From a stage performance at the age of three to professional singing in popular reality shows, Abhijeet has come a long way. Interviewing India’s Vinaya caught up with Abhijeet at a Barista cafe to find out the fuel that powers this young singer’s ambition. Read on to find out this young man’s dream and how he is very close to achieving it.
Abhijeet Sanjeev Patankar, 31, Singer, Pune
Interviewed by Vinaya Kurtkoti
Why did you decide to give us an interview on music?
I am a singer, and there’s nothing greater than music in my life. I can talk about music for hours. The fact is that others listen to music or sing along, but main music jeeta hoon (I live for music).
How did music come into your life?
I was three years old when I performed for the first time. It was a group performance for my school gathering. That’s when I discovered my love for music, and others around me realised that I had the potential to pursue singing as a career. That was not the beginning of my career maybe, but of my passion for music.
Did you learn music in school?
No. Unfortunately, music was not taught in our school. But my friends knew that I loved singing, so I would sing for them while drumming and tapping on the classroom desks. It was the ‘90s, so there were many beautiful songs, like “Saanson ki zaroorat hai jaise…” I was punished for this habit multiple times.
When did you decide to become a musician?
I used to play cricket. In fact, I was the house captain for my school team. I’ve even played at Nehru Stadium. However, at one point, I had to choose between cricket and music. Because, after hours of a gruelling cricket practice in the morning, you cannot go on to do musical shows in the evening. So, even though I wasn’t bad at academics, and I was really good at sports, I felt music was my calling, that I was born to be a musician.
After school, I was determined to make it big in this industry. I just wanted to sing. By then, I had won a few singing competitions and had made a few contacts, who would invite me to perform in shows.
What was the experience of performing in these shows during your college years like?
For all the exposure it gave me, there wasn’t much money in such shows. I’d get paid as low as Rs.50 for a night. It did gradually increase to Rs.100, 150, 300… and now, sky is the limit.
What did your parents think of your musical ambitions?
“You will achieve whatever I couldn’t during my lifetime,” my father said when I told him about becoming a singer. You know, he wanted to be a musician when he was young? But my grandfather was against it and wanted him to have a regular job. I’m the only one in my joint family who’s in this field and an artist. Without their support, maybe I’d still be a singer, but I am sure I would not be as well-known as I am now. I think every parent should support their children no matter what their dreams are, and not expect all of them to be doctors or engineers.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
This was in 2015, I was driving back home from a Navratri show. It was 11.15 pm, I got a call from RJ Apoorva of Radio City. “Have you ever met Sonu Nigam?” she asked. First I thought she was kidding but later she told me that they were looking for Sonu Nigam’s fans. I told her, “I’m not a fan, I’m his bhakt (devotee).” He’s my guru, he’s like an older brother to me. The next day I got a call from Colors TV and I got to meet Sonu Ji! He already knew about me, and my tattoo! We are friends on a social media website now.
We sang standing next to each other, which was one of my biggest dreams, and met him several times after that.
The other highlight was when I sang on the reality show ‘Dil Hain Hindustani.’ We performed there with 40 musicians in front of Karan Johar, Shalmali Kholgade and Baadshah. This was a memorable moment for me because I could see that Karan Johar was moved to tears when I was singing.
Where do you see yourself going from here?
Bollywood! But Marathi playback singing will also do. I’ve sung jingles for a few ads but my big dream is to sing for Bollywood or Marathi films so that I can reach a wider audience.
The last question has nothing to do with your interview topic. But we ask everyone we interview – what does love mean to you?
There are many definitions of love. But for me there is no greater love than what a mother feels for her child. It is selfless. A mother’s love is like water, purer than an elixir. That’s why always love your parents, however they may be. You are nothing without them.