March 29, 2021 10:43:36 am
When Shweta Shetty sung ‘Khidki pe aaona bahar naa jau, kaise mein sare din ghar mein bitau’ in the late 90s, none of us had an idea that the song will become relevant in 2020-21. The legendary 90s pop icon of India, who refers to herself as a newcomer, was “absolutely thrilled” when she got to know that her single ‘Deewane To Deewane Hain’ was trending on YouTube all over again. And that’s when she thought to make her comeback after 20 years of being away from the music industry.
“For me, it (‘Deewane To Deewane Hain’ trending) was a sweet gift, which gave me the idea to reconnect, to produce a track for my fans.” Soon enough, she started working on her latest track ‘Jalne Mein Hai Mazaa’ which is a retro/Disco take on a 1994 ballad by Salim-Sulaiman.
“I wanted to get back to Disco, I love the genre. My first (‘Johnny Joker’) song was Disco with Biddu. For me, it played a very important part in my life. I went a little folk with Deewane but I always have been a fan of Disco. I have always titled myself as the Disco Queen,” the 51-year-old told indianexpress.com, adding, “I always had ‘Jalne Me Hai Mazaa’ in my mind. I wanted to give it a Disco version. During the lockdown, I got in touch with Addy S (the maker of the new version) and spoke to him about recreating this song.”
But why Disco? “Because I want to make people dance. I don’t know anything beyond that. I am born for entertaining and spreading happiness. I am happy that the song has come out exactly the way I envisioned it. It (the song) is just so beautiful. It is about love, passion and intensity and it resonates with me as a person.”
‘Jalne Mein Hai Mazaa’s recreated version was released recently and it received an overwhelming response. In the comment section of the song, which is on YouTube, people admired Shweta, her new look and remembered her old songs that made her a phenomenon in the music scene of the 90s.
When asked why it took her so long to make a comeback, Shweta quipped that she got married in 1996, moved to Germany where she lived for 20 years, and in those years, she concentrated on giving her best to her marriage.
“I got married in ’96 and left the country around that time. I did come once a year to meet my parents. Always tried to make contacts and get into music but it was difficult as I was living abroad. It was disappointing (to not be able to make music) but I just enjoyed being the housewife.”
She added that while she got divorced after five years of being married, she decided to stay back because of her yoga studio called Shwetasana. “Yoga and meditation have kept me sane in this insane world,” the Mangta Hai Kya singer replied.
But did she regret not making music for all those years? “It was a horrible phase for me because I wasn’t able to do something that I loved the most. I had to cut myself out from the whole music thing because the more I would see, the more I wanted to be a part of it, which was not possible. It was a tough time. Being away from the limelight was depressing for the first few years but I looked at life with a positive outlook. I don’t cry about something I don’t get. I am not a spoiled child because I never got things on a platter,” she answered.
Listen to her popular track ‘Deewane To Deewane Hain’ here:
Shweta knew that making a comeback in the music industry or Bollywood after 20 years was not going to be a cakewalk. But she said she has always loved taking risks and was ready for challenges. “When I came to India in 2015, I wanted to get back to music. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. You suddenly wonder if your fans remember you. But I was so surprised that my songs are being recreated. I am a risk-taker and I love being one. I took a risk with this track (Jalne Mein Hai Mazaa) and the response has been phenomenal,” the Tote Tote Ho Gaya singer mentioned.
But what shocked her was Bollywood’s dominance over independent music. “Bollywood has its place but it is so sad that pop-music is so small. I want to start a movement and give a chance to other pop artists to reignite the spark and connect with our fans but sadly a lot of them are not on social media. Most of them listen to us on the radio. We need to reach out to them. I have been trying to get through certain people but it has been difficult for me as an independent artist to get a platform like Indian Idol or some dance show. TV is also a way to reach out to my fans. But it is so difficult as it is taken over by Bollywood, which is so disappointing. I felt so sad,” Shweta spoke with a hope that the dimension changes and “the industry opens their doors for us (independent artists).”
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During the conversation, Shweta also walked down the memory lane and spoke about how “difficult” it was to be one of the top singers during the 90s. “Thankfully, I was not a one-hit-wonder. When you reach the pinnacle of success, you cannot be like – this is it. We had millions of people turning up at the tours and singing our songs along with us. At such times, you cannot be lazy. So, I was always on my toes. I was always concentrating on what’s next. But it was a struggle because it was a male-dominant world. We (women) had to really work hard to put our point across. Those 10 years, there was a lot of hard work, tears, disappointment. I am still friends with a lot. With some, I share my disappointments as they played foul games with me.” Shweta said remembering how she “was quite a spitfire” and never shied away from saying the right thing.
Some behind-the-scenes shot of ‘Jalne Mein Hai Mazaa’
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When questioned if she is nervous about the competition she will face in today’s time and age, Shweta concluded by saying that in 90s, the competition was harder as there were a lot more independent artists with successful careers.
“When I started in 90s, there were a lot more artists than we have today. We had Baba Sehgal, Daler Mehendi, Sonu Nigam, Shaan, Sagarika, Babul Supriyo and so many others but we all got along like house on fire. We were genuinely happy for each other,” Shweta winded up the conversation commenting on today’s scenario that there is “no independent artist coming up with albums. We all, including me, are taking baby steps with singles.”
On the work front, the singer has lent her voice to a Bollywood project that she is looking forward to but refrained from sharing any other details on it for now.
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