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Last Updated 17.10.2019 | 9:47 PM IST
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The Hit Machine – Neeraj Sridhar

From being a rank outsider, Neeraj Shridhar is climbing the Bollywood ladder of success

Given that three of the recent hit movie songs, Aahun aahun, Chor bazaari and Twist- all from Love Aaj Kal-have been sung by one Neeraj Shridhar, it’s surprising to most people he’s still the Bombay Vikings guy. “I agree my schedule is not chock-full with work I get from the film industry, but then, I’m not going to sit around pleading to get recognition,” he says, seated in his small but state-of-the-art studio created in his Versova house. “I’ve already been a star.”


This stardom that Shridhar talks about came fairly early. As the frontman of the Indo-Swedish outfit Bombay Vikings, he was a well-known face and voice and songs like Kya soorat hai and Woh chali soared to the top of Indi-pop charts. He recounts happily the times that he toured the world and movie stars came up to him and told him how much they love his music. He counts among them Salman Khan, Aamir Khan and Karisma Kapoor. But as the old saying goes, fame is a fickle friend, which he found out soon enough. “I already had so much name and fame, I didn’t really need to come and try my luck in Bollywood. But you know how it is- there’s always this fire inside one’s belly, urging one to go on and keep trying more.”


As he found out, Bollywood is an entirely different game. “I guess people want to test my mettle, before they really let me perform their compositions.” says Shridhar. “Initially, I did get angry and resentful that I wasn’t getting the kind of work that I wanted. But now I’ve matured. I know that things will happen at the right time.”
Not many people have used Shridhar’s distinctive voice in their music. Pritam Chakraborty, who he regards as a brother, is the one music director who’s really used him well-in Kismat Konnection, Singh Is Kinng, Love Aaj Kal and Billu, among others. Shridhar’s slightly husky voice goes well with high energy numbers like Twist and Aai pappi and he even composed the hit Rockin’ and reelin’ from Billu. But his talent with such songs has been a bit of a double-edged sword. “People keep asking me when I will sing a ballad, as if I have to do that to prove my talent. Why shouldn’t I be judged on what I’ve already done? Everything has its place.”


The musician now has his eyes set firmly on the future. He dreams of putting together an album with the kind of music that he wants to create. “Blues and soul and stuff that nobody else does or wants to. Pritam and I have already discussed this and we’re sure we want to put together an album of the music that we like.” Another dream, already in the works, is of a studio in Pune, which will have four or five recording studios along with apartments for recording artists, swimming pools, tennis courts and other amenities. “I’ve already bought the land. It’ll be built soon, so you can come and interview me there, next time,” he laughs.

Screen India

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