A discography like Arijit Singh’s would give any singer the bragging rights. The winner of numerous awards, including Zee Cine Awards and IIFA, who walked away with nine out of 10 nominations for Tum Hi Ho in Aashiqui 2, is lauded as the voice of the generation, applauded by his contemporaries and established composers alike. However, the Kabira hitmaker doesn’t think much of the brouhaha. He simply says, “I don’t take these things seriously, so I have no reaction to it at all.” The singer is all set to give a live performance after a year at GenM, a music concert for the MPower Centre that works towards mental health causes. About what made Arijit come out of the live performance sabbatical, he says, “The cause of mental health had its own power to get me involved in the project. I thought I could connect to a lot of people about the cause through it.”
Why it matters to him
Arijit says that though he has always been happy in spite of difficult circumstances because of his positive indisposition, he has been around people who suffer from depression. “That made me understand the importance of mental health. Then, I read more about it. To me, it’s not so much about me handling stress or frustrations but about how I can inspire people to overcome it,” he says. The Raabta (Agent Vinod) crooner ensures to stay in touch with those friends without being preachy. For Arijit, it’s not just performing music, but he also tries to do something greater to satisfy himself. He adds, “Having said that, I don’t actively look for shows associated with social causes. I have enough happening on that front. Unfortunately, people in India are not very supportive when you want to do something for a cause and they don’t understand what you are trying to do. So, while my creative work does not always have to do with a cause, having something in that space pushes me more to take up a show.”
It’s a tough industry
The singer, who has sung Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Channa Mereya, had last year said that singers have a shelf life of five to six years and he could well be out of work this year. Does he still believe that? “Of course, I do,” he says, “Everyone has a place in the industry but there isn’t enough independent music happening. If there was, you wouldn’t have to run behind anyone for work, just focus on your music and release an album when you want to. But, in Bollywood, you need to have a lot of work and be seen. You need to work and practise a lot if you want to survive beyond five years in Bollywood. It’s not an industry where you can just crack a deal. It’s very rigid and if your career is good, then you are lucky but if it’s not good, then you should just push your limits further to achieve your goals and practise to be the best.”
No Plan B
Even though he is mindful of the industry being fickle, Arijit doesn’t have a backup plan. “Music was never my plan to begin with. And when I did become a singer, it wasn’t a do or die situation for me. I was anyway working as a musician in the industry. I was just happy to be doing music. I was trying new songs and practising constantly and things just moved on. I’m happy that it happened the way it has and gave me so much scope to sing. I’m lucky to have sung such beautiful songs. And that’s good enough. I don’t want anything more,” he says.
Nervous every time
In spite of being one of the most revered singers, Arijit confesses that he gets nervous every time he steps on the stage to perform. “I’m still nervous because there’s the pressure of production. As far as singing is concerned, I’m never scared because I sing for myself and people are most welcome to be my guests. But, the whole production, music arrangement, technicians, and musicians being perfect always bothers me — everything has to fall into place.” Arijit had biggies like Jagga Jasoos (Ullu Ka Pattha, Galti Se Mistake, and Phir Wahi), Jab Harry Met Sejal (Beech Beech Mein, Hawayein, and Safar), and more. Though he’s focussed on the show right now, he has songs in unreleased films Ranchi Diaries (Thoda Aur), Rukh (Hai Baaki), and Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana (Main Hoon Saath Tere).
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