Neeraj Shrid­har has no re­grets

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Leisure - Soumya Va­j­payee Ti­wari soumya.va­j­payee@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Neeraj Shrid­har’s out­fit Bom­bay Vik­ings was a rage in In­dia in the mid ’90s. Re­vamped ver­sions of Bol­ly­wood clas­sics like Kya soorat hai and Woh chali woh chali, among oth­ers, shot it to in­stant fame. How­ever, at that time, Neeraj was also crit­i­cised for remix­ing old melodies, to which the singer, clar­i­fies that those num­bers were “re­makes” and not remixes. Here, he also talks about why he doesn’t sing for too many films nowa­days.

Since 2011, you have kept a low pro­file as a play­back singer. Why?

It’s not in­ten­tional. There are many young singers now who have taken over, which is good. We, the se­niors, had to take a back seat. An­other rea­son was that al­though all the songs I have sung for films have been hits, I’ve never com­pro­mised on the re­spect I de­served as an artist. I de­cided to take it slow in terms of film mu­sic, and fo­cus on my own work. I also had to set up my own stu­dio in Mum­bai. My jour­ney in Bol­ly­wood has been great, and I have no re­grets.

What is your opin­ion of the cur­rent state of in­die mu­sic?

I think it has stag­nated. Just Bol­ly­wood mu­sic is not enough. How­ever, I think due to var­i­ous dig­i­tal plat­forms, things are get­ting bet­ter now.

Not many artistes cut al­bums th­ese days. What’s your take?

Many peo­ple blame the mu­sic com­pa­nies for this. But I think the kinds of songs made to­day are to be blamed. Peo­ple think that pic­tur­is­ing a song in a club with half­naked girls is the for­mula for suc­cess. That kind of mu­sic was not a long-last­ing prod­uct. So peo­ple stopped buy­ing al­bums. The com­pa­nies suf­fered losses, so did the in­die artistes who were mak­ing new songs and not just remix­ing old melodies.

How were you in­tro­duced to this mu­sic?

My mother would hum old songs, like Hawa mein udta jaaye (Barsaat; 1949). That’s how I fell in love with th­ese melodies. When I came to In­dia, many of my friends used to make fun of clas­sics. So, I thought of re­vamp­ing them, and mak­ing them more hap­pen­ing. I think I came at the right time.

You were also the ‘king of remixes.’

I hated that ti­tle. I al­ways be­lieved that my songs were re­makes of old songs, and not remixes. I used to make new melodies and change the lyrics too. I never claimed those were my songs, and al­ways at­trib­uted them to their cre­ators.

There are many young singers now who have taken over, which is good. We, the se­niors, had to take a back seat

Neeraj Shrid­har, singer

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