women in burqa dancing at a live concert?
Q: No, not really!
A: I feel sad it ended so abruptly. I sang only six numbers when my world collapsed. I started singing "Saathiya..." and the stage broke.
Q: Maybe Rahman isn't very lucky for you?
A: He's VERY lucky for me. All the songs I've sung for him have been landmarks.
Q: Are you happy with the way your new album "Chanda Ki Doli" has fared?
A: I didn't expect it to be so successful. According to my company T Series, the market is so bad that nothing sells. But it isn't so much the market as the marketing that needs to be improved. If you project a song as a Shah Rukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan or Shahid Kapur number, no one will go to a music store to buy it. They would rather watch the film and forget the song.
On the other hand if the singer is highlighted, hype is created around him, people will buy the CDs. All these music companies are in it only for money. To do a good album you have to fight tooth and nail. Fortunately, I am easy to work with. No one can question my professionalism.
Q: But your "Chanda Ki Doli" was well promoted.
A: All the promos that you saw for my new album were masterminded by me. Thanks to Sony Entertainment, my album got noticed on television. Though T Series would never acknowledge it, Sony played a very important role in projecting "Chanda Ki Doli".
Q: Things don't seem to be going too well for you on the personal front?
A: No, no. My life has never been better. I am in great shape. I am in the best state of mind. These setbacks don't matter to me at all. In fact they get me closer to god.
Q: The media is taking great interest in the state of your marriage?
A: I know. Someone called up my wife pretending to be concerned about what happened in Kabul but actually wanting to know more about our marriage. That is fine. I have learnt to accept these intrusions as part and parcel of my life as a public figure.
Q: For the record is your marriage off or on?
A: It's on standby.
Q: Are you happy with life otherwise?
A: You can't expect life to be stress-free. Once in a while something happens to upset me, I welcome that. I wouldn't grow as a person if there were no hardships. On the whole I have been happy for seven years. I have gone so deeply into my personality.
Yoga has changed my life. Though I am still far away from being a complete yogi, I am on the way. My younger sister's guru got me into this. Since he is not connected with films, he guides me without awe or prejudice.
Q: What is more important for you, music or spiritualism?
A: Spiritualism. That is my priority from one to 10. Music comes at number 11. I wake up at 3 a.m. to do my yoga till 7.30 a.m. My work is also getting better because I am in a better state of mind. I let life take its own course. I am earning and learning. I am reading and growing as a human being. My songs and my spirit are doing well. And I interact better with people. When I was in a negative frame of mind, everything went wrong.
Q: What else are you planning?
A: I want to do a pure classical album... something on the lines of Hussain Baksh. I like his blend of Punjabi style singing and good lyrics. For me, he is the master of that genre. I hope that happens to me before I grow old.
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