Archive | July, 2009

“Stand for Something, Or You’ll Fall for Anything”

18 Jul

Summer is finally here! I’ve always been an advocate for summer – it’s much easier to keep cool rather than warm I reckon. But make the most of the summer sun and bask in all its heat. Enjoy!

I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other day and during our discussion, he reiterated a quote to me, “Stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.” That quote got me thinking. We all enter this world unsure of what the future holds for us. Over time, we develop interests, likes and dislikes, potential viable career options which are either shot down by parents or we simply lose interest in. Ultimately, we find our calling in life. However, how many of us look beyond our daily mundane work and actually decide to take a position on a subject or issue? And even if we form a strong argument for or against it, how many of us actually go out, voice our opinions and make a difference?

Recently, I have realized an essential need to help change the way I think and function. The whole world is on a change rant. Everyone from Barack Obama to Priyanka Chopra, all believe they have what it takes to make necessary changes in the world. But ultimately, it lies with the majority of the human race. The only way for you to make a difference is to take a stand. If you are disturbed by an event, write to your local newspaper discussing your disgust; You aren’t happy with your meal, call the chef and let him know you weren’t satisfied. Whatever it is, speak up. It is simply unacceptable to complain if you are one of those people who lets any injustice pass you by or chooses to turn a blind eye to an unacceptable event. Don’t fall for anything, stand up and make a difference. Our featured interviewee’s know that just too well.

It may be hot outside, but it’s raining models, actors and even singers, in this month’s edition of Roshni Magazine.

Thank you all so much for expressing your love and gratitude for RM. In fact, the response has been so magnificent, that we will be adding more interviews mid-month from this edition onwards. Keep checking back for updates!

Your feedback is always appreciated so keep them coming. In the meantime, enjoy and remember: Ask and you will be told.

Happy Summer!

Love and light,
Roshni M.

Vikas Mahendroo

17 Jul

“There’s no logic when it comes pursuing your dreams.” – Vikas Mahendroo

The first time I interviewed Vikas Mahendroo, the model had just returned from the Mr. Globe competition. Back then, he had some solid advice for budding models, “…believe in yourself, and always be positive.” Acting upon his own guidance, Mahendroo has done just that. One of his most charismatic traits is his nonstop upbeat attitude and everlasting smile. His voyage into the modeling world may have been by pure chance, but luck was definitely on his side. He quickly trotted the ramp vying for the crown of Mr. Globe, Mr. International and Mr. Universe. Winning great praises and acclaim, he returned minus the laurels but richer in confidence and many other exclusive titles to his name. However, ask me and if Vikas was a Mr. Men character, he would definitely be Mr. Cheerful. Stick around as the hunky model gives Roshni Magazine the lowdown on beating life’s intricacies and staying happy.

Mr. Globe, Mr. International and more recently, Mr. Universe. How has the journey been?
The journey has been full of life, adventure and experiences. It’s been great, I’ve learned a lot, seen quite a few places, met people from distant places and cultures, and made some wonderful friends. What started as a hobby now is a passion.

What is your favorite memory from the Mr. Universe competition?
(Thinks) My favorite memory… The whole experience in itself was amazing, great people, very tough competition but all fun. I have to say my favorite moment was when I was awarded Best National Costume and Mr. Congeniality. It felt great to have represented my country and actually win something which is not about my physical features but about my country, where I come from and something I truly believe in. There were some amazing costumes in the show, but for me to get best costume made me feel really proud as an Indian.

What questions were you asked by the judges?
There were actually three interesting questions. The first was, if I could go in a time machine and go back in time, to see my grandfather as a child, what advice would i give him and why? I answered; if I was to be able to do that then I would tell my grand father to be a little broad and open-minded. We come from a very structured society, and we are supposed to be doctors, lawyers, engineers. My father was an exceptional painter and did wanted to pursue his dream of being a painter but my grandfather insisted on him being an engineer, and my father did so.  He had a great life but I believe he could’ve done bigger and better things in life if only he was allowed to pursue his dreams. So I will tell my grand father to let his kids be what they want to be, help them to get there, putting the burden of our dreams on our children is not necessarily a smart idea.

