Movie Songs

20 Years of Murder EXCLUSIVE: Kunal Ganjwalla reveals that he hid from his wife that he had sung ‘Bheege Honth Tere’ due to its lyrics: “But the song started playing everywhere. My wife asked me, ‘What is this song that you have sung?’ I promptly said, ‘That’s not me’!” : Bollywood News

April 20, 20247 Mins Read

The landmark film Murder (2004) completed 20 years on April 2. It is remembered not just for Emraan Hashmi and Mallika Sherawat’s bold scenes but also for its hit soundtrack. The song ‘Bheege Honth Tere’ stands out – it talks about lovemaking but in an aesthetic manner. Singer Kunal Ganjwalla, who crooned the track, became an overnight sensation with its success. As Murder completed 20 years, the talented singer gave a rare interview to Bollywood Hungama about how he bagged a song, its impact and a lot more. Kunal Ganjawalla was travelling but was kind enough to send his answers to us.


20 Years of Murder EXCLUSIVE: Kunal Ganjwalla reveals that he hid from his wife that he had sung ‘Bheege Honth Tere’ due to its lyrics: “But the song started playing everywhere. My wife asked me, ‘What is this song that you have sung?’ I promptly said, ‘That’s not me’!”


How did you get a chance to be a part of ‘Bheege Honth Tere’? I believe you have worked with Anu Malik before…


Yes, I have worked with Mr Anu Malik many times since 1998, thanks to Ranjit Barot who introduced me to him and used my voice in most of the music productions. Originally, renowned legendary playback singer Poornima Shrestha introduced me to Mr Malik way back in 1993.


Is it true that Mr KK was the original choice?


Wow, that is some news to me. You tell me more about this scoop as this really is some serious info! That said, I definitely know that I wasn’t the original choice by the producers of this movie, as communicated to me by Mr Malik and his assistant Bipin Panchal. I got a call a few days before Diwali of 2003 and was asked if I could come and sing this song on the day of Festival Of Lights and I did. I remember halfway through the recording, Mr Mukesh Bhatt walked into the studio. I was already singing the song and he was wondering who I was and what I was doing singing this song! But Mr Malik whispered into his ears and asked me to continue singing. After the recording was over, Mr Mukesh Bhatt gave me a big hug and said, “A star is born today!” The credit of course goes to Mr Anu Malik and his conviction in me.


Towards the end, you sing in a unique style. Whose idea was it?


That was my idea as singing in a head voice was a very cool sonic signature and no one had done so in Bollywood then. However, it’s been a regular thing in the west


Did you have apprehensions about the lyrics?


Yes, I had some serious apprehensions about the lyrics and I was seriously worried about my career being over before it started! Everything was happening so quickly; Mr Malik taught me the tune and made me write the lyrics all in about 20 minutes. I couldn’t even express my fear as Mr Malik was saying “Kunal, go quickly on the mic and just kill the song. Aag laga de. Go, go, go!” I asked the God Almighty to help me sing this song and save me. I truly surrendered for the first time in my life to GOD without any human effort whatsoever. This wasn’t something that I had ever asked the Lord in my wildest dreams (laughs)! But God works in mysterious ways as they say. What seemed like the scariest day turned out to be the biggest blessing so far in my life (smiles).


If you don’t mind me asking, how much were you paid to sing the song?


Well, let me put it this way – I was paid what Mr Anu Malik always paid me. Also, I didn’t really think my voice was going to be retained; so, everything was a bonus at the end of it all.



Do you remember how the song was received by the aam junta back then?


It was just something I never expected. I had gone to Pune for the musical launch of a Rajshri film, Uuf Kya Jaadoo Mohabbat Hai (2004), in which I had sung three songs for Sandesh Shandilya, who is a very dear composer friend. I remember Rajat Barjatya, Sooraj ji, Sandesh bhai, Sunidhi Chauhan and I were a part of the press conference. The press didn’t ask me questions because obviously, I was inconsequential in that gathering of renowned people. But as the press meet was winding up, suddenly one journalist asked, “Are you Kunal Ganjawalla? Your new song has become a rage”! I looked left and right and said “Yes, I am Kunal”. Honestly, I had no clue what song he was talking about because it was about 5 months since the recording. Also, I had lived with the song for not more than half an hour during the recording.


Then we visited Planet M and I was asked to sing the song as soon as I entered the store. I couldn’t remember the lyrics; hence, I asked them to play the song and requested that I sing along! I know it was a little awkward but it saved me.


In these 20 years, a lot of people have come up and told me how they loved it. I’ve had so many young mothers at airports and holiday destinations tell me that their babies sleep to this song! So many couples tell me that my song was a rage when they got hitched. Also, I’ve had elderly couples walk up to me and say they absolutely love the song just like they’ve loved some timeless classic songs of the golden era. What more could anyone ever ask for? (smiles)



I remember reading in the Filmfare Awards special issue that you hid from your partner that you sang this song. They found out after they heard it at some roadside stall. Could you please tell us this story?


(Amazed) You’ve actually scooped most of the info from the 2 ½ interviews I’ve done to date by choice! Like I had said, I was apprehensive about the lyrics. The song became a rage and started playing everywhere. It obviously played around our condos too. One day, my wife heard it and asked me, “What is this song that you have sung?”! I promptly said, “That’s not me” (laughs). I then quickly went to a music store. I didn’t know which film the song was for and hence, asked the staffer, “Which movie soundtrack does ‘Bheege Honth Tere’ feature in?”


When I saw the cover of the soundtrack on the CD, I was like, “Oh My God”! I thought that was going to be the end of my career before it started. So, I hid it right at the back of the CD rack at home. However, it started playing back-to-back all around and my life changed forever!


This song made Emraan Hashmi a star. Did he ever thank you or praise you?


I’ve met Emraan only a few times and every time, he came across as a gentleman. Yes, he did become famous with this film just like Mallika Sherawat, director Anurag Basu and myself. I don’t watch television that much or read film magazines. So, I don’t know whether he praised or thanked me. But I guess the respect we have for each other is mutual.


You got a Golden Filmfare statue since it was the 50th edition of the awards. That must have given you a high, isn’t it?


Yes, it was quite surreal to be at the 50th Filmfare Awards and to see so many yesteryear luminaries present there was such a thrill. I won two Golden Filmfare Awards on the same historic night as a Playback Singer and the R D Burman Award for Best New Talent. I was told that it was rare and that it hadn’t happened before. It was beyond my imagination to have won the Best Playback Singer Award that night as Udit Narayan ji was nominated for 2 songs and my brother Sonu Nigam was nominated for 3 songs. So, it was like God’s grace all the way.


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