News Column

Sunidhi Chauhan's first date with Abu Dhabi

August 13, 2014

Manjusha Radhakrishnan, Senior Reporter

It's a sentence that Bollywood singer Sunidhi Chauhan thought she would never say.

"It's my first concert in Abu Dhabi and I have done many in my career," said Chauhan.

€˜Many' is an understatement, as this 30-year-old singing sensation has sung over 2,500 Hindi songs, performed on stage since the age of five and has seen Bollywood biggest stars — Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Deepika Padukone and Madhuri Dixit — lip-sync to her songs.

On August 15, Chauhan will tick Abu Dhabi off her wish-list of cities. The show at Emirates Palace theatre is part of the Abu Dhabi Summer Surprises line-up.

"I become another person on stage. I become this bird who is free to fly. It happens because of the audience, they make me feel like that. They see the fun I am having on stage and they reciprocate that energy," said Chauhan, who promises to give it "200 per cent".

At the time of our phone interview, the actor was busy recording an antara (verse) for a Bollywood film. But if there's one thing that Chauhan, who made a breakthrough with Ram Gopal Verma's film Mast, can do deftly, it's to switch back and forth between recording songs and performing in front of a live audience.

"While recording a song, you are in a closed environment. You have to feel free and be able to imagine the picturaisation [a Bollywood term referring to the song's scene in a film] of that song. You have to keep in mind who's going to perform to it. It's fun but the stage is the best place to be. I am going to make my fans dance in their heart and their minds," said Chauhan. It's a promise that she has always fulfilled.

Fans who have seen her perform before can vouch for her electrifying stage presence. Her songs such as Desi Girl (Dostana), Sheila Ki Jawaani (Tees Maar Khan) and Beedi Jalayele (Omkara) are designed for dancing, with upbeat tempos and an innate sexiness. As those songs were in films led by Bollywood's Priyanka Chopra, Katrina Kaif and Bipasha Basu, their raunchy moves are etched in our collective memory.

So has she ever rejected a song due to questionable lyrics?

"I make sure that I am not uncomfortable with the lyrics while singing a song. But honestly, not many approach [me] with songs [with offensive lyrics]. They respect my stand."

Chauhan, who has no formal music training, counts her prolific work experience as her biggest teacher. She emerged the winner of Mere Awaaz Suno in 1996, a reality talent-hunt show that relied on the decisions of a panel of expert singers. At that time there were no voting system open to viewers or people's choice categories to bolster a contestant's chances. All they could rely on were skills, not persona or popularity.

"It's probably more difficult now. The whole world is voting for you and they have their own favourites. Votes are everything and sometimes it doesn't matter if the judges think you are good or not," said Chauhan. According to her, sounding different is the key to making it big today. Chauhan has a strong, bold voice and doesn't sound saccharine while singing.

"As long as you are good at what you do, then it doesn't matter." So what does she think of the trend of actors such as Salman Khan and Alia Bhatt singing in films?

"I am fine with it. When they are miming it so well, you can't have that bad a sound. It's all about how different you can sound today. It's not necessarily about how good your singing skills are€¦ Back then, we had to practice our singing and have certain qualities, but now you sound different — that's enough."

For more stories covering arts and entertainment, please see HispanicBusiness' Arts & Entertainment Channel

Source: Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)

Story Tools Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters