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Mika: Even before coming to Bollywood, I was famous

Last updated on: March 27, 2012 16:14 IST

Mika: Even before coming to Bollywood, I was famous

Patcy N in Mumbai

Mika Singh has a lot of attitude and style, and has done even more to make himself famous (remember the controversial Rakhi Sawant kiss?). 

Most recently, he was on Zoom TV's show All Most Famous, which will showcase controversial celebrities such as Pooja Bedi, Sky, Sunny Leone and Rakhi Sawant.
What's with this love of controversies, we ask. "The best part about me is I am everywhere; you can hate me or you can love me but you can't ignore me. And if you don't like to see me, you will still have to listen to me on radio, in pubs, at weddings and birthday parties," he replies.
Mika's real name is Amrik. Every Amrik in Punjab is apparently called Mika, and so that's the name he used for his album. He doesn't use the name Mehendi as his older brother Daler does.

He explains, "Mehendi is not our surname, it is not even any cast in Punjab. Mehendi was a title given to my older brother Daler by Parvej Mehendi, a popular ghazal singer. The name was very lucky for him so everyone in the house (his four brothers) used it. But I wanted to have my own identity so I never used it."

Image: Afsar Dayatar


'Every year, I should give at least four hit songs'

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Mika's first album Sawaan Main Lag Gayi Aag came out in 1998 and few people knew that he was Daler Mehendi's brother then. Even today, he doesn't flaunt the connection.

Mika is the youngest of six brothers. His father, a trained classical singer, sang at kirtans and his mother at Holi functions. Music definitely ran in the family so it's not surprising that the young Mika wanted to be a music director. 

To be a music director, he thought, one had to know how to play all instruments. "I learnt to play almost 40 to 50 instruments, but the trend changed and people started liking my voice so I took to singing. 

"When my first album came out, I was an okay kind of singer. As I started getting popular, I thought I should get trained. I started taking formal training in singing."

Mika believes hard work is the key to his success. "Even now I work hard. I think every year I should give at least four hit songs. I have got a good start this year too with Pungi (Pyaar Ki Pungi from the film Agent Vinod). Last year, I recorded 30 songs, in which one was in Bengali and four in Punjabi."

Image: Mika Singh sings Tenu Main Love Karda from Desi Boyz

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'I adjust according to my circumstances and I never regret anything'

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Mika claims to be happy with whatever he gets. "When I got 100 rupees for a show, I was a happy man and I enjoyed life a lot. Today, whatever I get for my show -- and trust me it is a big amount -- I am a happy man. When I was riding a cycle, I was happy and today when I am driving my Hummer, my dream car, I am the same happy man. 

"I adjust according to my circumstances and never regret anything. Whatever God has given me I am happy with that, then and now," says Mika to prove that success has not changed him.
When Mika wrote his first song Sawaan Main Lag Gayi Aag, there were very few pop singers. "You could say it was just me and Dalerji. We wrote our own songs, composed the music, sang them, and featured in our music video, or performed on stage. I think we were the first pop singers who were a total package."

Has joining Bollywood made him more popular? 

"Even before coming to Bollywood, I was famous. I was popular from day o#8800 people started recognising me since my first album. In fact, Bollywood gained from me after I joined it as they got a nice, good-looking and famous singer," he says without a trace of modesty. 

He rates "Lataji, Ashaji, Sukhwinder paaji, Udit Narayan, and Dalerbhaiya" as his favourite playback singers.

Image: Mika sings song from his first album Sawaan Main Lag Gayi Aag

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'Dalerji lives like a Bollywood or Hollywood star'

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A favourite music director is Pritam. "I have good tuning with Pritamji. When he composes certain songs, it is with me in mind." 
Ganpat was his first Bollywood song. "It was Mumbaiya rap. I did not copy anyone. I was talking in between, then singing. It was written, composed and sung by me."
It's not enough to just have a good song and sing it well. "Many singers have given many songs but are not successful. There has to be packaging, and this packaging I have learnt from Dalerji. Dalerji is popular, successful, and he is a good singer too. He lives like a Bollywood or Hollywood star."

So, what makes Mika happy?

"Some singers are happy when they get an award, some are happy when their song is a hit, some feel happy when they sing for Rahmansaab, or if they have given playback for Shah Rukh Khan. But we don't believe in all these things. We believe that our song should have so much capability that even if Rahmansaab has not composed it, even if only a small music director has worked on it, I will give it my hundred percent and make it a hit."
His songs in small films such as Pyaar Ka Punchnama and Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! have been hits too. It is not necessary for the song to be picturised on a big-time actor. 

Image: Mika Singh sing Ganpat from Shootout at Lokhandwala

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'Whenever I want to sing for any actor, I start chanting his name 500 times'

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He doesn't make pop albums any more and is concentrating on playback singing. "This year it is my target to sing for Mr Bachchan without any approach or any pleading and sweet SMSes to him. I will do it in my style, with my attitude, and that is my challenge."
His "style", he reveals, is "whenever I want to sing for any actor I start chanting his name 500 times and I get to sing his song. I said 'Salman' and I got Dhinka Chika in Ready. I wait patiently to get my desired songs but I don't approach people asking for the songs. 

"Today, Vidya Balan's time has come. She is doing good; she has spent so much time struggling but she has always done good work, so when you do good work, you don't have to talk about yourself; people automatically know about you."
Mika has sung for an audience of two lakh and an audience of three. In Toronto, two lakh people turned up to hear him sing. "I was shocked to see so many Punjabis there." 

His three fans, young kids, couldn't find a CD of his Punjabi song Gabru so their father arranged a special show for them at home. Mika sang for two hours just for those three kids. "For me, my fans matter a lot whether it is one or one lakh. At many of my shows the turnout is just 200 people. My work is to perform for my fans."
He names two songs that changed his image, Hai Dil Ko Teri Arzoo from Lamhaa and Tenu Main Love Karda from Desi Boyz. "I got a big female following (after these). Girls who like love and romance started following me. Before that I had only item songs like Mauja Hi Mauja."

Image: Mika sings Dhinka Chika from Ready

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