Aur Iss Dil Main Kya Rakha Hai…
Renowned singer Suresh Wadkar in an interactive session with Editor Deepak Kumar Rath, speaks volume on the matters of his career, politics and other matters. Excerpts:
How did you enter the music industry?
I loved singing from my childhood. At the age of four, my father saw me singing and thought that I could be a better singer with proper guidance. So he started teaching me. Since then, I have been practising singing. In the year 1976, there was a competition, of which I was a part. The competition was being judged by Ravindra Jain, Jaidev, Shivji, Hridaynath Mange-shkar and many other famous personalities. Ravindra Jain announced that whoever won the competition, he would give chance to that person to sing in his films. I won the competition, and came into the industry.
Which song did give you recognition?
My career got a turnaround when I sang for Raj Kapoor’s production. His movie Prem Rog’s song became very famous and people came to know about the existence of a certain Suresh Wadkar. Before that, I sang a gazal for a film Gaman. This movie’s song Sine me jalan, aankho me toofan sa kyon hai was an instant hit with people of North India.
How did Raj Kapoor take you for his film?
The credit for this goes to Laxmikant-Pyarelalji. Actually, the sad demise of Mukesh had left Raj Kapoor with no choice but to get a new singer onboard. So, Laxmiji told him to listen to song Megha re Megha re, which he had earlier recorded with me. Raj Kapoor liked the song and said that only this boy would sing for his film. That’s how I got work from the Great Showman.
How did you meet Laxmikant-Pyarelal ?
Lataji introduced me to these stalwarts. I sang for the first time for these gentleman only, which was for the film Krodhi and the lyrics were Chal chameli bag me, mewa khilaunga. From then on, I started singing for them. Then, I also sang for Pancham Da. I also sang with Lataji and Asha Tai.
How many song have you sung with Lataji till now?
In my career, Lataji and Asha Bhonsleji have blessed me a lot. There are hundreds of songs which I sang with them.
Which songs do you think gave you popularity?
Songs like “Seene me jalan”, Chandani’s “ Lagi aaj saawan” , Prem Rog, Imaandar’s “Aur iss dil me kya rakha hai”, Megha re megha re, Ram teri Ganga Maili, Heena, and many others put me in the hearts of the people.
Did you become popular before or after the marriage?
Much earlier than my marriage.
You must have been chased after for marriage?
Yes, many people came but I married my student.
But, it’s against the Indian culture.
It’s nothing like that. Actually, I got married at a very late stage. I was 43 when Padma came to learn music from me. There is 18 years of age difference between us. But, Padma was adamant that if she got married, she would marry me only. So, we got married.
So, who proposed first?
Before marriage, how many girls did came into your life?
Actually, very less. Seriously, nobody says so, but I was not that type. Whenever I look up to my friends, I always wondered, how they can waste their precious time in these things. I was brought up in Guru-Shishya parampara. I was trained under the guidance of Pandit Jiyalal Vasant. In these places, you concentrate on your work; you don’t get time for these kinds of activities. So, fortunately, I escaped these activities and remained focussed on my singing.
How many national-international awards have you won?
Two years back, I was given National Award for a Marathi film. I have also been conferred with many awards by the Maharashtra government.
Have you faced any difficulties in life?
By God’s grace, I never faced any tough situation. Audiences love me so much, so how can any difficulty come in my life.
Other than Hindi, in how many other languages have you sung?
I have sung in almost all the Indian languages. My songs in Marwadi language are popular among people. I have also sung in Bengali, Odiya, Punjabi, Sindhi, and Rajasthani languages.
When you sing in a different language, what difficulties do you face?
When people concerned with the film tell me about the situation of the song in the film, I get some ideas. But most importantly, our Devanagiri script is as such that you can write almost any language of the world. So, it’s not that difficult to get in the groove.
Which genre of songs, do you prefer the most?
I like every genre. My Guruji told me that one should mould oneself like water. It takes the colour of anything.
Whom do you like among the new singers of the industry?
Everybody is good. Sonu Nigam, Abhijeet and Shreya Ghosal are very talented.
What will be your message to the new generation singers?
One should make every effort to perfect oneself. Practice is a must apart from getting trained under a good teacher.
These days, songs are getting more westernised. What will you say on this?
Unfortunately, this is a truth. Earlier, importance was given to lyrics but these days it’s more on beats. Lyrics get shrouded by the beats of a song. The beauty of songs is long gone. Now only music is important, which is very sad.
Many Bollywood personalities are taking interest in politics these days. Your take on this.
We should also be represented in the Parliament. Earlier, there used to be a quota for artists, but nepotism has destroyed that system. So, now people from industry are actively interested in politics.
What are your views on Prime Minister Narendra Modi?
Narendra Modi is a person with a far sight. The way he changed the condition of Gujarat, I’m sure he will change the course of the country and steer it towards a better future.
Some people are apprehensive of his communal credentials. Do you feel the same about him?
Not at all. I’m sure he will make a developed India.
What are your expectations from him?
I am extremely hopeful. I believe that he will bring a turnaround in the country and will steer it towards becoming a developed and strong country. He will surely bring about Achhe Din for our country.
(Transcripted by Nilabh Krishna)