She is a hit machine churning chartbusters one after another. With songs like ‘Pareshaan, ‘Lat lag gayee’, ‘Daaru desi’, ‘Balam pichkari’ and now ‘Chingam chabake,’ Shalmali Kholgade is creating ripples in the world of Bollywood music. With so much good happening around the 25-year-old singer, Shalmali shares her success story with Niharika in an interview.
On chewing and crooning ‘Chingam’
First of all, I am absolutely thrilled to have a duet with the inimitable Shankar Mahadevan on a song composed by the master duo Vishal Shekhar. When I was called in to record my parts for Chingam Chabake, Shankar Mahadevan had already sung his part. There was so much life in the song with his voice and the magical arrangement of the track that it really felt like I had to do very little to add to the spunk in the track.
Any road blocks on way
There has been no ‘struggle’ as such to where I have reached so far and I still have a long way to go. I would have rather liked to prove myself a little more before success came my way. But I’m grateful for everything. It has made me more responsible. There’s nothing like handling sudden popularity. No one recognises me off stage and I can lead my life like a normal person. I like it this way. If someone does recognise me, I make sure I make them feel like I’m just like them.
Singing for Bollywood stars
I think the best part about singing for stars is people assume probably I am friends with them and hang out with likes of Parineeti Chopra, Deepika Padukone and Jaqueline Fernandes.
Singing in different languages
I don’t have a preference. I don’t want to make a choice. I want to do as much of everything that I can. At this stage that is best for me. Yes, I love languages and it is very enjoyable preparing for a dub in a language other than Hindi, English or Marathi. There are a lot of lovely sounds you realise you can make that you didn’t know of.
Favourite stars to sing for
It really doesn’t matter which actor I sing for. My work stops at the music. I want to sing interesting and challenging songs. That is what is most important for me. My favourite song is the one I sang for a Marathi film called Pune 52. The song is called Jag Saare Badle.
From being a singer to a star
I think playback singers get enough attention. The other musicians who play for film songs should get the attention they deserve.
Plans Beyond Bollywood
As of now, I’m only doing Bollywood shows and recording for films. But in the past I’ve played a part in a Latvian Cabaret named Bombaloo. I used to sing, dance and act in it. We toured in Russia and Armenia and also did shows in India.
On my wish list
I want to collaborate with Nitin Sawhney whose music I really admire. I want to work with AR Rahman of course. I also would love to do a track with Beyoncé someday. My dream project is to do a musical on stage where I can sing, dance and act.