Posted On Sunday, July 08, 2012 at 09:21:39 AM
It’s been eight years since the sensual, scandalously bold Bheege Honth Tere first raised eyebrows. The breakthrough song brought along with it not only a new wave in Bollywood music, but also introduced a new, never-heardbefore singer with an unconventionally smooth voice — Kunal Ganjawala.
In town for a tribute concert to legendary music director RD Burman, Kunal, like all the other artistes who perform here, cannot stop raving about Pune. “It feels awesome to perform in this cultural hub. Listeners here are seasoned and you just cannot fool them with bad music,” he smiles.
Before the Bheege Honth... anthem set the Box Office ringing, Kunal was a humble jingle artiste — he was the voice behind the highly popular Doodh Doodh Wonderful Doodh advertisement! Remembering his days of struggle, Kunal muses, “This is an industry where nobody does a favour on anyone. People only help your if you’re good at your work, not otherwise!”
A versatile artiste, Kunal never limited himself to a particular genre and has also dabbled with many Indian languages — worth a mention are his peppy Kannada numbers. “Initially, when I sang jingles, I used to go into a shell if I was made to sing in any other regional language. It gave me nightmares.
But then I realised that these fears were driving me away from my passion and I decided to take up the challenge rather than run away from it,” Kunal recalls. He happily adds that this experience broadened his horizons.
“People feel close to me, they feel like I’m one of them when I sing in their mother tongue,” he grins. The high-water-mark of his career was when Lata Mangeshkar, in a radio show, had picked his name when asked whom she wanted to work with in the present generation! “I still have that clipping with me,” Kunal beams.
Though a proponent of new sounds himself, Kunal has a traditional viewpoint when it comes to the infamously famous debate on whether technology has reduced Indian music to a bunch of zany sounds clubbed together. He explains, “Technology has made singers lazy.
Let me explain with an analogy the layman would understand. There are many cricketers who’re introduced in T20, and perform extremely well, but how many of them are able to play test cricket?” His distinct voice may be his forte but does it also put a restriction to the kind of songs he’s offered?
He argues, “Even Mukesh had a starkly unique voice, but he still had some 800 hit songs to his credit! No, in fact possessing a voice that’s different from the rest, is a rarity in this profession. It keeps me away from generic music.
You see, I don’t want to be plain fodder to our music industry, but a delicacy! I’m not bragging, but a lot of composers have told me that in an industry full of deep baritones, they perceived my ‘different’ voice as a welcome change.”