The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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New innings on a pop pitch

Why is Ganguly sure to bring home the World Cup' While reams of newsprint have been spent on analysis, here is one logic that has escaped the yeah-sayers. “If you look at the Cup-winning captains, Clive Lloyd batted left-handed, Kapil right, Alan Border left, Imran Khan right, Arjuna Ranatunga left and Steve Waugh right. So, sequentially, our man at the helm, being a southpaw, it’s his turn to pick up the Cup,” Babul Supriyo sits up in excitement in his hotel room. Almost in response, his cellphone starts beeping. “Hadn’t thought of that. Hope it’s true.” The sender: Sourav Ganguly.

“I have kept in touch with Sourav all through the tournament through SMS,” says the Uttarpara crooner, who modulates his vocal chords with as much elan as the Behala boy wields the willow. To take the similarity further, the two are soon going to share the same brand of bats. “I have ordered one from Dasgupta’s, the shop from where Sourav gets his kit,” he grins.

Babul Supriyo, in town to promote his pop album Sochta Hun, is among the most passionate cricket-lovers in Bollywood. And the reason for his bat hunt is not too far to seek. “On March 21, Shaan and I are organising a cricket match at Khar Gymkhana Grounds,” says the singer, who will open for his team. Like Ganguly’s Kenyan encounter at Durban, it will be a day-night affair. “Vishal Bharadwaj, Mahesh Manjrekar, Jatin, Lalit …. The line-up is not final yet,” he states, adding: “I play my cricket passionately. I will not think twice before jumping for a catch.”

The singer, who shot into the limelight with Kaho Naa... Pyar Hai in 2000, has taken his time before bringing out his first solo pop album. “I wanted to get the combination right — the biggest label (Universal), the right sound (from debutant trio Sami-Maroof, Salif) and a dream launch,” he explains. “(Amitabh) Bachchan saab did the honours at the programme on February 24. It was almost too good to be true. Maybe, some day I will even sing for him,” he adds, wistfully.

Though Babul is keen to taste success with his pop venture, he is quick to point out that playback singing remains his area of focus. “I am not trying to break into the indipop market. If a watercolour painter gets the chance to do an oil painting, will he not do it' This album is just an extension of my creative self,” he points out.

But the good-looking singer is clear in his mind that he does not intend to follow in his friend and colleague Sonu Nigam’s footsteps. “It will be a blunder at this stage of my career. I can’t leave singing in trying to build muscles,” he says. He, however, does workouts in the gym he has built in his Mumbai house to “keep himself fresh”.

He is looking forward to an album he has done with Kavita Krishnamurthy for Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma and lyricist Javed Akhtar, as also a spate of film releases — Aitbaar, Zameen, Ek Aur Ek Gyara, Janasheen, Hungama... He hits out at a section of the media which blamed him for the failure of the recent films he has sung for. “Jitle dada, harle gadha (A hero if you win, a zero if you lose). This has to stop,” he declares.

Incidentally, an SMS from the singer slamming this trend had struck a chord with the Indian skipper after the loss to the Aussies in the preliminary round and the criticism back home.

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