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Shalmali Kholgade on Why Remixes are in Abundance in Bollywood

Shalmali Kholgade on Why Remixes are in Abundance in Bollywood

Singer Shalmali Kholgade talks about the Bala song controversy, what she feels about the era of remix in Bollywood and her new song 'Ruka Ruka'.

Singer Shalmali Kholgade, who came to limelight right after her debut Bollywood song ‘Pareshan’ from Ishaqzaade, has come up with a new single ‘Ruka Ruka’ with Aparshakti Khurrana.

In a freewheeling chat, she talks about her hit songs, inspiration and upcoming tracks.

Excerpts from the interview:

Most of your songs are chartbusters. Has fame changed life?

I am very grateful for all the opportunities and for being at a place where I could make the most of these opportunities. It’s going to get better from here.

But you never wanted to be a Bollywood singer...

I always wanted to write my own music and perform it in front of a small audience like a club or a café. I used to sing covers, which was a Saturday-Sunday job. Today, I am finally realising that dream by releasing my own song that I can perform to my own audience.

It was very important for me to do playback to learn a skill I did not know I needed. Singing in a studio and taking direction from someone, and then singing in front of a live audience are different. Singing independently gives me the liberty to convey what my own musical expressions are. It’s important to continue on both the roads.

You have been vocal about your inclination to Western music.

Rosa Lia and Dua Lipa are two artists which I can’t wait to work with. And since I write my own Hollywood songs, I’m hoping to release one soon.

What's your music making process? Is it a collaborative one or you create it in isolation?

I am learning to collaborate now. As a person, I put my hand in everything and if possible, do it on my own. And then it ends up showing in my music as well which is not a right thing to do because, when you collaborate, you get more heads thinking and the pool of ideas increases.

When you were approached for the song ‘Don’t be Shy’ in Bala, did you know that Dr Zeus’ wasn’t informed about it?

I did not actively participate in the whole controversy because I am not the one getting my hands into things which don’t need my two bits about. But at the same time, I knew anybody who needed rights for a certain thing had those rights and there was nothing illegal done in anyone

Jigar (from Sachin-Jigar duo) is a very good friend and he had called me to do this song. As a playback singer, I was very excited. I am not the person who asks which movie is it, or who’s the actor. For me, my role ends in going and delivering the song to the satisfaction of the music director, or the director if he is present there, which is what I did.

It looks like Bollywood is in the era of remixes.

Remixes are happening because we ourselves are trying to pick on them. I think there’s enough of original music that’s also coming out. For example, the Kalank title song, the Ghungroo song. Generally, there are a lot of original compositions as well. If you give me one remix, I’ll give you three original. In my opinion, those were songs that did well at that time. You won’t believe, I first heard ‘Ude Jab Jab Zulfon Teri’ when it was made by Mikey McCleary. It was surprising for me, being in the music industry I hadn’t heard it. That then made me hear the original song, which I love now. In a way, because of remixes, I want to know the original songs. There may be some percentage of the audience who would want to listen to the original track, which they wouldn’t have heard otherwise. Maybe it is helping the audience get channeled there.

One of your contemporaries recently described how she walked out of studios because she doesn’t want to sing the last four lines of a song.

I have not turned down any song because there was a small part to sing or that it came at the end. At the same time, it is true Bollywood songs don’t have as much female presence. I am lucky I have songs like ‘Pareshan’, ‘Shayarana’ and ‘Aga Bai’ which are completely solo female songs. But, at the same time, I do feel the pain for the female playback singers who long for a better part.

Tell us about your new single ‘Ruka Ruka’.

I think the germ of the idea was from Digvijay Singh who I met in ‘Dil Hain Hindustani’. He came with a one minute song and asked if I could sing that. It fit like a jigsaw puzzle. Then we started working on it with Sunny MR and it is what it is right now.

Your Marathi-Konkani film Tu Maza Jeev received positive response. Are you heading to Bollywood anytime soon?

Yes, I have read a few scripts. I would love that someday in a film. It could be Marathi, Hindi or even French.

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