The second question was if there was one thing about the Indian culture that I could preserve what it would be and why? My answer was, the thing would be the strength and belief in our relationships. Once we [as Indians] commit to a person or a relationship, [we] will do everything and anything to save it before we say quit. A lot of people from other parts of the world give up too easily and too soon, that’s why the divorce ratio is so high and kids are without their parents. But we as Indians try to work it out, live with it if we have to, hoping it would get better with time and only give up when there’s nothing left to try. I’m proud of this culture and will keep it forever.

And the last question asked by one of the judges was “I’ve seen u for last week, and every time I see you, you are happy and smiling. What’s the secret of your always Indian attitude? I laughed, and answered, well, I believe life is a blessing, I’m very fortunate to do wt i want to do, very fortunate to be healthy and alive, lucky to be here amongst you beautiful people representing my country, very very fortunate to have a loving family. So i don’t have enough reasons to be negative, and have more than enough reasons to be happy. There is so much sadness around that a little positiveness could help people a lot. I can’t help everyone with what they need, but maybe my smiling face or positive attitude could bring a smile on their face and make their day a better one.

How cutthroat is such a competition?
The competition was great and it was held in a very professional manner. The contestants were ready, mentally and physically. It was tough but fun. Everyone was there representing their respective countries, so the stakes were high. It was done in the right spirit.

How was the last pageant different from the first?
I felt much more confident and well prepared. I also felt that I do belong here and it was no coincidence that i did the first one. And of course, this business is about contacts, marketing yourself and exposure, so the more you do, the better it is.

What changes have you seen in yourself over the past few years?
I would say, I’ve grown as a person, started to understand complexities of life better…and learnt to take no for an answer as a positive. I’ve also looked beyond the obvious. There’s a whole new side to life; it’s all about fashion, glamour, and such things, but it still remains about keeping our integrity and values because character is what matters at the end.

Is Bollywood a possible option soon?
Sure! Bollywood is always an option. It all depends on when and where that door will open. I am certainly doing all I can on my end, the rest is up to the Almighty.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
(Laughs) I play tennis, watch movies and cricket, talk to my family and friends.

Keeping the current economic recession in mind, would you advise any potential model to quit their day job and pursue their dream?
There’s no logic when it comes pursuing your dreams. If you feel it in your gut, you have to go for it. I’m not saying to be irresponsible and just quit your job but average efforts only bring average results. The problem is we want to be like John Abraham but can’t go to gym six days week or say no to pizza. So we dream big but effort is very small. Only you know how bad you want it, and if you want it that bad, then you will figure out a way to get there.

What is your inspiration to strive forward?
My inspiration is my family. I would love to do something which will make family feel proud of me. If I’ll be able to do something in life which will have a positive impact on my loved ones lives and i would be able to contribute anything good to their existing lives, I will feel accomplished.

How do you stay positive?
Being positive is once again a state of mind and how u look at things. I feel fortunate to be alive, healthy, have a loving family, great friends and fortunate to have the freedom to pursue my dreams. There are more than enough reasons to be happy, never enough negatives to be sad. You know things could always be worst and in reality they are not as bad as we think they are.

What stereotype that is associated with models, do you believe or know is completely wrong?
That models have no brains, or they are all about looks, and personality doesn’t matter. That’s not true. For you to be successful at anything, it takes overall personality. Looks can only get you in, but if you want to be there for long, only personality can make it happen.

Why did you choose to pursue modeling in America as opposed to modeling in India where you could have possibly been more successful?
Well it wasn’t planned that way. I just happen to do a pageant with Jinder (Chauhan) two years ago here in L.A., that’s how it all started. So it wasn’t really an option to work in India as a model. I’m open and if i get work to do, I would love to go back home and do something good.

