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Abhi-geet!

Striking a chord with Abhijeet.



Abhijeet: the voice with "Josh." Photo: S. Thanthoni.

REMEMBER THE scene from the film, Yes Boss, where Shah Rukh Khan `plays' a piano standing atop a truck? Many may not. But the song that went with that picturisation is hummed by many even today, and the voice, just right for Shah Rukh. The song? "Chaand taare tod laun." And the singer? Abhijeet Bhattacharya, who bagged the Filmfare award for that melody.

Looking relaxed in a red Tee and grey sweat pants before a `meet-the-press' event at the Park Sheraton, the playback singer is all fired up about the charity concert organised in the city by the Madras West Round Table No. 10 and Madras Ladies Circle No. 2. The proceeds will go towards building funds for the Valluvar Gurukulam, Tambaram. "The first time I sang in Chennai was during an Anuradha Paudwal nite in 1990. Back then, I was not Abhijeet, the playback singer. So, I consider this my first concert here," says the bespectacled singer.

Kishore Kumar fan

"I am very happy with myself today. I have achieved all that I started out to get," says the Bengali babu, tracing his career from stage shows to recording room in 1990 with "Baaghi." Known to have modelled himself on another Bengali babu, `guru' Kishore Kumar, Abhijeet says, "I have not copied Kishoreda. I belong to the Kishore gharana, if you can call it that. He was a complete artiste, a great actor and a superb singer who could bring out comedy or pathos with the same ease in his voice."

Baadshah, Yeh Dillagi, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Josh, Dhadkan, Chalte Chalte, Main Hoon Na... these are some of the hits in his kitty. So which one is closest to his heart? "I still cherish the title song of Dhadkan. Of course, Yes Boss is again a favourite."

The situation matters

He's the voice of Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Akshay Kumar, Govinda and Salman Khan. Does he modulate his voice to suit the actor? "Never. I keep the situation in mind while singing, not the actor."

It's not just his voice that Abhijeet is known for but also his strong and unconventional views on the policy of encouraging singers from across the border. "I think it is not fair to the Indian singers. I am not blaming the visiting singers but our laws. Are Indian singers given the same reception in Pakistan? Friendship apart, it's not pleasant."

On Indipop and remixes, the order of the day, he dismisses the genres in three words. "I hate them." But wasn't his non-film album "Tere Bin" slotted in the same genre? "No. I think it was different in that it was based on melody and rhythm." But then what's the line that differentiates film from non-film music, you wonder.

"Actually, nothing. It's just that non-film music does not find a place on the big screen. As for Indipop artistes, I think they are failed singers with a passion for music. They want to cut an album at any cost."

Then the subject moves to his family. There's pride in his voice when he talks about his two sons aged 11 and 13. "Their latest ambition is to become footballers. Yesterday, it was computer scientists. Thankfully, they are musically inclined," he laughs.

Wife Sumati too has an ear for music, but she's more into designing. "In fact, she designs my wardrobe," he says.

As for the future, the classically trained singer is looking forward to his next album, for which he's composed the music.

So is music direction the next stop? "No way. I do not have the temperament for that. It is only singing for me."

His is the voice behind many successful Hindi film songs.

SAVITHA GAUTAM

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