The ‘Chaiya Chaiya’ singer discusses the projects he has been working on during lockdown
Sukhwinder Singh has been busy during the lockdown. The playback singer, who has given us timeless Bollywood hits like ‘Chaiyya Chaiyya’ and ‘Ramta Jogi’, is working not only on film songs, but also on some non-Bollywood projects over the past few months. The lockdown has not proved to be too much of a hindrance, he says, adding, “whatever the resources, baat dil se dilon tak hai (the communication is between hearts).”
He elaborates, over an online interview, the process that went into ‘Hum kalakar hai’ (we are artists), a song by the Indian Film & Television Directors’ Association, created in solidarity for the technicians, workers and artists of the industry. The song, which features a voice-over by Anupam Kher, was not just sung by Sukhwinder , but penned by him as well. “We are living in a world of Internet and satellites. Many of us have got sufficient facilities to record, so we discussed it on the phone. Once I understood what exactly it [the song] should convey, I wrote it,” says Sukhwinder, about the Salim Sulaiman-composed track.
Even outside the industry, the singer has kept on creating content. Among them have been a pumped-up blend of patriotic classic Yeh Des Hai Veer Jawano Ka and Mountain Dew’s Darr ke aage jeet hai in August, and a marketing anthem for social media platform Trell in September, each of which has raked in over 40 million YouTube views. The former includes lyrics originally sung by giants of their time, Mohammed Rafi and Balbir, that Sukhwinder lent his signature power punch to. The final track, he enthuses, “came out so well. I must appreciate music director Ram Sampath and [Bharat] Bala the great director: he presented me also in the video, it’s fantabulous.”
The Trell anthem, by ad agency Bombay Locale, is titled ‘Keh jo kehna hai’, and is accompanied by heartwarming visuals of urban Indians in their domestic settings, attempting to connect over videocall.
There are film projects in the pipeline, too, but he is not forthcoming about them. “It is too early to reveal,” he states, “But [they are] good projects: good films, good songs.” In the meantime, would he be willing to woo an online audience? His response is a tad dismissive: “Online concerts are not going to be forever. People would love to to see the magic of music aamne samne (face to face). One or two [online concerts] I can do, and I am sure I will rock it, but ultimately I would love to see the audience in front of me. I know that happy days are going to come.”