What is next on the agenda?
Next is to keep knocking on that door, working hard, working out, keeping fit, look for right representation and do some good meaningful work. I will do what I can and rest is up to god. We will see what I am destined for.

And by now, you’ve definitely gained some fans, what is your message to them?
My message is be positive, always smile. There’s enough negativity and sadness in this world already so if you can help with a little positivity and optimism, it will help a lot. Never give up you dreams, that’s what we live for…without a goal there’s no destination.

~Roshni M.
(July 2009)

Aashna

17 Jul

It has been a very long journey and every minute has been wonderful.” – Aashna

Aashna is one helluva talented and organized gal. Talented, because to her resumes credit, she is a model, a singer, a television host, a traveler and an actress; and organized, because she has managed to successfully achieve great heights in all these fields nearly simultaneously. And if you think she looks familiar, then its more than likely you’ve spotted her on CNN or on the Travel Channel. However, at the end of the day, Aashna is just your ordinary American-Indian girl who is living the ultimate American Dream. She’s spontaneous and lives life in the moment—just as she should. All it took was a quick message to the globetrotter, who was on the beaches of Hawaii when she agreed to an interview with Roshni Magazine. Read on to be inspired by her zest for life and take heed to her credible advice for aspiring television folk.

You were born in Mumbai and to your credit a television host, a travel host, a singer, “model and an actress in the U.S. How did it all happen?
As far as I can remember, it all began after moving to Toronto.  I was almost four years young and would direct plays and performances with my little friends. My parents patiently watched every show and encouraged me to use my imagination. My father genuinely loved everything I created, but my mom told me much later in life that every performance was terrible. (Laughs) I’m so happy she never told me as a kid. I would have been devastated.

I sang and danced pretty much all my life but the first time I appeared on television was in high school on City TV in Toronto. I co-hosted “Sounds of Asia” and hosted my own segment called “Hidden Talent” for free. I just wanted to get the experience. My first paying job was singing and dancing at Canada’s Wonderland.  Can you imagine being a young teen getting paid to sing, dance and act in musicals all summer long? I was on top of the world.

After graduating from University, I worked at YTV, Canada where I hosted a number of shows: The Breakfast Zone, Shift and The Hit List, Canada’s top music video countdown show.  Following were hosting, reporting and producing jobs with TV Guide Canada, CNN’s World Beat, TV Guide USA, Extra and The Travel Channel.

Having the opportunity to host “Travel Ala Mode” and “Vacation Home Search” has allowed me to visit some of the most beautiful destinations on our planet. What I love most is being exposed to the local culture and people.

Music has always been a passion of mine. I recorded a self-titled album with MCA Records in Canada and have sung the American and Canadian National Anthems for the MLB and NBA for the past fifteen years. It is truly a high to be in a packed stadium with 50,000 people singing and cheering along. The first time I heard my single on the radio, I was in shock and called my mom to tell her that someone on the radio sounded exactly like me.

Modeling and acting just fell into my lap. I haven’t had much time to pursue either; I focused more on television and music. Nonetheless, I continue to take on projects mostly in animation. Yes, I can do many accents and weird voices.

So as you can see, it has been a very long journey and every minute has been wonderful.

Courtesy of hosting shows on the Travel Channel, you’ve globe trotted all over the world. Is it really as great and glamorous as it looks? How did you land up on the Travel Channel?
It’s always great, sometimes glamorous and very exhausting but when you love what you do, working in stunning locations up to 20 hours a day is paradise.  I’ve always wanted to work on the Travel Channel. I was called in to audition for Animal Planet and instead of getting that job, I landed a job on the Travel Channel. I have auditioned hundreds of times and I never had to audition for “Vacation Home Search.”

After all that travel, is there one place in the world you haven’t yet visited and want to? Which is your favorite holiday spot?
I really want to visit Santorini, Greece. These days, my favorite holiday spot is Santa Monica. I travel so much that being home is the only time I feel like I’m on a holiday. All kidding aside, I love St. Martin. It’s safe, multi-cultural and has beautiful beaches, tons of outdoor activities and a fantastic nightlife. The Caribbean water is truly the best. It has many shades of blue and green and most importantly, it’s warm.

