MUMBAI: Singer Sunidhi Chauhan says her two decades long career in the music industry has been a journey of constant evolution.
Chauhan has been one of the biggest breakout artistes of the last two generations, who continues to dominate music charts.
To her, it feels like just yesterday when she began her career in 1996 aged 13, but what has kept her relevant in the industry is her desire to “experiment”, the playback singer said.
“I don’t know how these 25 years passed by, it is amazing. I have learnt every step of the way. When I got into the industry, I knew that I wasn’t required. People were happy with what they had and there were such legendary singers around,” Chauhan told PTI in an interview.
“So I was fortunate to get that one opportunity, where someone believed in me and realised they wanted a change, a new voice and I continued to sing. Then came a different time, the music started to change and the kind of music people started listening to also changed. I have been a part of every change, for which I am grateful,” she added.
Chauhan was just 13 when she made her debut as a playback singer with the track “Ladki Deewani Ladka Deewana” for 1996 movie “Shashtra”.
The singer got her major break with Urmila Matondkar-starrer “Mast” (1999), in which she sang tracks like “Ruki Ruki” and “Main Mast” and followed it up with chartbuster “Mehboob Mere” from “Fiza”.
In the 2000s, Chauhan emerged as one of the most popular playback singers with consecutive hits in films like “Chameli”, “Dhoom”, “Omkara”, “Bunty Aur Babli”, “Race” and “Love Aaj Kal”.
In the decade gone by, the singer continued with her USP of singing fast-paced tracks but also successfully experimented with other numbers, like “Kamli” from “Dhoom 3”, “Piku” title track, “Ae Watan” from “Raazi” or AR Rahman’s “Maskhari” from last year’s “Dil Bechara”.
The 38-year-old singer said her attempt has always been to keep up with the times.
While film music was the only driving force for her, she is now expanding and delving into independent music as well.
“With so many changes happening around, I always got a piece of every change, which is amazing. That has kept me going. Everybody wants to move with the times, so do I. I don’t want to be stuck.”
“I am really enjoying this space, the non-film music scene, which people have been loving a lot. I am only growing in a good direction,” she added.
A decade ago, when she was fresh off the success of her tracks like “Ainvayi Ainvayi”, “Sheila Ki Jawani” and others of the time, the singer felt she had to change something.
Chauhan said she had covered “almost every genre” of a Hindi film song and decided to pick only those tracks which appealed to her, lyrically.
“I thought if I need to get better, need to feel excited about myself, if I have to like myself, then I will have to be choosy, which included (being choosy about the) lyrics.
“I didn’t want to be repetitive. My fans love me but they still want me to grow as an artiste. They don’t want me to sing the same thing, again and again.”
The singer revealed that she has often said no to item songs.
“Not because they are bad, I am a product of item songs. I got lucky later when I got to also sing the romantic songs. I still want to sing those fast paced songs but I want to make sure that I am just not singing for the sake of it, singing everything.”
Which is why, the work she was being offered on the Disney+ Hotstar series “Dil Bekaraar”, caught her attention.
She has lent her voice for the show’s track, “Yeh Pyaar Milta Hai Kahaan”, composed by Hitesh Modak.
Chauhan had recorded a song for Modak for the recently released Salman Khan-starrer “Antim” and when the opportunity to team up with him again emerged, she immediately said yes.
The singer said she found the Kausar Munir-penned song “quirky”.
“The song ticked my basic criteria — It should tickle me with its lyrics and of course the tune. Sometimes the tunes are average but it is my job to make them sound more than that. I definitely want the lyrics to be good enough, something that triggers me to say yes.”
“It is not often that a song truly surprises you, but you can’t function without the surprise factor, it will all be so boring. Every few songs I keep getting that surprise factor. I have been lucky that people approach me with different styles, something they want to experiment with. I am all here for experiments. That’s what keeps me going,” she added.
The series features veteran actors Raj Babbar, Poonam Dhillon and Padmini Kolhapure.
It is based on author Anuja Chauhan’s bestseller novel “Those Pricey Thakur Girls”.
“Dil Bekaraar” is helmed by filmmaker Habib Faisal.
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