RMIM Archive Article "271".
From the RMIM Article Archive maintained by Satish Subramanian
# RMIM Archives..
# Subject: Abhijeet - Against All Odds
# Source: Indiaxs (http://www.indiaxs.com)
# Author: ?
From the RMIM Article Archive maintained by Satish Subramanian
Against all odds!
Success in Bollywood is not easy to come by. Especially for play-
back singers, success is very elusive. Despite being gifted with
a melodious voice, an aspiring playback singer in Bollywood has
to struggle and strive consistently to secure a break as a
It was no different for Abhijeet Bhattacharya, better known as
Abhijeet, a popular playback singer today. He had to scale the
ladder of success the hard way. And now that he has managed a
foothold in the film industry, there's no looking back. For a
playback singer who attained stardom with the 'Chandni raat hai
tu mere saath hai..' song for the Salman Khan-starrer Baaghi,
Abhijeet has entrenched himself firmly in the music world, with
several hits to his credit in the past alone, including Teri
ankhen jhuki jhuki (Fareb), Shaher Ki ladki...(Rakshak),
Jhanjhriya...(Krishna), Yeh toh teri payal hai... (Masoom), Tan
tanatan... (Judwaa), Dil de de... (Auzaar) and Allah miyaan...
(Judaai). Be it a Sunil Shetty, a Milind Gunaji, an Indra Kumar,
an Anil Kapoor, an Akshay Kumar, a Saif Ali Khan, or a Salman
Khan, Abhijeet has sung for them all. And be it a Laxmikant
Pyarelal or an A.R. Rahman, Abhijeet has lent his voice to prac-
tically every music director in the business.
It was Abhijeet's passion and zest for music that led to his
entry into playback singing. Hailing from a middle-class Bengali
family from Kanpur (UP), Abhijeet, the youngest of four brothers,
came down to Mumbai in 1981 to study Chartered Accountancy, but
owing to his fascination for melody, he abandoned accountancy
halfway and decided to struggle for a place in Bollywood as a
Currently living in a luxurious apartment in the upmarket
Lokhndwala neighborhood in Mumbai, Abhijeet, in pursuit of his
dream, passed his years of trial and toil in cramped, tiny rooms
and stingy guesthouses; at times, due to economical constraints,
Abhijeet returned to Kanpur a dejected man. Each time being drawn
to the magnetism of Mumbai.
Abhijeet received a new lease of life when famed music director
Ravindra Jain, also hailing from Abhijeet's hometown Kanpur,
offered to allow him to live with him. It was during his stay in
Ravindra Jain's company that Abhijeet's proximity to Bollywood
grew in a phased and gradual manner. He began to visit R.D.
Burman's residence quite often, and frequently got singing
assignments for stage shows of Mohan Govandi, one of his acquain-
tances. Later, following Ravindra Jain's marriage, he shifted to
a Government Colony at Wadala in Mumbai. Around the same time,
with assistance from some of his musician colleagues, Abhijeet
recorded a demonstration -tape featuring three songs in his voice
with a view to promote himself among music directors.
Soon enough, his effort bore fruit. Music director Rajesh Roshan
heard his demo-tape and dubbed four lines of a film song in his
voice. The film was Ek Daku Shaher Mein. Abhijeet's next oppor-
tunity at came when Jagjit Singh gave him the opportunity to
render his voice for a song along with five other singers for
Vikram's film, Nirvan. Abhijeet got R.D. Burman to hear the song,
who, in turn, offered him a break as a full-fledged singer in Dev
Anand's Anand Aur Anand. The song was Waadon ki shaam aayi,
yaaron ke naam aayi..., which Abhijeet recorded along with
Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar. However, now, remembering his
rendition for the song, Abhijeet cannot contain his embarrass-
ment. "I feel so ashamed whenever I hear my voice in that song,"
Abhijeet confesses, "I am glad that there was a gap following
that song. If I were to record a few more songs in a similar
manner, I would've been ousted from the industry long since." The
film failed at the box-office and that meant back-to-square-one.
Fortunately for him,this time Abhijeet didn't have to wait long.
He received his most significant break when music directors
Anand-Milind recorded Chandni raat hai tu mere saath hai.. song
for Baaghi. The film was a runaway musical success. Consequently,
major assignments followed, and the popularity of songs from the
Sanjay Dutt-starrer Sadak and Akshay Kumar-starrer Khiladi took
him several steps up the ladder of success. And it was with the
phenomenal popularity of Ole Ole from the Saif Ali Khan-starrer
Yeh Dillagi that finally accorded him the celebrity status. Ole
Ole was Abhijeet's crowning glory.
Commenting on the art of playback singing, Abhijeet says, "Play-
back singing is a God-given gift. It is an art which cannot be
learnt in any training school. Either you have it, or you don't.
It's a creative skill which doesn't comprise of any technique or
method. Yes, a basic training is vital, but again, how one goes
about benefiting or improvising on it is largely dependent on how
competent a person is."
For Abhijeet, the opportunity of honing his own skills comes
while he is at work. "Singing assignments are the best form of
practicing and honing one's skill," the singer states, "Every
other day, I get to record a new song under a different music
director, and thus, I have to rehearse and rehearse a given song
a number of times before it's finally recorded. This, in effect,
proves to be a good exercise for the vocal chords."
Every professional has an ideal, who serves as a source of
inspiration and encouragement. For Abhijeet, "It's Kishore Kumar.
He has been my ideal all along. No one has so far surpassed him
in the profession; he was an encyclopedia in himself." Abhijeet
attributes his involvement as a playback singer to Kishore Kumar.
"It is because of Kishore Kumar's singing that I find myself in
this profession. Earlier, I had been highly influenced by musical
instruments; I was very fond of playing drums. I wanted to become
a musician, and it was after hearing Kishore Kumar singing that
helped inculcate in me the sense of music."
Abhijeet was in the news some time back for his alleged state-
ments criticising Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the famous music direc-
tor from Pakistan. A query in this connection elicits an immedi-
ate reaction from Abhijeet. "He has abused our country," he
states excitedly. "He said that there's a shortage of talent in
India and that he has come here to settle a score. Now that's an
insult to our nation and our musicians. I objected to this state-
ment made by him because I cannot tolerate an insult to India and
my fellow musicians. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan comes to India and
insults us and our country in public, and we bear it without
reacting. First he maligns our country, and later says that he is
sorry, that he didn't mean to imply this; it's simply ridicu-
Voicing his unhappiness over the issue, Abhijeet expresses his
fondness for the Shiv Sena supremo. "I admire Balasaheb Thackray.
He's like a God to me. I would like to request him to drive Nus-
rat Fateh Ali Khan out of the country for having insulted our
motherland in public. I cannot bear to hear anybody insulting my
country like this."
Abhijeet claims to have sung around 1000 songs so far, of which
about 100have been released, with nearly 60 hit numbers. "I only
hope and pray that I can continue to entertain and be appreciated
by music lovers," he says candidly. "However, I would henceforth
like to concentrate on good numbers. And I hope that I am remem-
bered for my renditions for a long, long time to come."