PM Modi Is Head Of Family; Must Be Respected: Sonu Nigam

| Updated: 17 September, 2022 7:18 pm IST

Sonu Nigam, who has belted out countless popular numbers in his silky and sonorous voice, speaks to Rohan Dua, the executive editor of The New Indian, about how he got his first break and the Padma award bestowed on him. Part 2 of the interview:

Rohan Dua: Do you still agree with what you said earlier that Aazaan should not be played on loudspeakers?

Sonu Nigam: See I talked about the loudspeaker. Once I said it then people threatened to slit my throat and asked my head to be tonsured. After that Saudi Arabia banned loudspeakers. What I said happened. Those who don’t want to listen, it’s up to him. There were some renowned people who said yes, Aazaan shouldn’t be played on loudspeakers but Sonu Nigam’s songs should also not be played on them.

In the same tweet, I mentioned gurudwara and temple…so I am a fair person. My songs are never played on loudspeakers at 5 am. Whenever there’s a concert, I have to take permission for singing songs in enclosed areas and within a limited time frame till 10 pm.

Rohan Dua: Once you were a favourite of almost all the filmmakers Karan Johar, David Dhawan, J P Dutta, and Subhash Ghai sahab. Where did you find most peace and a sense of gratification while working?

Sonu Nigam: I don’t judge people. I enjoyed working with so many people. Sometimes, I wept after listening to the songs. I enjoyed working with Raju Hirani ji, Lata (Mangeshkar) ji, and Karan Johar, of course. It is difficult to take the name of all the people but there are lots of people. Sometimes, I forget the names of some composers. So people touch you in many ways.

Rohan Dua: I want to congratulate you that this country put so much faith and trust in you. So did the political leadership when they recognized and feted you with the Padma award. How proud did you feel on receiving the Padma awards, What does it mean to you today?

Sonu Nigam: Let me tell you very frankly… since the last 22-23 years, they have been telling me about me being nominated for the Padma award. I am a very experienced player in my profession. Sa Re Ga Ma started in 1995. Today, you are listening to the songs that have the impact of Sa Re Ga Ma that changed the people. People are taking music seriously. People came to the show and talked about classical music. Earlier, people had no interest in classical music. I raised a generation. Since 1998, every year I used to get a message about my nomination for the Padma awards. When I was younger, it had value. Some people told me to fill the nomination but this is not the way to get the Padma Shri. I stopped thinking about it. When I got a call from the government of India, at that time I was in Kolkata on a shooting. The person from the ministry said the Government of India has bestowed Padma Shree on you. I instantly replied, “don’t you think it’s been too late?” I was upset and bursting with infuriation since I thought why did they take such a long time to confer this award? I saw people who entered the industry 15 years after I did getting the award six years before me.

I talked to myself after the call. Did I lobby for this? It came on its own. It is a blessing of god. After a while, I got to know Ajay Chakraborty, a pundit of classical music, who recommended my name. So, it is pure because it came from that path. Then I wrote, “Humbly accepted…thank you so much.” Still, people have love and affection for me in their hearts. They meet me like I am a 21-year-old Sonu Nigam of Sa Re Ga Ma. There’s no bigger achievement for me than this. After that, I told my father about the award and he started crying and informed my mother-in-law and the whole family. My son, who calls me Chotu, was very happy while witnessing all this and he felt very proud to be a part of it all. For all of us, it was a memorable experience.

Rohan Dua: How was that meeting: between you, Prime Minister, and President? What was it like?

Sonu Nigam: I had already met PM Modi ji. He knows that we are fond of his work. Baap Baap Hota Hai (about Modi — no one can match a father). So we have respect for the Prime Minister. He is head of family, father of India, and should be respected. We always look up to the head of the state or nation with respect. Walking up to the president was very special and I missed my mother at that moment. If my mother were there, she would have been very happy.

Rohan Dua: Yes. These are treasures for a lifetime. You are 49 today. But you don’t look like 49. That you have the Padma now, what do you want to achieve in the next 10 years from now?

Sonu Nigam: Nothing. One day at a time. No ambition, no dream, no goal, no aspiration. Yes, one thing is that I want good health. I want a death that comes to me instantly. I don’t want a death caused by a lot of suffering. So, I don’t have any goals. Wherever God wants to take me, I will go drifting there, I don’t want to tell God what to do for me, I want to see what he does. Earlier, I planned a lot but I have seen dreams getting shattered. If I didn’t have a voice, how could I have been a singer or practiced singing?

Rohan Dua: Your voice is a God’s gift. I still find it unbelievable for a man of Sonu Nigam’s stature to do riyaaz.

Sonu Nigam: You can ask Sara (my wife) how much I practice. After a point of time, you cannot fix your life.  Nowadays, you can sit in a car practicing with tanpura playing in your car. You can riyaaz inside the car or on a flight. There is no need to take out time for practice.

Rohan Dua: You also chose to have an alternative career in the Middle East, but you also chose to reside there as well. Was it a conscious effort that you wanted to move there?

Sonu Nigam: No, not at all, I never planned life. I always tell people: never plan. Everything goes by itself. I don’t know why my son said he wants to study in Dubai. My wife also consented. Most of my friends are also there. In 2009, we were about to shift to the US. We have taken the green card, my son is a citizen of the US. So from that time, we were thinking of giving international exposure to my son.

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