Singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya, who has blessed our ears with over 6000 songs in the Bollywood industry, opened up about his ‘unmusical’ experience of working with AR Rahman in a recent interview.
The singer is recognized till-date for his melodious songs of the 1990’s and early 2000’s. He has been awarded several awards for them including the MTV Asia Award and the Filmfare Award for Best Playback Singer.
Some of Abhijeet’s best known songs include “Tauba Tumhare Ye Ishare”, “Ek Din Aap”, “Main Koi Aisa Geet Gaoon”, “Goriya Chura Na” and “Jhoom Loon Mein”.
One of his best-known songs also includes ‘Ae Nazneen Sunona’, which was the first and last song on which he worked with AR Rahman.
Where Abhijeet’s unpleasantries with AR Rahman began
AR Rahman was still a new name in the Indian music industry in the 1990’s. Roja (1992), a Tamil blockbuster, was the first movie he had composed music for and little was known of him to Hindi playback singers. The Hindi version of Roja’s soundtrack was a massive success.
In a recent interview with Lehren Retro, Abhijeet shared details of his unpleasant experience of working with the Oscar-winning composer.
Rahman was about to make his debut in the Bollywood industry with the film Rangeela (1995) and he approached Abhijeet to record the song “Kya Kare Kya Na Kare” for the film. Having been a fan of Udit Narayan’s voice, Abhijeet questioned Rahman about why he had been approached despite Narayan having recorded the song with the team already.
Abhijeet was told that some changes had been made to the movie’s character and the song’s lyrics, due to which they were re-recording the song. Abhijeet was made to wait for long hours in the hotel lobby before being called into the studio to record the song. The singer also shared that he was not provided with lyrics or direction by Rahman before heading for the recording.
Later, the singer found out that Rahman had stuck to Narayan’s version of the song.
Abhijeet’s first and last song for AR Rahman
Abhijeet was called again by Rahman for recording the song “Ae Nazneen Suno Na” from the film Dil Hi Dil Mein (2002).
The singer has revealed that he was called past midnight at 2:30 AM to record the song. Rahman was not present during the recording and it was his assistant that guided Abhijeet through the recording.
The recording took place in “patches” and the singer was again given no lyrics or direction for him to be able to rehearse the song beforehand.
Although “Ae Nazneen Suno Na” was a huge success, recording it caused Abhijeet to lose out on other recording appointments the following day.
Rahman’s team called Abhijeet again for recording a new song a few years later, but the singer stated that he would be willing to work with the composer only if Rahman would work according to his schedule. He was not willing to adjust again with Rahman’s “no system” approach.
And so the two never worked together again.
More tiffs in Bollywood for Abhijeet
The singer has been a playback singer for Shah Rukh Khan for more than 30 songs. In fact, some of his best known songs are from the movies Yes Boss and Badshaah; both of which are SRK films.
The last song in which Abhijeet was SRK’s voice was for the movie Om Shanti Om (2007). It has been reported that the singer refused to sing for him again as he was mentioned last in the credits of the film, which hurt him and his family.
The singer has shared that filmmakers wanted to separate him and SRK and this caused him to refuse to sing for the superstars after this.
Can we expect new songs from Abhijeet?
“Mere gaane Taj Mahal hain, ek baar bann gaye toh bann gaye” (my songs are like the Taj Mahal, they were only to be made once), said the singer in the interview when asked about singing in the music industry now.
Abhijeet says that rather than pursuing playback singing for today’s music, he prefers giving live performances of his legendary music from the 1990’s and early 2000’s.