Known for his energetic voice, smash hit numbers, flashy attitude and zest, singer Mika Singh has been ruling the hearts of the people for quite some time now. In a heart-to-heart conversation, Mika talks about his musical legacy, his acting debut in BALWINDER SINGH FAMOUS HO GAYA, his equation with Shahenshah Amitabh Bachchan, Bollywood Badshah Shah Rukh Khan & much more in our section Music Mania. Read on…
You are born in a musical family. Was it obvious for you to take up music as your career?
I always wanted to do music. All my brothers have been into music. Daler Mehndi, my elder brother, started singing commercially in 1991. His first album 'Bolo Tara Rara' was a huge hit. That was followed by 'Kardi Rab Rab', 'Na Na Na Na Re' and 'Tunak Tunak' all of them were chartbusters. So then in 1998 I decided to get into commercial music. That time I didn't want to be a singer, but I wanted to be a music director. So that is when I came up with my album 'Saawan Main Lag Gayi Aag' which was luckily a hit. That is when I realized that people love me as a singer and I decided to pursue this profession.
What took you so long to establish yourself in Bollywood?
I was already established well before I entered Bollywood. People have the mentality that if a singer doesn't have Bollywood hits then he isn't established. But that is not true. In 2005 my first Hindi song had released, which was 'Tell Me Something' which was followed by 'Dil Mein Baji Guitar' (APNA SAPNA MONEY MONEY). I got that song because I was already established as Pop star. You may take any singer be it Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Atif Aslam, Yo Yo Honey Singh, Shaan, all of them were pop singers. But when they entered Bollywood, they got the exposure. So I was always established, Bollywood songs happened eventually.
You can be called the man with a Golden voice. All your songs are a hit. Your view?
Well, I don't know what to say. I am lucky. But the credit firstly goes to all my fans because of whom I am still what I am. Secondly the music directors who feel that I am the right voice for a particular song. And thirdly, the producers, directors and actors who recommend my name for the songs.
How do you manage to churn out super-hits? Have you caught the audience's pulse?
I sing with all my heart. A song sometimes works, sometimes doesn't. I was lucky that songs like 'Party Toh Banti Hai' (BHOOTHNATH RETURNS), 'Jumme Ki Raat' (KICK), 'Singham' (SINGHAM RETURNS), 'Veeray Di Wedding' (ENTERTAINMENT) worked. So now it has been every month's challenge. People have started expecting more from me. I love doing quality work, but my demand is such that even quality is changing into quantity.
You are a big name in Music industry. What made you step into acting?
Acting was not planned. I did it for my friend Sunil Agnihotri. He was first making the film with Shaan, but another friend Krishan Kumar, of T-Series, asked Sunil to cast me also for the film. I was hesistant at first, because frankly speaking I didn't have time. I keep travelling for shows. I am the only singer of Bollywood who performs 10 shows even in the off season. So it was difficult to take time out. But since my friend forced me, I accepted. Not because I had an acting ka keeda.
How was it shooting for your film BALWINDER SINGH FAMOUS HO GAYA?
It was amazing. Shaan, Gabriela, I, Vindhu all of us have done some great work.
How is Shaan as a co-star?
Shaan is a very good actor. He is amazing. He is perfect as an actor. I don't know why he never pursued acting. He is very humble and sweet guy. He has never shown any attitude.
How difficult was it for you to portray an innocent character on-screen?
I enjoyed a lot. Shaan and I shared great understanding. So it was great fun acting in the film.
What are your expectations from the film?
The expectation is that people should come and watch the film. We have made a very beautiful film.
How was it dancing with Sunny Leone?
She is a sweet girl, just like a small kid and is completely a 'Baby Doll'. She never showed us attitude or tantrums. She is a great dancer. So it was lot of fun working with her.
Amitabh Bachchan said at the film's music launch that since you are debuting as an actor, he has one more competition. What do you have to say about it?
Firstly, that was the biggest day of my life. Amitabh Bachchanji blessed me with his presence. He spent 45 minutes with me. He has been very supportive and that was the biggest gift for me. He is very humble, very great. Coming to Amitji's point, that cannot happen. I don't think in the history of Bollywood, any actor can give Amitabh Bachchan competition. Bachchan saab is a trendsetter. Take his song 'Rang Barse', which he sung it at a time when technology was not that developed. But the song has been amazing. It has become a Holi anthem now. So forget about the competition.
You share great equation with Amitabh Bachchan & his family. Could you share some incident with us?
In 1997, when Shweta was getting married, Daler Mehndi was performing and I used to play guitar for him. That time I met Abhishek. He was so down to earth. I became friends with him that time. Then I met Aishwarya Rai in 1999, during our world tour. I still remember, she had given me a shirt, which I still have it. So I know them since then. Today also, whenever we meet, it is lovely. They all have been superstars, but have never shown that attitude.
Though you had your elder brother Daler Mehndi in the industry, you chose to establish yourself without his help. Any specific reason for it?
For me it was very easy to make my name with Daler Mehndi's name. I could have used his connections easily. But if you want to stay longer in this industry, you need to carve your own identity. Hence I decided to struggle hard and come up in life.
You are often compared with Honey Singh. How do you react to such comparisons?
Firstly, I am not compared to Honey Singh. Rather he is compared to me. He is my younger brother. We have known each other for last 16 years. I had recommended his name for his first song, 'Punjabiyan Di Battery' and even for the second song 'Rani Tu Main Raja'. That was followed by many others. He is very talented. We wanted to work together but then things didn't work out initially. Then finally we decided to come out with an album together, 'Mast Kalandar'.
There have been many new singers who have come up before and after you. Do you take them as a competition?
I have been working since 1998, and there have been many singers who have come and gone. There are very few who make it big. I have been compared to many such singers. Be it Mohit Chauhan, Atif Aslam, Benny Dayal, Neeraj Shridhar and now Arijit Singh, I have been compared to all. But that is how it works. They all are hit and so am I and that is something good. I am not at all jealous of anybody. In fact I am glad that I am being compared to them.
Arijit Singh, Honey Singh and Mika Singh are ruling the music industry. Your take on it?
Arijit Singh is very talented. Honey Singh has that X-factor in him. I feel good when we all entertain the audience. We are the 'Kapoors' of music industry!
Do you consider yourself as the Shah Rukh Khan of music industry?
No! Nobody can be SRK. There is only one Shah Rukh Khan and he is the King. He is my best friend, brother. In fact, I am singing for SRK for the first time in HAPPY NEW YEAR. So it is nothing like I'm the King or something. I have no interest in being the king, though my heart is king size! I just want to sustain in Bollywood.
You have broken the notion of camps in Bollywood by working with all. How did you manage that?
I believe in doing work with all. If SRK is my friend, I also share good relation with Salman Khan. I have broken all camps just like Katrina Kaif, who has managed to work with all – SRK, Salman, Aamir, Akshay and Ranbir!