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Music is a never-ending journey: Udit Narayan

Friday, November 30, 2012

Udit Narayan, considered as one of the greatest singers of his generation, celebrates his birthday on December 1. Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle have mentioned Udit Narayan to be the best in his generation for the quality of his voice and originality. Often compared to greats like Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar, we managed to get hold of Udit Narayan in a chatty mood. Excerpts from the interview with the affable singer: By Suneel V. Gaur & Rajesh V. Gaur

You are a singer with an original voice. Is there any singer you idolise?
I admire singers like Kishore da and Mohd Rafi. I am their fan. But fortunately I didn’t end up imitating the legends.

You have sung for practically all the lead stars. Do you make a conscious effort to change your voice or style to match them?
If I know the actor I am singing for, yes I do. I would sing a song differently if it was for Shah Rukh, than for Aamir or Anil Kapoor.

Do you still find time to remain in touch with classical music?
Yes, I do. Even if I am busy, I make sure I do riyaaz in the morning at least for 20 minutes. This helps keep me in sur throughout the day.

Why don’t we hear more of your songs these days? Have you become selective?
That’s right. I haven’t been singing too many songs lately. Even after 25 years I am still around and that’s a nice feeling. ‘Mere gaane kam ho gaye, Par main gayab nahin hua (My work has reduced, but I haven’t disappeared)’. Highs and lows are a part of everyone’s life. When Kishoreda arrived on the scene everyone said Rafi had become outdated. But he is still a legend despite the setbacks. If such great names had to face a slump, I am nobody.

You are singing a lot for Bhojpuri films?
I know the language and hence can do full justice to the Bhojpuri songs. I can express the subtle shades of meaning, and feeling of the songs be it Bhojpuri or Hindi.

Your songs were a part of Shah Rukh, Aamir and Salman’s biggest hits. Are you upset with the Khans for moving on to newer voices?
Why should I be upset. They are all experimenting with their roles, so maybe they feel it is time to move on to fresher voices. But I guess despite the change, they might miss the magic my songs created.

Finally what keeps you busy apart from singing?
My wife and I are involved in Bhojpuri film production. I wanted to become a playback singer and will be one forever. Music is a never-ending journey and I still have the fire in me for singing.

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