CNN is one of my favorite channels. What was the experience like working at the well renowned news channel?
I loved working on “World Beat.” I had the opportunity to interview some of most popular singers and musicians from all over the world. I also hosted the show from St. Lucia’s Jazz Festival and from the Junos (Canadian Music Awards). As you already know, entertainment segments have become shorter and have less substance. What I loved about CNN is that my segments were around five minutes. It really gave me the opportunity to allow viewers to experience a more in-depth look at the artists.

You’ve also worked at NBC’s “Extra” and TV Guide’s “Hollywood Insider” interviewing celebrities including Tom Hanks. What was the experience like?
The first Tom Hanks movie I saw was “Big” and I’ve been a fan ever since. I interviewed Tom Hanks on the red carpet where Hollywood was honoring him with a lifetime achievement award. That didn’t make much sense to me; he’s still going to make many more films. He was just as I expected – charming and hilarious.

Who are some of the more famous personalities you’ve interviewed and what are some interesting things you’ve learned?
I’ve had the opportunity to interview celebrities including Dustin Hoffman, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Justin Timberlake, Jennifer Anniston, Britney Spears, Steve Martin, Michelle Pfeiffer, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie-Lee Curtis, the late Bernie Mac, and many others.

I have only had positive experiences with Hollywood’s top celebrities. They have all been gracious and appreciative. I love interviewing and I’ve learned to be attentive, intuitive, fearless, and spontaneous.

My best interviews have been in settings where the celebrity is most comfortable. I interviewed Bernie Mac on the set of his show and spent the entire day hanging out with the cast and crew. He was a good soul and because his positive attitude was contagious, everyone on set was just as happy as him. I interviewed Justin Timberlake while go-carting. We had a lot of fun but by the end of the interview, we both felt sick…haha.

What advice do you have for young Indians who want to get involved in television?
This industry is filled with very talented and creative people so embrace the energy. Be prepared to deal with long hours and criticism – both positive and negative. Like anything, be the best at your craft and learn as much about production as you learn about being on-camera. Write down your ideas and turn them into stories, segments, shows and films. And most importantly, be as humble as possible. No one likes to work with someone with an inflated ego so stay down to earth.

Do you feel it’s hard to constantly fight the stereotypes associated with Indians?
Not at all. Most people don’t know where I’m from and I hardly get cast for Indian roles.  I like to focus on the positive and spend my time professionally and personally with forward-thinking people.

Do you believe Slumdog Millionaire has really made a difference in how Indians are perceived or is it simply a phase?
I think it has made a huge difference in the industry and to the millions of people who saw the film. I saw it opening day and left the theater dancing.

How do you stay connected to your roots and Indian culture?
It comes naturally. I love the literature, the food, the music, the films, the musicians, the artists, the different dance styles, and most of all the people. I also embrace all cultures and don’t care to be defined only as Indian. I have lived in India, Canada and now the US.  I’ve traveled to many places and the cultures I experience also become a part of who I am.

Is Bollywood something you would be interested in perhaps later in the future? Who are your favorites?
I’m open and interested but at this time, I’m not pursuing work in Bollywood. Amitabh Bachchan, Rekha, Rani Mukherjee, Abhishek Bachchan, Kajol and Ajay Devgan are my favorites.

What is one achievement you are most proud of?
My desire to nurture my relationship with God, my family and friends.

What is coming up for you?
I don’t have a clue and I’m excited about the possibilities.

Any message for your fans and readers?
Thanks for your support all these years. Check out modeling photos of my best friend and brother, Chirag Amin at www.aazin.com. Roshni, thanks for contacting me and I wish you much happiness and success.

Spread the joy!!!

