Kamaal Khan has been the voice of superstar Salman Khan for over two decades. Their collaboration started in 1998 with Oh Oh Jaane Jaana from Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya. The duo went on to collaborate on dozens of chartbusters since then and in the last 10 days, the successful duo has come up with two more chartbusters, Seeti Maar and Dil De Diya from Salman’s Eid release Radhe.
In an exclusive conversation with Spotboye.com, Kamaal revisits his bond with Salman, working with Devi Sri Prasad for the first time and more. Read excerpts from the interview:
How has it been dealing with the reception to both the songs?
The reception has been phenomenal. Seeti maar became a huge rage overnight when it released and when Dil De Diya came, it created Hungama because people weren’t expecting that kind of a song. Everything, from Jacqueline Fernandez’s performance, to Salman Khan being himself and Himesh Reshammiya doing what he does best, giving a blockbuster, it has been amazing.
You have been a voice to another blockbuster featuring Salman and Jacqueline before with Heeriye in race 3. How was it seeing them be the vision to your voice again?
It’s always nice because I know Jacqueline very well and my association with Salman is something everyone is well aware of. It’s always nice to be working with friends. When you see both of them together, be it Jumme Ki Raat, Heeriye or now Dil De Diya, they always create a sizzling chemistry on screen.
How challenging is it to recreate a classic like Seeti Maar from another language and make it more pan-Indian?
Recreating any song is always a challenge because of human psychology. People, who have heard the original, always end up comparing the new version to it. Some like the original, while others like the new one. The most important thing for me, which is always a challenge, is that I always try to keep Salman Khan’s character in mind while recording. That’s why my voice sounds different in both songs as Seeti Maar has Salman’s performance filled with swag and is different from his performance in Dil De Diya which is more of a romantic number in an item song kind of way. So, that’s how I modulated my voice and that is always a challenge.
This was your first collaboration with Devi Sri Prasad. How was it working with him?
Yes, it was my first collaboration with him and it was amazing. When I recorded the song, it was sent to him for approval. It wasn’t like that it was decided that I would be singing this version, but he liked it and I ended up doing the song.
With Seeti Maar, you collaborated with Iulia Vantur, while on Dil De Diya you sang with Payal Dev. They are both new talents. How was it working with them?
I have known Iulia for quite some time now and we recorded Seeti Maar, kind of at the same time in the studio. We share great comfort levels as friends and that always helps. As for Payal, I have known her husband for some time and have met Payal whenever I went to record for him. Even Dil De Diya was recorded in his home studio. When I heard her part, I was really impressed. Both Iulia and Payal have a freshness to their voices and they are suiting Disha and Jacqueline respectively very well.
Your bond with Salman goes way back to over two decades. You started your Bollywood journey with him in Oh Oh Jaane Jana. How has that bond flourished over the years?
I have known Salman from quite a few years before Oh Oh Jaane Jaana. So, I have known him as a person, before I became an artist. Whenever it came to dubbing and recording for him, it became easier as I not only know him as his characters, but also as the human that he is. I also know his singing style, as a lot of time at his home, we would have jamming sessions and even Sajid-Wajid would be there. I know his music sense and how he performs and I use it when I have to record for him.
Why do you think people associate your voice with Salman, especially in an era of music where there are so many voices around?
I think it’s because of two reasons. Firstly, when Oh Oh Jaane Jaana was released, many people thought that it was Salman himself singing the song as it sounded a lot like his voice. So, from then, whenever I recorded a song, people would automatically associate it to be for Salman as it suits him a lot or sounds like him. So, that association started from my first song. Secondly, I am not the first person to sing so many songs for Salman Khan. The great late singer SP Balasubhramanyam had a huge association with Salman Khan in the beginning and I, too, would associate his voice with Salman. So, I just feel fortunate and blessed to be regarded now, in this time, as the voice of Salman.
You have worked a lot in films but any plans of releasing any new album?
Definitely. When Covid started last year, work had kind of stopped, so I started working on singles. Now I have 35-40 demos, out of which I have selected about 10. I am working on finishing those and we’ll see singles and even film songs coming from them.
What are the future songs that we would get to hear your voice in?
I have songs with Himesh Reshammiya and Sajid-Wajid. I don’t know why but I still refer to them as Sajid-Wajid only, even after the sad demise of Wajid last year. To me, he is still a part of that duo. There is a lot happening film wise and even singles will start coming out soon.
Any more collaboration with Salman on cards?
There is, but I cannot yet talk about it. But there definitely is something more happening.
Image source: SpotboyE archive/ Instagram/imkamaalkhan
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