Born and brought up in Amritsar, Punjab, the renowned Bollywood playback singer, Sukhwinder Singh, rose to international fame with this song “Jai Ho” from the film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ in the year 2008. Also popularly known as Sukhi amongst his admirers, the singing sensation has not only limited his talent to singing, but has also achieved success as a music composer, director & lyricist, and lately as an actor. Although he was aspired to become a sportsperson from his early childhood, singing happened to him by chance. Since he got a break in the Hindi film industry in the year 1986, there was no looking back for him. Till date, he has lended his mesmerizing voice in more than hundred Bollywood movies along with other regional films and albums. Sukhi has not only surpassed his talent in the Hindi film industry, but he has a huge fan following in Punjabi as well as in Tamil.
Journey of his musical career:
• Learning Music- The multi-talented Sukhwinder kick started his career at a very tender age of 8 years by signing a melodious number from the movie ‘Abhinetri’ sang by the legendry singer, Lata Mangeskar during a stage performance. His profound love for music grew with each passing day, and learnt music under the guidance of the popular Bollywood music composer duo, Laxmikant Shantaram Kudalkar and Pyarelal Ramprasad Sharma (popularly known as Laxmikant-Pyarelal). He also released his first Punjabi music album, titled: ‘Munda Southhall Da’ marketed by T-Series, prior to joining the troupe of the musicians.
This music album was a turning point to his music career as it helped him to achieve an award, and decided to pursue music as his profession.
• Struggle towards achieving success- Before getting a singing break in the Hindi movie, ‘Karma’, this Punjabi born singer struggled hard to attain a position in the tinsel-town. He worked as a Music arranger for Laxmikant-Pyarelal group. Although his performance in ‘Karma’ remained unnoticed by the listeners, but very soon he got another opportunity to prove his talent by singing in Madhuri Dixit starrer, ‘Khilaaf’. Even though, the song, “Aaja Sanam” was a hit, yet the singer remained unheard. Once again he did not lose hope, and went abroad to gain a deeper understanding about different genres of music. In the meanwhile, he also acted in a Tamil film called, ‘Ralshakudu’.
• Skyrocketing Achievements- After a considerable hiatus from the world of Indian music, Sukhwinder returned with a big bang after the success of the iconic number “Chal Chhaiyya Chhaiyya” from the Mani Ratnam directed film- ‘Dil Se’ in 1998. It was his self confidence and faith that kept him going even during the odd days of his singing career, and got him the prestigious Filmfare Award for best playback male singer in the year 1999.Since then, the ace singer witnessed an upswing in his profession and managed to grab the best playback male singer Filmfare Award once again in the year 2009, for the Shah Rukh Khan starrer song, “Haule Haule” from the movie ‘Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi’. Other chartbuster songs that Sukhi has in his credit includes, “Huh Hud Dabang” (Dabang), title song of ‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’, “Lootnewale” ( Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola), “Anarkali Disco Chali” (Housefull 2), “Banjara Banjara” (Ek Tha Tiger), “Tere Bin Sukha Sukha Saawan”(Kahani), title song of ‘Chak De India’ and many more. Other cinemas in which he lended his eloquent voice includes: Bol Bachchan, Taal, 1947 Earth, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, Om Shanti Om, Kurbaan, Ishqiya, Omkara, Billu Barbar, Dillagi, Zubeidaa, Fashion, Garam Masala, Luck, Kisna, Tere Naam, Kaminey, Black & White, Biwi No.1, The Legend of Bhagat Singh, Kuch Kariye, Chance Pe Dance, Ravan, Bachna Ae Haseeno, Chalte Chalte, Tashaan, Paheli, Lagaan and others.
From Sufi music to Thumri and Rock, Sukhwinder has excelled in all the genres and has a huge fan following in India and abroad. His surging voice went international with the success of “Jai Ho”. He also sang an authentic Indian song for a Steven Spielberg’s movie. Even his famous song, “Chal Chhaiyya Chhaiyya” was used in 2006 in another Denzel Washington starrer picture, ‘Inside Man’.
Association with the maestro A.R Rahman:
A hardcore admirer of Mexican music and culture, Sukhwinder owes his success to the music maestro A.R Rahman. The duo has created magic not only in the Indian music industry, but has set the stage on fire even in foreign lands. No doubt, it was a Rahman composer, which helped Sukhi to reestablish himself in the industry. After the immense success of “Chaiyan Chaiyan”, both of them worked closely with each other and created a number of Blockbuster compositions like: “Ramta Jogi” & “Ishq Bina” from Taal; ” Jai Ho” from Slumdog Millionarie; “Chinamma Chinkumma” ( Tamil-Meenaxi); “Aaj Dil Gustakh” (Blue), “Ruth Aa Gayee Re”, “Yeh Jo Zindagi Hain” (1947-The Earth); “Thok De Killi” (Raavan ); “Pagdi sambhaal jatta” (The Legend of Bhagat Singh); “Jaane Tu Mera Kya Hai” from Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na; “Aayo Re Sakhi”, “Piya Ho” and “Bhangari Morori” (Water), etc.
Whenever Rahman had to create any musical masterpiece, he mostly likes to approach Sukhwinder to create the magical aura. Rahman being an excellent music composer, arranger, sound editor and sound engineer, he always believes that a good piece of art can be created only through experiment. Hence, multi-talented artist like Sukhi has always remained his first choice. However, duo plans to take music to a higher level, where they can express themselves instead of confining their talent within the framework of Indian Cinema.
Apart from his association with the living legend, Sukhi has also bonded himself with music director Sandeep Chowta, with whom he wishes to establish a high-tech recording studio in Mumbai.
Sukhwinder Singh as an Actor:
Although never thought to take up acting as a career, acting happened to him by chance. It was during the recording of the songs of the movie ‘Kuch Kariye’ (2010), when the director, Jagbir Dahiya approached Sukhi to play the lead role. Seeing him recording with expressions and feelings, which was a pre-requisite for the lead role ‘Rishi’, the director offered him the proposal. Although reluctant at the beginning, the singer gave his consent after going through the script. In the movie too he plays the role of a musician, who comes from a relatively small town to Mumbai in order to pursue his music career.
Although the movie did not work out in the box office, yet the director is keen to re-launch it once more with a few changes. However, for Sukhwinder, music is his first love, and it will never take the backseat for the sake of acting.
Like most singers, Sukhwinder too enjoys experimenting with music. From high noted “Anarkali Disco Chali” to Sufi mix “Dum Dum”, he can sing all. Lately, he also recorded a motivational song to encourage the Indian athletes during the London Olympics 2012. Featuring superstars like, Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan, the song ” Is baar Tiranga London Mein Phehraiga” composed by Salim Sulaiman succeeded in creating the right effect, and as a result India came out with flying colors by winning six medals. Another song ”Chak De India” too became the National sports anthem of the country containing the eloquent voice of the star singer. He also sang for various sports like hockey and Kabaddi, where India celebrated its victory.