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'Rahman is not the culprit, somebody else is'
Patcy N | February 24, 2009
Sukhwinder Singh called a press conference on Monday to celebrate the success of Jai Ho at the Oscars -- which he sung -- but he was mostly bombarded with one single question.
Why didn't he perform at the Oscars when the song he sung was a centrepiece of the evening?
This is what he said in reply.
On not being able to perform at the Oscars
I am not sad that I did not get to go to the Oscars. I would have been there to perform. But there were some problems. I was asked to send my documents for the visa by the production house 20 days before the Oscars. I sent my documents but I don't know what went wrong.
They told me that there is some problem with the visa. I did not ask them what the problem was. I know Rahman is not the culprit, somebody else is.
I will talk to Rahman about this once he returns from the US.
I did not get any call from Rahman for six days after I had sent my papers. I did call him to send him the reminder but he did not revert. What could I do? And by then he was already in Los Angeles.
He did call me after all this and said, 'Don't get upset Sukhi that you are not performing at the Oscars. We will have more shows in America and those will be huge ones. There you will be leading the show.'
I told him that is fine with me.
It is sad to miss an opportunity to sing at such an event. I have been there [to the US] so many times. I don't know what the problem was.
On A R Rahman
I felt that Rahman deserved this award a long time ago. When I heard the songs from Bombay, Rangeela [Images], Roja [Images], I had told him that his songs are at par with the international ones. I told him that he should win a Grammy. But he didn't care for that.
I had told him again during Dil Se and again when I sang the original version Thaiya Thaiya [in Tamil].
Rahman was upset and asked me what is international. Now see, where he is today.
I called him after the Golden Globes and told him that 'this is international.' He started laughing. I am happy that Rahman at last got the long deserved award.
On Jai Ho
When I first heard the lyrics of Jai Ho I thought they were marvellous. I can only sing well if the song has good poetry. And Gulzar [Images]saab had done a good job.
During the recording, I almost started dancing when I was singing.
I sang the song three times as I was enjoying and wanted to improvise more and sing it many times. But Rahman asked me to stop. Rahman said the song is naughty and now you are also getting naughty! He told me that now you have started playing with the song!
When I first heard Jai Ho after the recording, I did not like it much and I told him about it. He told me that the songs should sound like as though a live band was playing the song.
I understood that Rahman was experimenting with this song. And we can't deny the fact that this song is the most happening number now, though I feel that he has done better songs before Jai Ho!
The best part about this song is poetry. When a song is made there are three important things -- the lyricist, the composer who makes it sound beautiful, and the singer.
Gulzarsaab is a very good human being. I told him that the lyrics of this song are like a painting and he told me, 'If you don't sing the song my painting will not be complete.'
Just a few days back, Gulzarsaab called me and told me, 'I am still listening to the song and I think you have sung it brilliantly.'
My relationship with Gulzarsaab is very different. He never gets angry with me. He keeps on telling me, 'The only thing that you have not done is sit on my lap; and some day you will that too!'
On Slumdog Millionaire [Images]
The best part about the movie is its message. It says that it is not necessary to get knowledge only from schools and colleges; you can get it through your personal experiences too.
On whether Rahman is the undisputed king of music
I can't say that. There are many other composers who are equally talented. Vishal Bhardwaj is a great composer. He will be the next person who will go to the Oscars. It will be unfair if one is called the king of music. Plus, he [Rahman] will not like to be called the king.