I think actors should stick to acting, says 'Bolna' singer Asees Kaur – Singer Asees Kaur doesn’t mince words, but adds a disclaimer… if they’re not autotuned, they’re welcome to sing. If they are, well… where’s the feel?
Born in Panipat, Haryana, Asees Kaur won tremendous appreciation for having learnt and sung the Gurbani at the age of 5. A participant of music reality show Indian Idol 6, Kaur forayed into playback singing in Bollywood. Despite starting off in 2014 with Tamanchey, her claim to fame is the song Bolna from Kapoor & Sons which went on to top the charts in 2016. We caught up with the singer who’s done a lot of reprised versions. Excerpts:
You’ve done a lot of cover versions. Do you want to be known as a cover artist?
I’m a playback singer. The cover versions that you’ve seen, as you must have noticed, are by Zee Music Company. So they’re not released as ‘cover versions’, they’re released as ‘Asees Kaur Versions’. They wanted me to record the female versions of the songs sung by the male singers. Since they’re released by the music company itself, they’re not actually covers. So we’ve done it like the versions we do, like reprise versions, it’s the same thing like that and it’s quite popular these days.
Over the past three years, you don’t have too many big songs to your name, save for Bolna…
Bolna has been a very famous song because it belonged to a big film, big production house, big banner, so it got picked up very quickly by the audience. Everyone loved it. Apard from Bolna I've also done 'Bandeya' in Jazbaa and that was Aishwarya Rai's film. Few people know that but it was also released last year only. There has been Tamanchey, but that was a short budget film with a new cast so the songs couldn't be picked up that much. There was a song 'Dildara' in that film. So there have many songs, like there was 'Bhangada Pa' in A Flying Jatt and others. So there have been quite a few songs but 'Bola' has always topped the list. May be because of the banner thing because the big banner songs always get more preference.
You will be performing at the Bollywood Music Project. Will you be performing a duet with anyone?
I’m performing with Mohd Irrfan and Pawni Pandey. All three of us will be performing together, like in the same set.
Which Bollywood composers are in your bucket list to work with as far as playback singing is concerned?
For the bucket list, you can say, there’s definitely AR Rahman saab and Amit Trivedi. I’m definitely looking forward to working with them someday.
Your thoughts on singers facing uncertainty after singing scratches…
I feel very bad about it because every singer, when we are called to sing a song we get emotionally attached to the song because then only we can give our best na. So we get emotionally attached and the same song is then sung by 3 or 4 singers and you never know whose song will be finalised. As for me, it's very torturing, but you can't help it. Like it has become a norm in the industry and we can't blame the music directors for it because they are pressurised by the producers, like a lot of things happen and a lot of people have their say. Producers have their say, the directors, music directors and now-a-days even actors have their preferences. So we can't say anything. Obviously, we feel bad about it. Because when we sing and it's not in the movie we feel a little hurt. But we can't help it. Let's see for how long this trend goes on because after sometime, the trends change. So let's see what happens.
Should actors be encouraged to sing or they should do their job and fresh talent should be given a chance instead?
II would definitely say that actors should stick to acting only because there are a lot of singers and there's enormous talent in our own country. So there's no need for actors to sing. Because it's basically for more publicity and promotions, if an actor sings then the song gets more weightage. But if an actor can sing without the use of auto tuner then he's most welcome to sing, please sing because then you're singing like a singer only, with the same feel and the same technicality. Then they're at the same level with the singer. But if you'r using auto tune and making your voice sound good, then that is not a good thing to do. My point of view would be that actors can definitely sing, they have their own life and their own choices but it's better to use singers for the songs.