National Award-winning singer Hariharan says he has had a long career and is thankful to his fans for supporting him for more than 40 years. But he would give up singing if he is unhappy about his singing.
The veteran, who calls Mumbai his home, has received honours like the Padma Shri, Kerala State Film Award, Tamil Nadu State Film Award and Filmfare Award, apart from bagging the National Award twice.
"I have had a long career. I will keep singing till I am happy about my singing. I love my fans. I would like to thank my fans for supporting me. They have made Hariharan. When you sing, they give you so much love. That gives you more strength to go on and on," Hariharan told IANS in a telephonic interview.
So no plans of retiring anytime soon?
"When I feel like, I will say 'That's it'," said the singer, known for crooning songs like "Nahin samne", "Mere dushman mere bhai", "Vidu Kathaiya" and "Vennilavae".
What would he do after giving up music?
"I have a tea estate. Maybe I will go and look after that," said the sexagenarian.
Asked about the best phase of his career, he responded by saying: "Every day. Today was the best phase of my career. I had a ball singing at Hungama. I know what I have performed and how fans react to me. That's important. Today is important, tomorrow is important."
But he agrees that everyone has ups and downs.
"Downs give you more inspiration to sing and work harder. Then there's a high when you just move your hand, sing a note and lakhs of people say 'Wow'. I have seen that also," he shared.
Last week, he also enjoyed performing at Hungama Spotlight, which is a live and in-conversation performance activity that takes place at Mumbai's Hungama office regularly.
"Mumbai audience are very loving," he said.
He also has more music coming up — including a single with his Colonial Cousins band member Lesle Lewis. In the 1990s, they delivered a number of hit songs like "Krishna" and "Sa ni dha pa".
"We are planning to come out with a single. Doing an album is not… an immediate plan but we are definitely doing a single. It is still in the working stage," said Hariharan.
He had even unveiled "Afsaane", a romantic ghazal, in July. Sung and composed by Hariharan, music was produced by his son Akshay. Its music video featured Karan, also his son.
Asked about the joint effort with his sons, he said: "It's great working with family. They are like friends. We share so many things, talk about so many things… in work also. I am happy that at this stage of my life, I am working with my kids."
"I will be there for them whenever they need me. If they call me, I have to go."
Hariharan also sang a Ganesh Chaturthi song this year. Are these projects keeping him away from Bollywood?
"We never keep away from Bollywood. Bollywood is keeping away from me. Number one, I am choosy. Number two, my kind of songs are being made less. Also, there are so many young singers who are singing now. They have a huge fan following. Composers are of the same age so, they relate to them better," he said.
Praising Bollywood's current favourite singer Arijit Singh, he said: "Everybody has a high point in their career, and Arijit is a very good singer. I wish him all the best. He is very popular."
He also had kind words for legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar, who turned a year older on September 28.
"Lataji is epitome of singing. I have tremendous respect for her. I have worked with her, sung with her for so many stage shows and duet songs. She has always been so sweet and kind to me."
"If you listen to her music, a singer can learn so much from what she has done in her life. Lataji has created a standard which is almost impossible to reach, but we can learn so much. Her singing is like a music university," he said about the melody queen with whom he has given chartbusters like "Kabhi main kahoon" and "Chhai chhap chhai chhap ke chhai".
By Natalia Ningthoujam