Neeraj Shridhar has no regrets
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