Shashaa Tirupati, the voice behind Humma humma, says she had to walk a tightrope while recreating the cult classic
Shashaa Tirupati, the multi-lingual singer, has won hearts both down South and in Bollywood. Her song Sarsariya from Mohenjo Daro won rave reviews, while her recently released song Humma humma has become an overnight party anthem. We spoke to the singer and got her talking about being a household name, even in Bollywood.
“I got a call from Dharma and was asked to record a song for Sony. I didn’t know what it was for. A week before the song released, I saw my name in the credits and realised that the song was for Ok Jaanu. It was a strange coincidence that I had crooned for songs in the original film OK Kanmani as well.”
On working with music maestro AR Rahman, Tirupati says, “It’s been almost three years since I’ve been working with Rahman Sir. My first experience working with him was at Coke Studio. He had heard some of my work from the auditions as I was one of the lucky seven to have been shortlisted for it. He asked which one of us was Shashaa and I raised my hand. It still feels unreal.
“I can’t find words to express how I feel when I’m working with him. I’ve worshipped him for the longest time. I just wanted to sing one song for him and now I have sung 20-25 songs for him. Working with him is a learning experience. You discover new things about your singing, you discover things that you didn’t know,” she says.
On the brief she was given, Tirupati reveals, “I was asked to sing in a very seductive manner as the song has a lounge kind of vibe. I was also asked to sing in a raunchy way as it is a bedroom sequence. Obviously, I couldn’t go all out, in comparison to the original song, which is very upbeat. So the situation required the song to be mellow.”
But recreating an original song always comes with baggage and it is difficult to take on the might and moxie of the original team that put it together. “More than intimidated, I felt inspired because Humma humma is a cult song. For me, it was about adding to the beauty of the song without taking away its originality. “
On the current trend of remixing songs in Bollywood, Tirupati adds, “I feel some songs shouldn’t be remixed. For instance, I have grown up listening to Lata Ji’s songs and I feel her song Lag jaa gale should never ever be recreated. Having said that, songs should be recreated only if you can do justice to the original song and add beauty to it.”