SURESH WADKAR tells JYOTHI VENKATESH that though the technique of recording has improved over the years, the soul is missing these days 

Tell us about your latest album Shabd Maajhe Arth Tu!
It is a romantic album in Marathi. It is quite close to my heart because it is for the first time that my wife Padma has sung some romantic numbers with me.  It is Padma’s first album for which she ahs sung Marathi numbers though her mother tongue is Malayalam

How did the idea to come up with the album emanate?
When I had gone to London for one of my concerts last year, my London based friend Nishikant met me at a party there and told me that he had opened a few lines and wanted me to sing for the album with Padma. I promised that I would sing with Padma if he worked on his lines. He came down to India with the songs and we recorded the album in less than six months

Why do we not hear you more often in Hindi films these days like in the past?
I have been singing for the past thirty years. From Jaidevji and Lakshmikant-Pyarelal to Ilayaraja and A.R. Rahman today, I have sung for almost every music director. I just cannot bring myself to go and promote myself as a singer by selling myself to various music composers. I have always believed in living on my own terms and conditions as a singer all through my life all these years and I do not intend budging from my stand.

Some music directors say that your voice does not suit the heroes of today!
Do you think music directors like Lakshmikant –Pyarelal who ruled the rostrum at one point of time were mad enough to make me sing the maximum number of songs for heroes like Rishi Kapoor in films like Prem Rog? When most of today’s music directors, with the exception of a few do not even know what kind of music will be accepted by the audience today, how can they decide that my voice will not suit the leading men?

Do you think your voice can suit any actor today?
Why not? A singer should be like water and be able to gel with the voice of any actor, like water mixes up with any color. Why do you think the audience has accepted even those singers who playback sufi numbers for the leading men today?

What do you think about the music reality shows today?
I am glad that these music reality shows help unearth talented new singers who otherwise would not be able top get the right platform to project their talent. These shows are a boon to the wannabe singers because at least they stand a chance of being picked up by music directors to record their songs. Not every star discovered by these reality shows is able to survive as a singer in the film industry because it entirely depends on their talent and luck.

Do you like being a judge in any reality music show?
I was a judge in the Little Champs show. I liked the process of being a guide to these new singers. If you do not see me in any more of these shows as a judge, the era son is very simple. I am not a celebrity like some of the other judges and since it is the trend to take on only celebrities or stars as the judges, I have not got any more offer to be a judge from any channel after Little Champs.  

Whether it is Udit Narayan or for that matter Kumar Sanu or Shankar Mahadevan or Adesh Srivastav, these days every one seems to be more busy judging than recoding songs!

What is the harm? When money comes, why should any one say no to it? The biggest advantage of these shows is that singers who used to be only heard earlier are now well known faces and people can visualize the faces of the singers when they hear their songs now.

How receptive are you to singing remixes?
I am not personally in favor of singing remixes. I should hasten to add that till date no one has asked me to sing any remix of either my own song or that of any other singer.

In what way has film music changed today with the advent of the modern recording techniques?
Today no doubt that singing has undergone a radical change for the better with a singer recording even a duet all alone separately unlike in the past when all singers used to sing in unison at a recording studio. However I feel that the soul is what is missing these days. -(SAMPURN)

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