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Kunal Ganjawala
Probably the music industry’s biggest success stories in recent times, Kunal Ganjawala, the latest Prince of Playback Singing in a heart-to-heart talk with The Record

The year 2004 has been the year of Kunal Ganjawala. We aren’t wrong when we say this as this young voice finally achieved the stardom he deserved ever since his advent on the music scene in the lat 90s. His hit list for 2004 includes – Bheege Honth Tere (Murder), Shehzaadi (Uuf Kya Jaadoo Mohabbat Hai), Jaanabe Ali (Bardaasht), Gayab Hoke (Gayab), No No (Kyun Ho Gaya Na), Salame (Dhoom) and the recent tracks in Bride and Prejudice, Wajaah, Kis Kiski Kismat, Aitraaz and Musafir. And to cap it all the album song Channa Vey, which has placed Kunal on a pedestal from where the journey could only be upwards.

Born and brought up in Mumbai, Kunal is a singer by accident. “I never thought I could sing. During my college days at Elphinstone, some of my seniors ragged me to sing and that’s when I discovered I had a voice, which can give me my destiny. I started participating in competitions and it was at Malhar when playback singer Poornima encouraged me to take up singing professionally. Since I wasn’t trained classically I started learning music at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan,” says Kunal who got into the limelight with his commercial Doodh Doodh Doodh, which he sang for Leslie Lewis. The commercial made Kunal a darling of the jingle industry as he went on to lend his voice for over a thousand commercials in a short span of five years.

Contended with his jingle career, Kunal’s meeting with Ranjit Barot changed things for the talented singer. “Ranjit was zapped on hearing my voice and gave my career a big lift. Besides using me extensively for commercials, he introduced me to a lot of film composers. Rajat Dholakia also was instrumental in shaping up my film career,” informs Kunal adding that besides these two, lyricist Mehboob also helped him establish his feet in the industry. “Mehboob sahib introduced me to AR Rahman who gave me an opportunity to sing O Humdum Suniyo Re in Saathiya. That song changed the way people heard my voice. I will always be grateful to Mehboob sahib for trusting my voice”.

Going back a little in time, Kunal’s dream work started not with Saathiya but with Nadeem-Shravan’s Saajan Chale Sasural. That was the first time he ever sang for a film. But things changed only after the Saathiya number, which officially can be termed as Kunal’s first big hit. But undoubtedly the biggest hit for Kunal has been Bheege Honth Tere from Murder. “Anu Malik had used me in Ab Ke Baras and at that time too he had told me to hang on for the right song. It was a very normal affair when I sang Bheege Honth. Infact I still remember going to the studios, learning the track and finishing it in about a couple of hours and moving on. I had never anticipated that the song would be such a chart buster. I will always be grateful to Anu Malik and Mahesh Bhatt for putting the kind of faith in me and giving me that song”.

Coming to the album song Channa Vey, which has instantly climbed up the charts, Kunal says he was hoping and is happy that the song has been well received. “I have done album songs in the past. My first album was Ek Cutting Chai in 1999 followed by Jalwa III for Leslie Lewis where I sang the remix of Hai Re Hai Tera Ghungta. Then I did a remix of the song Bindu Re Bindu in an album called Absolute Mix followed by the song Honey Honey where a video was made on Salman Khan. So I have been used to the album scene and people have heard me time and again in albums. When we were recording Channa Vey I had a very good feeling about the song. The sheer energy comes out in the song”.

You can read the rest of our feature on Kunal Ganjawala in the November 2004 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.

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