~ Roshni M.
(July 2009)

Sunkrish Bala

17 Jul

“I feel like I’m cheating at life – Sunkrish Bala

Sunkrish Bala realized at a very tender age that he was going to indulge in the glitz and glam that the acting world provided. Straight out of college, UCLA, he landed an integral part on ABC’s Notes from the Underbelly, and guest starred on a number of Emmy Winning shows. Staying close to his roots, the Bombay born Indian-American actor has also starred alongside veteran actor Anupam Kher American Blend. Google him and the actor is gushed and lushed over by the ladies for his good looks, charm and incredible quick wit. And of course, in true Bala-fashion, the actor was more than willing to talk acting, fans and even Bollywood with Roshni Magazine. Check it out!

How did acting happen? Was it a childhood dream?
Well I had always sort of done community theater and all that as a kid, but it definitely wasn’t a viable career option. Growing up how and where I did, it just wasn’t realistic. It wasn’t until I started applying to colleges and figuring out what I wanted to do with my life that I even began to think about acting as a possible career. And even as a theater major in college, I was more into the academia of it. It just never really hit me that people were actually going to pay me to do what I loved.

How did “Notes from the Underbelly” happen? Did you expect it to be so successful and for your character to receive such accolades?
I booked the pilot for Notes during my senior year at UCLA. We happened to shoot it during spring break. The day before I graduated, we found out the show had been picked up by ABC—where it ran for two years. That was probably the luckiest sequence of events—in terms of timing—that has ever happened to me. Couldn’t have asked for more.

You’ve appeared on a number of popular shows: CSI: NY, Will and Grace, My Name is Earl, Grey’s Anatomy just to name a few. What has the experience been like?
Horrible, awful experiences. No, it’s been phenomenal! Really, really fun and educational and everything I expected it to be.

In more recent times, especially post Slumdog Millionaire, Indian’s seem to be receiving more recognition. Do you feel you aren’t being type casted anymore?
I get asked this question a lot. Actually, I’ve found that the industry has been steadily moving away from “typecasting,” so to speak, for years now. Hollywood is certainly a much more inclusive place than the town I first walked into four years ago. I think, actually, that that’s part of the reason that something like Slumdog was so successful. It couldn’t have happened—as big as it happened— a few years ago.

Did you get a chance to watch Slumdog? What did you think of it?
I adored it, of course. It deserved every one of those accolades.

Is Bollywood something you would be interested in?
I haven’t really thought about it, to be honest. I’ve been keeping very busy on this side of the world. Also, I’m a terrible dancer.

What was the experience of working in “American Blend?”
I think I had finished my sophomore year of college when we filmed that. I was nineteen or twenty and definitely had never been on a professional set before. I was sort of thrust into it headfirst. I had a blast, obviously, but I was very undisciplined. I was having too much fun. It was playtime.

And Anupam Kher?
Couldn’t ask for a sweeter, funnier more patient man than Anupamji. Having a living legend playing my father was definitely surreal. But he was so approachable and charming and funny. I just saw him again the last time I went back to India. He’s fantastic.

Television or film: which do you prefer and why?
I’ve definitely done a lot more television than film, but they’re both very rewarding. And, honestly, the work and preparation to do either is very similar. Though there’s a lot more time to get it right when you’re making a movie, and TV is very quick—go-go-go!

Are you still active with A’Shore – the Indian-American theater company you co-founded? What are they currently up to?
I think A’shore is, sadly, defunct. Or at least on hiatus. I miss those guys. Though I believe a lot of its members are still active in Naatak, which is an incredible South Asian theater company in the Bay Area.

What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment thus far?
I’m honestly just happy and proud to be included in the industry and profession that I’m in.

What do you do afterhours?
My schedule is pretty erratic. “After” hours really has no meaning. I’m writing a couple of projects on the side, and I’m in the process of adopting a puppy.

What is your inspiration?
I absolutely love doing what I do. I honestly feel like I’m getting away with something.  I feel like I’m cheating at life.

