Crooning Beauty

Posted in Cinema, Interviews by Suganth on April 28, 2009


She swept us with her velvety vocals in Pesugiraen… Now, Neha Bhasin is back in Kollywood after a break and is raring to go…

We haven’t heard you after Billa. What’s been keeping you busy?
I have sung for three upcoming Tamil films — Yogi and Muthirai with Yuvan and one for D Imaan. I have sung the title song in Yogi. It is a grunge number that talks about the film’s main character. Muthirai is a sweet and happy track like my first Tamil song, Pesugiraen…. I’m working with Devi Sri Prasad on a Telugu film and have also sung a track Thaniye… for Emcee Jesz in his new hip-hop album Kavithai Gundar.

You have been singing for Yuvan for the past two years. How’s it working with him?
I love working with Yuvan because he explores my vocal ability to the fullest. Yuvan doesn’t talk much. Even in the studio, he doesn’t talk directly to me; he gives me instructions through his assistant. He is a perfectionist but it is easy to work with him.

Despite being a north Indian, your pronunciation of Tamil is perfect. How do you manage that?
It’s something that I picked up from my Viva days. We were taught to watch the lip movements of other singers so that we’re in sync with each other. When Yuvan’s assistant teaches me the song, I observe his lip movements. So, credit should go the assistant who teaches me the songs.

How was it working with Emcee Jesz?
It was more chilled out than working for films. In this case, it was a marathon as we had to record the song in three versions — Tamil, Hindi and Telugu. In non-film songs, you’ve more freedom — you can sing the way you want to. However, for this album, we had to retain the hiphop mood without losing the Indian feel.

You talked about creating space for non-film music during the audio launch of Kavithai Gundar…
Music in India is restricted to films only and there is no space for self-expression. I think westerners have got it right as their artistes speak about what they feel — their lives, their heartbreaks and social issues. We too need a parallel genre for music other than film music. Although it started in a small way in the 90s, it fizzled out. The reason is we don’t have a support system for non-film music.

Can the Internet facilitate the growth of this culture?
It can. Thanks to the Internet, the culture of self-expression is picking up. Today, some artistes even have digital releases. Underground music is going online but it hasn’t gained momentum in the mainstream culture yet. But, Internet is a double-edged sword —on the one hand, it helps us connect with our audience directly and on the other, it encourages piracy. It is worse in India because our cyber laws have many loopholes.

What’s your take on piracy? How can it be tackled?
The system and youngsters are at fault. It’s okay to download songs of the 50s or 60s, which might not be available in stores today. But we have to find a midway between piracy and actually buying music to support musicians and films. It has to happen by selfawareness. There will always be pirates, but it’s we who have to decide on which side of the line we stand.

You’re a judge on a reality show. Do you think they really put the spotlight on talented youngsters?
There are too many reality shows these days. They give talented youngsters a good platform, especially people who have big dreams. But, it can’t make your life. It’s up to the individual to climb further.

Who are your faves among your peers?
I like Chinmayi. She is a fabulous singer. I once heard her singing Mayya Mayya on stage and it was even better than the original. Shweta has a typical south Indian voice but a beautiful voice much like her mother Sujathaji. I also like Benny very much. I’m a big fan of Sunidhi Chauhan.

What’s new in your forthcoming pop album?
My album is an expression of who I am. It has nine songs, of which four are dance-based. I plan to release my album by the second half of this year.
Copyright ©2009 Chennai Times

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