Singer Shalmali Kholgade made an impressive debut in Bollywood with the romantic song “Pareshaan” in 2012. She went on to lend her voice for films starring Deepika Padukone, Anushka Sharma and Jacqueline Fernandez. She says she doesn’t want to close the door on Bollywood, but will definitely focus more on independent music as it makes her “very happy”.
“I will never close the door on Bollywood. It is the reason why I can do independent music today with the kind of freedom that I think I do it with,” Shalmali told IANS in an email interview.
“There is no pressure of releasing one song every month because I know that parallelly I have Bollywood career that helps me to stabilise my life financially and otherwise.”
Also, she doesn’t believe in pursuing just one thing with “so much focus that you forget that there are other things that you can do as well”.
“In that sense, I have always wanted to do a solo gig in a small club all by myself and hold an audience. I will definitely focus a lot more on independent music now because I think that it makes me very happy.
“But that doesn’t mean that I will quit Bollywood to do that,” said the “Baby ko bass pasand hai” hitmaker, who accompanied composer Pritam and singers like Harshdeep Kaur and Nakash Aziz on a North America tour earlier this year.
Indie music certainly makes her happy but going by the response to her English single “Spark a fire”, which released last month and received only 2,817 views on YouTube, it seems like she has to go the extra mile.
She understands that the number of views that her song has got is nothing compared to the Bollywood tracks that easily get millions of views but the “sense of achievement” that she feels and the joy that it brings to her of having released the song, “cannot be weighed against views of the song”.
“For me, this is beginning of something that I wish to follow. I like the uphill journey. You are right when you say that people do not find it easy to accept an English song by an Indian artiste and possibly the audience is much smaller than the audience for a Hindi song. But this is who I am and this what I like to do. I would like my audience to give me a chance with English music as well,” she said.
When she started her career in Bollywood, she felt that she got recognition far too soon.
“There was no struggle as such. ‘Pareshaan’ got me into the limelight almost immediately.
“And I love the fact that perhaps my career now (indie music career)… will be that uphill climb that I wish I had had for my Bollywood career. And I will get to live that life also where I will hit the wall and be frustrated about the things I wish had been accepted differently but didn’t. I just love the fact that I can live that life parallely also.”
“I will do this (make indie music) all my life even if I get 2,500 views on YouTube for my 100th song.”
For “Spark a fire”, she joined forces with Riya Duggal, Simran Duggal, Pratiksha Kale and Neha Tawde.
“The wonderful part about working with these four girls is that the seriousness and the desire to learn and the need to grow was just as strong as me in them. We’ve been spending time helping each other work on our live singing because they accompany me in my live shows but I thought that for them to be well equipped for tomorrow as musicians, they could also learn other things that go beyond singing.
“I think songwriting helps one become independent which is when I asked them if they would be interested in spending some time learning the tools of songwriting. When they showed their eagerness towards that, I said ‘Okay, let’s sit and go through books that I have’.”