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
I hope I’m as excited doing this as I am now. Honestly, I couldn’t ask for more. I just want to keep it up.

How has life changed for you after becoming an actor? Do fans recognize you on the street?
Very, very rarely. And it’s usually of the “I know you from something” variety. Does that count? I don’t think that counts. So, life hasn’t changed much.

What is next on the agenda for you?
I have a couple movies coming out over the next year. One is a teen slasher flick called “Albino Farm.” The other is a drama I’m very proud of called “Another Harvest Moon” opposite legendary actors like Ernest Borgnine, Anne Meara, and Doris Roberts. I’ll also be on a new series on NBC next season called “Day One.”

Any message for your fans?
Thanks for all the kind words and support! It means a lot!

Tulsi Kumar

17 Jul

“I want to really sing for Ash! – Tulsi Kumar

You would never believe Tulsi Kumar was the daughter of musical baron Gulshan Kumar. The young and vivacious singer has not only inherited musical genes from the Kumar family, but has also developed an innate flair for fashion. One wouldn’t be surprised if Tulsi was dreaming of musical notes in her dreams but she has one solo desire, to make her father proud. Her feminine and fresh voice has fetched her great acclaim amongst the Hindi musical fraternity but she believes her best is yet to come. Tulsi’s last hit was the popular “Hit Hit” from Billu which was played over the airwaves repeatedly and danced to by Deepika Padukone and Shah Rukh Khan. She is definitely well recognized as a future singer to watch out and with the massive accolades associated with her and the T-Series reputation to live upto, she is confident of making it to the top. Take a melodious look as Roshni Magazine hands over the mic to the future baroness as she talks singing for films, fashion and of course, music!

When did you realize you wanted to become a singer?
Actually right from my childhood, I was really bent towards music. I used to watch a lot of television and hum songs along with it. My dad supported me and he wanted me to get into learning classical music. So he put me in those classes when I was about seven years old. And I started training in a school in Bombay called Suresh Wadekhar Music Academy. So I started training and that’s how it began. I’m still learning. Music is something that you can never say that you know it all. Its huge and you have to keep learning.

Did you find you were under a lot of pressure? Simply because your family comes has a completely musical background.
There was some pressure because my father carries such a big name. He has bought in so much talent especially in the singing line. So there was some pressure but that is the reason I took it very very slow. I came out with my devotional tracks first. I sang a lot of bhajans and remixes and then I gradually did songs for films. Once I was accepted and people started liking my singing, I only know am coming out with my solo album. So it’s been a slow process.

I’m definitely a fan of your music from Saathiya to the more recent Hafiz Khuda. But you began with devotional songs and bhajans, what made you make the change to mainstream?
I began singing devotional songs when I was seventeen. And I sang my first song for a film when I was nineteen.

Which movie was that?
That was Humko Deewana Kar Gaye and Aksar both. I recorded for HDKG first but Aksar, Jaanabe Jaaniya, that released much before that.

What is something about your father you will never forget?
I was very young and just thirteen when he passed away but just the way he was and many things about him I’ll never forget. He used to go to the temple every morning. He was a very religious person; we all know that. Apart from that, I try to become like him but I can’t. He wouldn’t stress for anything and built up a huge empire all with a smile on his face always. That is one trait I want to adopt from him but I am a very emotional person and get tensed easily. I want to adopt how he was cool about situations yet with a certain seriousness but he was very chilled out and out of stress kind of person.

Who are your singing favorites?
Amongst the singers, I’m an ardent fan of Lata Mangeshkar. I think she is a teacher to all singers even today. Apart from her I really like Sonu Nigam and Kavita Krishnamurthy.

How much do you practice each day?
I used to practice a lot more before but now, because of recording pressures I at least practice for two and a half hours every day.

That’s incredible! What are some of your upcoming projects?
I’m singing for a couple of films, Ken Ghosh’s next Yahoo starring Shahid [Kapur] and Genelia [D’Souza]. Apart from that I’ve sung for Kajra Re and there are a couple of more untitled films that I have sung for. But I’ve been concentrating on my own album which is titled Pyar Ho Jaaye and releases in June this year.

