Sonu Nigam – the most dynamic singer of Bollywood.
When Mohammad Rafi died in 1980, a number of producers in bollywood were concerned about the fate of playback singing with respect to those stars like Dilip Kumar or Shammi Kapoor, who were indebted with Rafi’s voice. A number of playback singers Shabbir Kumar, Anwar, Mohammad Aziz, who used Rafi’s singing style tried to fill up the vacuum created by his untimely death, but the audience could not forget Rafi and the search for singers having similar amount of sweetness of voice never ended.
Sonu Nigam, born on 30th July, 1973, gained the attention of music lovers across the country with his popular music competition TVS Saregama featured in the Television which viewers in India and abroad enjoyed for a long period of time. He brought legendary composers like Naushad, OP Nayyar, Khayyam, etc., to the program and gained respectability in the minds of musical experts. At the age of 3 years, he joined his father Agar Kumar Nigam on stage in singing Rafi’s song “kya hua tera wada”. He learnt music from Ustad Maha Kanjar Naveed. He sang a number of Rafi’s songs in T Series and his song “accha sila diya tune mere pyar ka” familiarised his voice with the Indian audience.
He made the youth of the country spellbound with westernised tunes and romantic presentation in his private album titled Diwana. His prominent songs include “kuch tum socho, kuch hum soche”, “diwana, mai hu diwana tera”, etc. Slowly all the leading composers in bollywood showed faith in Sonum Nigam and he became a phenomenon. Gradually his other albums “Jaan”, “Yaad”, “Chandan ki doli”,
His songs in JP Dutta’s film Border and Refugee, composed by Anu Malik touched the minds of young and old, all sections of the society. Significantly, the lyrics written by Javed Akhtar were also meaningful. Popular songs include “mere humsafar, mere humsafar”, “panchi nadiya”, “hume jab se mohabbat ho gaya hai”, “sandese ate hai”, etc. His songs in the film Pardes, titled “yeh dil diwana”, song titled “satrangi re” from the film Dil Se, also attracted the attention of music lovers.
With providing hits one after the other he caught the attention of composer AR Rehman and made his presence felt in the minds of music lovers with songs “sathiya sathiya” from the film Saathiya, which not only gave him fame but also provided him the filmfare award for the best singer in 2002. He had inherent classical touch in his voice which wa well exploited by AR Rehman. His songs in the film Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gum, titled “suraj hua madhyam”, film Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai titled “is pyar ko” entertained the audience. Just like Rafi, Sonu Nigam, provides very strong expression in the songs and by this period of time had evolved his own style of singing.
In 2003, Sonu Nigam again won the filmfare award for the best singer with the song “kal ho na ho” in the film Kal Ho Na Ho. He also won the national film award for singing in the same film. In recent years his television program Indian idol, which was based on musical competition, where he participated as one of the judges along with Anu Malik and Farah Khan had mesmerised viewers across India and abroad. In his statements towards young singers, he strongly expresses his respect for Mohammad Rafi, once he said to one of the participants “mera gana gana tumhare bus me hai, Rafisahab ka gana gaan tumhare bus se bahar hai”.
He also acted in a number of films and participated in programs organised on All India Radio. In the last few years his songs in most of the successful films of bollywood are memorised by the youth and many upcoming singers consider him as role model. His successful songs in the recent years include “pal pal” from Lage Raho Munna Bhai, “humko maloom hai” from Jan-e-Mann, “kabhi alvida na kehna” from Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, “piyu bole” from Parineeta, “Salaam-e-ishq” from Salaam-e-ishq, etc. Even in the middle of strong competition from different types of singers in bollywood, Sonu nigam has created a style of his own and is scheduled to make major contribution for bollywood films in years to come. The songs from his successful films should be restored for new singers who are interested to use the classical skills taught by major gurujis in India in both eastern and western songs.