Quite a few Bollywood singers are being approached to sing in Telugu movies nowadays. While the trend is not be new, with Mohammad Rafi lending his voice for NTR decades ago and Udit Narayan among others taking the trend ahead in the ’90s and 2000s, it is in the last few years that Tollywood music directors are making it a point to have at least one song by a Bollywood singer in most of their movies.
Vishal Dadlani, who will be making his Tollywood singing debut with Sarrainodu’s Athiloka Sundari says, “I’ve sung in Tamil, Marathi, Bengali and Punjabi earlier, apart from Hindi and English. I’m proud to add Telugu to the list as well. It takes a little hard work to get the pronunciations right, but I’m happy to do that out of respect to the listeners. That apart, music is music, there’s no real difference.”
Not just Vishal, music director S.S. Thaman has also roped in Shreya Ghoshal, Jubin Nautiyal, Brijesh Shandilya and Hard Kaur for Sarrainodu.
“We (music directors) generally look for new voices, and if a popular singer sings a song, it gets a good reception. So that’s the reason we often rope in Bollywood singers... We try to introduce something new and fresh for Telugu listeners,” says Thaman, adding, “Vishal’s energy levels are very high and I wanted to work with him. I sent his voice to Bunny (Allu Arjun) and he liked it too. I composed the song at Yash Raj Studio in Mumbai. It took Vishal just 30 minutes to sing the song.”
Nakash Aziz, the voice behind popular songs like Afghan Jalebi and the Fan anthem, meanwhile has lent his voice for songs in Sardaar Gabbar Singh (Tauba Tauba) and Sarrainodu (Blockbuster).
“I have always had great experiences singing Tamil and Telugu numbers. I do get nervous before singing. But the challenge is to sound convincing and emote the song as you would in your native language. Also, most of the times it is a good idea to give the music composer the entire control so they can guide the singer better,” says Nakash, adding, “Singers from down South, like Karthik, who is a brilliant singer, should get Bollywood songs as well,” he adds.
“Music directors might be looking for a certain kind of voice hence they are open to Bollywood singers,” believes Neeti Mohan, who has sung in the Anushka Shetty-starrer Size Zero. “With varied singers the song gets some freshness and music lovers get to hear different voices as well. Giving such platforms to Bollywood singers down South should be appreciated. I personally write down the songs in Hindi — this enables me to sing it with perfection. As far as the pronunciation is concerned, we have translators who correct us while rehearsing.”
Rahul Pandey, who sang Akhil’s title song and Alare Aala in Soukhyam says, “In my case, music director Anup Rubens called me because he wanted a young and fresh voice for Akhil. He had auditioned many people before me. I’m a North Indian and normally it’s difficult to work with non-Telugu singers because of their diction, but Anup was impressed with mine. The song Hey Akhil went on to be a hit. Anup later said that he would try me for different songs and that’s how I got my second Tollywood song in Soukhyam. I had to give a few retakes because I couldn’t pronounce all the words correctly in one go. I decided to ask Anup for the meaning of each sentence because it’s equally important for a singer to emote while he/she sings.”
Kailash Kher, who has sung many hit Telugu numbers says, “I have sung many Tamil/Telugu numbers. I have recently also lent my voice for Nirmala Convent. My song has been received well and has been liked by music lovers. If you are passionate about your work then there will be no looking back, you will be able to grasp the lyrics and sing in any language. I am a North Indian but I am singing for Tollywood films. It’s always quality over quantity that matters and because of their talent, musical fraternities from all over the country approach singers.”
— With inputs from Lipika Varma and Subhash K. Jha...