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'For me my relationship with Salman Sir is important'

By Subhash K Jha
Last updated on: May 30, 2016 16:57 IST
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Arijit SinghHas Salman Khan accepted Arijit Singh's apology? Subhash K Jha speaks to the singer to find out.

Salman Khan is known not to forgive easily, as industry folk know. A public statement made by Arijit Singh at an awards function in 2104, where the singer apparently poked fun at Salman, did not go down well with the superstar.

The Tum hi ho singer recently posted an apology letter to Salman on Facebook, but later deleted it when his fans protested.

Arijit is desperate to mend fences with Salman as he doesn't want his song deleted from Sultan. Salman, who hasn't reacted to the apology yet, is seemingly in no mood for a patch-up.

Here is what Arijit Singh has to say about the whole controversy.

Your fans did not like your public apology to Salman Khan.

I have no regrets about it. I know where my fans are coming from and I understand their concern. But I did what I had to do. This song in (the Salman Khan starrer) Sultan which was deleted was very important.

Isn't every song equally important for you? Why this one?

When you see the film, you'll get to know why it's so special. And it's really not just about the song.

Then what is it about?

See, I told everyone associated with the song that they shouldn't record with me because Mr Salman Khan is not on cordial terms with me.

What exactly happened between the two of you?

I'll tell you. This was my first awards function. I wasn't prepared to go for it because I was editing a song for my mentor, Pritamda (composer Pritam Chakbraborty). But Mukesh Bhattji, who was a jury member for that particular awards function, insisted I come for it. And since the Bhatts' Aashiqui 2 was the beginning of my career in Bollywood, I couldn't say not to him.

And then?

I was working for Pritamda in my casuals and I had a flight to catch. So I went in my casual chappals and clothes to the function. I didn't realise a lot of people would feel I was insulting the occasion.

Once you reached the function in your chappals, then what?

As you know, these awards functions go on for hours. I was very tired and meri aankh lag gayi (I dozed off). When my name was announced for the award, someone had to wake me up. I know it was wrong. But I was really tired.

Why did Salman take this personally?

While I was walking up to the stage, they started capturing images of me in my chappals and casuals. On stage, Salman Khan was laughing in disbelief saying, "Tu hai winner (You're the winner)?" When I got on stage, he asked if I had fallen asleep. In my nervousness I blurted out, "Aap logon ne sula diya (You all put me to sleep)," and immediately bit my tongue.

Is this what has upset Salman?

I think so. I don't know of any other insult. I shouldn't have done what I did.

Did you apologise to him?

At the very moment he handed me the award, I whispered, "Sorry," into his ear. I couldn't say more at that function.

When I came down from the stage, I couldn't find my seat so I started walking away. Salman Sir saw that and commented, "Look at this guy. He has collected his award in chappals and now he's walking away." I got really scared and didn't know what to do.

What did you do?

That night, on my flight, I kept thinking about the incident and felt sorry about it. When I reached Kolkata, I texted him . He texted me back saying I shouldn't have dressed so casually for the function and I should respect the awards. I was happy he rebuked me as a senior and that he had got the anger out of his system. I didn't know he was still angry.

When did you realise he was still angry?

When I recorded a song for Meet Brothers in Kick. They called me saying Bhai doesn't want to keep the song. I realised he was still angry and started apologising again. I asked for an opportunity to meet him and apologise personally. I told him not to be angry, that I was just a newcomer.

Then came Bajrangi Bhaijaan. Did you lose out on a song in that film too?

Gaya nahin (I didn't sing for Bhajrangi Bhaijaan). I was helping Pritmada with the music. When I was being considered for a particular song, Bhai vetoed it. Pritamda told me he won't record any song with me because he might have to remove my voice.

I stopped working on the music of Bajrangi Bhaijaan with Pritamda. I again apologised to Salman Bhai. I thought time would heal the hurt. I hoped it would be fine in 5-10 years. I left it at that.

Then what?

I was out of Mumbai when I got a call from Vishal Dadlani saying I have to come to Mumbai immediately to record a song for Sultan. I was really excited. I felt Salman Sir had finally forgiven me. I went to Mumbai and recorded the song. It's an amazing song.

Vishal called to say Salman Sir also liked the song. I thought everything was okay. I planned to dedicate the song to Salman Sir after the release, go to his house, thank him, etc. Then I got an SMS from Vishal Dadlani. He informed me my song couldn't be kept in Sultan. Vishal said Salman Sir had forgiven me but I couldn't sing for him.

Why didn't you leave it at that?

If I hadn't sung it right, I would've left it. I asked Vishal Dadlani if I should try to talk to Salman Sir. He said I should but it wouldn't change the status quo regarding the song. I kept thinking about the situation. At Nita Ambaniji's son's birthday I met Salman Sir. I had left the party when someone informed me that Salman Sir had arrived. I went back. I couldn't miss the opportunity to talk to him.

He ignored you?

No, we spoke. I apologised again. He said he was okay and that it was all good but I could sense the coldness. After the Sultan song incident, I tried calling him and texted him to not remove the song since I had worked hard on it. I wanted to sing for Salman Sir.

What is your thought on the situation now?

I am really hurt. If I had not sung the song well, I would have been okay. But there's no reason for getting it removed. When I was told it was removed, I wasn't in Mumbai. If I was, I'd have gone straight to Salman Sir's home. Rather than try to reach him through mutual friends, I decided to write my apology on Facebook. I knew it would go viral. It happened in an hour. I knew of the impact of my action.

No regrets?

No regrets. I have no shame in saying I wanted that song in Sultan. I knew some would misunderstand my Facebook apology. But it doesn't matter. For me, the song is important. And my relationship with Salman Sir is important. He has to forgive me some day. I didn't mean to insult him.

Photograph: Abhijit Mhamunkar

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Subhash K Jha in Mumbai
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