Video-Bollywood Singer Ash King Exclusive Interview
His favorites are the Masala tea and the Liquor tea. He can stay in the city if he is given Macher-jhol and Bhaat. The person in question is singer Ashutosh Ganguly or better known to us as Ash King. Sholoana Bangaliana caught up with the talented and versatile singer over cups of tea at Park Hotel. Excerpts..
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana- Welcome to Kolkata. So how is the city treating you?
Ash King- Well the experience has been good till now. I have been gorging on Bengali cuisine. The heat is as usual wonderful. However I have not been able to grab Jhaal-muri. I will surely be having some before I leave Kolkata.
How did Ashutosh Ganguly become Ash King?
Ash King- I am still Ashutosh Ganguly (laughs out loud). But Ash King was devised so that the people abroad could pronounce my name. The Bengali name is tough for them to pronounce. Moreover writing that down on albums was also problematic. So I took the name of Ash initially. One day a friend of mine was giving me a haircut and he suddenly said “Hey Ash King! Are you listening?”. The name caught my fancy and I decided to stick with the name. The name King is synonymous to the Bengali ‘daknaam’. And in this way I became Ash King.
Your grandfather Brajendra Lal Ganguly was the first music teacher at Rabindranath Tagore’s home and school. Your father Shankar Ganguly taught you about various music genres. How has this family background influenced your taking up singing as a career?
Ash King- Seven generations of my family has been into music. Whether it is Drupad, Kirtans or Classical Music, my forefathers were all into music. Music, I assume is in my genes. I am half Bengali and Half Gujrati. That also had an influence on me. If I had lived in an Indian household, I would have been exposed only to Indian music. And if I had only lived with an English family, I would have been exposed only to pop music. I am thankful that despite living abroad, I have received the best of both cultures. That has helped me much in shaping my musical sensibilities as an artist.
How did you get your ticket to sing in Bollywood?
Ash King- I met A. R. Rahman with the help of a friend who actually had mentioned to A. R. Rahman that there is a guy who sings Hindi songs. I was asked to meet him and I was literally surprised at my good luck. No one would actually believe that they will get to meet such a great talent so easily. I went and sang a few lines. And then I sang the song “Dil gira dafatan”.
How will you describe your musical journey till now?
Ash King– It has been immensely fulfilling. I have sang with some of the top music composers namely Shantanu Moitra, Himesh Reshammiya, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Vishal Bharadwaj, Pritam, Amit Trivedi and Meet Bros. This was always on my wish list to sing for some of the best music composers of today’s time. I will like to work with Ajay-Atul, Jeet Ganguly. I have met Jeet Ganguly but I never had the chance to work with him. I don’t know though whether he will like to work with me. One thing I want to be very clear about is I want to work more in the Bengali music industry. The kind of likes and hits that I have been getting for my Bengali songs like Kothin or Dekhte Bou Bou is amazing.
One thing about Kolkata which I always have found fascinating is the people here are very contented. One can go to Mumbai or Delhi for work but they will eventually come back here. The city has everything. You simply do not need to go anywhere else.
So what are your upcoming projects in Bollywood and Tollywood?
Ash King- I have quite a few projects lined up. I recently recorded a song for a Ramesh Sippy film. The romantic track which I recorded is by Meet Bros. I was amazed when they approached me as they have always done item numbers. But the track is so romantic. The film has Hema Malini and Rajkumar Rao. If you liked the song, I Love You, you will surely love this song too.
Apart from that I have a band Ash King Live. We do mainly live programs. We are planning to bring out a single Rabindrasangeet song in Bengali just before the Pujas. That will be in a video format. Hope I will be able to do justice to the song.
Amongst my Tollywood projects, I have recorded a song for Savvy named Chaichi Toke.
You have worked both in Bollywood and Tollywood. What differences have you come across in the working style of both the industries?
Ash King- Bollywood is more technical and at times stressful. They are always in a rush. I don’t blame them as the films often have big stars and you have a deadline to meet. Hence there is always the mad rush.
In Tollywood, things are done with more passion. There is a certain pace to the way one completes their work. Most of the songs I have sung here have lyrics written by Prosen. He is a bundle of talent. Some of the lyrics of the songs are so witty and funny. Who would have thought about them but him? I have listened to songs sung by Haimanti Shukla, Manna Dey and many other eminent singers. They take their time in singing a particular song. They do not rush.
Many singers have turned actors. Do you have any such plans?
Ash King- No, not at all. Honestly I don’t possess the looks needed to become an actor. Even if I had any plans of becoming an actor in future, I will like to do comedy films. I love to entertain people. Parody videos will also suit me. However, I think I will stick to my singing and let the professional actors do their job.
Our interview came to an end as the singer had more work lined up in his small visit to the city.
(The interview was arranged by Artist Branding)
Priyanka Dutta takes a keen interest in lifestyle and entertainment related news. She also enjoys interviewing celebrities and other renowned personalities. Priyanka holds a post graduate degree in English and Mass Communication. Journalism is her passion and she has reported for many a reputed international web portals.
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