Ash King (middle) with his parents Shankar and Nalini
London, Aug. 31: Ash King, who sings I Love You in the new Salman Khan-Kareena Kapoor starrer Bodyguard, is in reality Ashutosh Ganguly, it can be revealed.
Ash was born into a Bengali family with a Santiniketan music tradition, his father said.
On the eve of its official release, Bodyguard got a preview screening in London last night at the Cineworld in Haymarket, where Ash King, a Southall boy, was introduced to the audience by the films press officer, Ashanti Omkar, from Spice PR.
Ash sang a few bars from the song which was enough to convince the audience that the boy has talent.
Ash said that it was Salman who heard his version of I Love You and in the way things happen in Bollywood, where the star decides what goes in and what is kept out, apparently liked the British Asian rendering of the title track.
Then, Ash, who had not seen the movie, sat down with his parents who introduced themselves to The Telegraph as Shankar Ganguly, who had come to the UK from Calcutta in 1972, and Nalini Ganguly (Nee Patel), a Gujarati.
Ami Bangla bolte pari, Nalini said in perfect Bengali, which made it apparent she was non-Bengali.
She is vegetarian but she cooks meat, fish, everything, her husband pointed out, getting to her principal accomplishments.
Shankars father, Brojendro Lal Ganguly, had studied classical music at Santiniketan.
Ash King is his stage name, said the mother, clearly proud of her son.
Unlike stereotypical Indian parents, they did not ever say to Ashutosh: This singing is alright as a hobby but why dont you get a proper job?
Ash said: I think I got this job because Salman wanted someone with an English accent to sing the I Love You English lyrics in the song. They also liked the American black gospel effect and it was my dad who had first asked me to join a Black gospel group in London.
I speak Bengali, Gujarati and English — no wonder I am confused, grinned Ash. Ash and King are my nicknames so it became Ash King.
He said: I recorded I Love You at the Pritam Studios in Andheri (in Mumbai) which is run by a Bengali, Pritam Chakraborty, so you could say it was the Bengali circuit at work. I was very nervous.
This is not, however, Ashs first Bollywood outing. Thanks to A.R. Rahman, who heard him and has pushed his case, he has sung Dil Gira Dafatan in Delhi-6, Suno Aisha in Aisha, and Te Amo in Dum Maaro Dum.
It may be a while before I Love You becomes a haunting classic like Whitney Houstons Ill Always Love You from the 1992 Hollywood movie, The Bodyguard, starring Kevin Costner, but, if last nights audience reaction is anything to go by, Ash King has a bright future.
In the Bollywood film, Ash King replaced Shaan on Salmans say so, it can also be revealed.