Its remarkable how the milestones in my life have changed the way people perceive me. The first song that topped countdown shows across the nation was Ole Ole from Yeh Dillagi. The song was picturised on Saif Ali Khan and he played the role of an outrageous flirt. Despite being a monstrous hit, I could feel that people were identifying me with Saifs character. Needless to say, the subsequent numbers to which I lent my voice, such as Main Khiladi Tu Anari and Tan Tana Tan, never really proved my credibility as a serious individual.
Chalte Chalte was the film that finally highlighted that I could be equally good at singing soulful melodies. Youngsters croon all the tracks from the film even today. That movie was definitely a turning point in my career.
Post Chalte Chalte, I have sung for several films like Main Hoon Na and Dhoom, the songs of which have gone on to become chartbusters. But listeners were still relating to me as a character in films, though not a flippant one now.
People actually saw how I responded to things in the music reality show Star Voice of India where I was one of the judges. They could now put a face on the voice and saw me for what I was. It brought me closer to my fans in many ways. This is another significant moment in my life.
Apart from my professional commitments, I organise the Lokhandvala Durga Puja in Mumbai. Its my commitment to the community. I play the humble host and try to personally welcome each visitor to the festival. Its an experience that cannot be replicated elsewhere. The Puja has always been a resounding success and I consider that a blessing.
(As told to Susmita Saha)