From Chittiyaan Kalaiyaan to Tukur Tukur — Kanika Kapoor has earned a place for herself in the Hindi music industry with her catchy, upbeat and fun songs. The singer, who never shies away from experimenting with her range of music, recently sang the T-Series song Oo Bolega ya Oo Oo Bolega for the superhit film Pushpa, which has struck a chord with many.
In an exclusive conversation with indianexpress.com, the singer opened up about the song, challenges in the music industry, Covid-19 and her equation with Mira Kapoor.
You recently sang the much-loved Oo Bolega ya Oo Oo Bolega. Tell us more about it.
It’s a very different song, different from everything else that I have done. It was my first time collaborating in the South film industry. It has been an amazing opportunity and a great film to be a part of. I’m very, very honoured. The song is quite sensual. It talks a lot about men and their ways — which has been a subject of controversy. But it’s a great number with great beats and Samantha Ruth Prabhu has done a brilliant job in it.
How different was your experience of working in the south film industry as compared to Bollywood?
I was invited to come to Chennai and record the song. I loved how the process was so easy, very professional, straightforward and very respectful. I knew all the way what the outcome of the song would be — in terms of whether I was going to be the voice or not. That way, everything was quite certain. Sometimes, I have done songs with important people and there had been a lot of uncertainties about everything till the last minute.
How do you keep up with the challenges of working in the music industry, where sometimes it’s uncertain if your voice will be eventually finalised?
A few times, it has hurt me. At times, we had done the music and everything had been mastered but due to different reasons, things didn’t work out and they just changed the voice. It has happened many times with me. In this case, at least, I knew what’s going to happen. I loved how DSP Sir welcomed me, assured me and treated every musician with the respect that they deserve. It’s quite rare to find in today’s day and age.
How was it working with Sunny Leone again for Madhuran after your superhit collaboration in the past?
Working with Sunny Leone has always been like home. She has always rocked every song of mine. We had to change the lyrics of this song midway, which was a bit of a bummer. It went from Madhuban Me Radhika to Panghat Pe Premika. It was difficult to change this midway when the song was doing well and suddenly the lyrics got changed. That was not a great experience. That’s just ‘Incredible India’. It’s my country which I’m proud of but sometimes, it can be difficult.
There has been a rise in virtual music shows during the pandemic. How do you see them?
I have done a few virtual music shows and it has been quite weird having nobody in front of me. Nobody was screaming or shouting or dancing. But, at least, we are doing the job. Any job that you do has so many people involved who earn from it. So thank God, it didn’t completely stop and there was something happening.
How has the pandemic affected you personally and as a singer?
I loved being at home after so many years, with my children, parents and family. I did go through anxiety where I felt I lost my job and income for a long time. But, it also made me realise that we are so fortunate that we have food and a home. It taught me to be very grateful and be happy that I’m healthy and alive and have my children with me.
How did the whole situation — when you got infected by Covid — affect you?
To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect when I got infected. I was a bit shaken up. I was more shaken up by the press and what I watched on TV than my illness. The press made me more famous than I was.
Old songs are frequently being remixed nowadays. What is your take on these remixes?
I think it’s a bit boring now. To be honest, even I use remixes sometimes. It’s different when you pick a folk song and revamp it a little bit. I don’t really enjoy every movie having these remixes. Sometimes, they ruin the song. I prefer the old ones though there are some which are amazing.
Do you think the focus today has shifted towards views-driven music?
It definitely has shifted to views now. But, there are good songs that have done really well and there are also crap songs that have 100-200 million views, making you wonder where they came from. Then, there are songs that are really amazing but have some 10-20 million hits only. I’m very confused about this whole new-age trend. It has become all about making yourself feel like, ‘Oh, I can’t have a flop song!’ So people go through anything to make that seem like a superhit. I just believe you need to be happy making music and the fact that you are waking up and creating something. It doesn’t all have to be a mega-hit. It’s okay. You are experimenting and some don’t work as much as the others do, it shouldn’t really affect one.
We often see Mira Kapoor appreciating your music on her social media account. Tell us something about your camaraderie with her.
Mira is a very good friend of mine and I adore her. She is not just beautiful, but has also got some X-factor. She is a very interesting person. She has got her own mind — if she likes something, she will say it or do it. I’m grateful that she not just loves me as a friend but also loves my voice and music. She also keeps telling me to sing more classical music.