What kind of songs will the album include?
Much like the title suggests, it’s a romantically inclined album. But I have a hip-hop track, a Sufi track; it’s like a mix. You’ll find many kinds of tracks in it. There is also a Punjabi number. All in all, there are fourteen tracks in the album so there is a lot of variety.

You’re also very young of course and have been deemed as one of the most fashionable singers. What is fashion to you?
Oh thank you! (laughs). Fashion to me is being cool, comfortable but yet being sheik and sexy. I’m really into clothes and my sister is a fashion designer. She is my guiding light for clothes. And now staying with her, my fashion sense has improved. So that is where fashion comes to me.

What do you do in your spare time?
I chill out with friends. I have time where there is no recording but for the last year, I’ve been very tied up because of my album; meetings and shooting the video. All of that has taken up a lot of time. But whenever I’m free, I chill out with friends, go for movies. I’m not a party person but I usually end up going for dinners and movies.

Who are your favorite actors and actresses?
My favorite actor is Shah Rukh Khan and from the actresses, it keeps changing actually.

Which actress do you want to sing for?
I want to really sing for Aishwarya [Rai Bachchan] and I feel like I would like to sing for the newer lot of the heroines. I’ve already sung for Deepika [Padukone] in Billu. I’ve sung for Genelia, which will be coming up soon. So I want to sing for more newer actresses because I feel like they are more fresh faces and I think my voce would gel with them.

Which is your favorite song that you’ve sung till date?
All my songs that I sing I like but then I always say I could have done a better job. So I’m usually very critical of my songs.  But the song of mine that I really like is from Darling, Akele Tanha. It was not promoted too much and wasn’t even a part of the film but that is one song that I really connect to.

Thinking about it Tulsi, you’ve been on my iPod a lot! Hit Hit was on for ages and then Hafiz Khuda more recently.
(Laughs) That’s nice to hear early in the morning.

What would you have been if you had not been a singer?
From childhood I had it set in my mind that I wanted to be a singer so I was working on it from a very young age. But if I wasn’t a singer I would have definitely completed my MBA like most people and gotten into the family T-Series business in some way.

And acting anytime soon?
No way! I’m not a camera person (laughs). I would feature in my own videos for my songs but acting is not something I am keen on. I want to concentrate on singing and definitely composing in the future.

Oh great!
Yeah! For now, I just want to focus on singing but later on, composing for sure. I’ve already started working towards it. It will take me some time because I’m very new in that field but I’ll definitely start at the end of the year.

Who are your inspirations?
Inspiration to be here is my Dad. I’m here because of him and his hard work. I’m completely inspired by him.  In the music field my inspiration would be all the good singers, Lataji, Ashaji [Bhosle], Rafi Saab, Kishore Da [Kumar]; all these older generation singers are like teachers to me.

What advice do you have for aspiring singers?
I still consider myself as an aspiring singer to be very honest. I still have to make a mark for myself. Where I want to reach personally from within, I don’t think I have reached there until now. I might have had a few hit songs but from within, you have a target which you want to achieve and I’m still working towards it. But definitely for new upcoming singers, I would say doing your riyaaz is very important  and you can have that talent in you but you must keep brushing your talent and keep revising your lessons. So in the field of singing you have to keep listening to different tracks and doing your riyaaz. Singing a new track is very different from singing an already sung song like we see on the television on reality shows. Contestants sing already sung songs. They may be very difficult and Lataji has sung them but that is a different approach. When you get a brand new song which with a brand new composition and you have to sing that song in two hours in the studio, that is a real challenge for which you have to be prepared and for which riyaaz is very important.

And any message for your fans?
For my fans, I would like to say, keep liking my music. Keep loving me so I can come out in more and more songs and showcase my talent for everyone in all different kinds of songs. I’d like to thank my fans!

~ Roshni M.
(July 2009)