Abu Dhabi: Sunidhi Chauhan looking forward to IIFA Rocks performance

The Indian musician talks about her love for performing in the country and what makes her wanting to come back


Husain Rizvi

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Published: Tue 23 May 2023, 6:22 PM

Last updated: Tue 23 May 2023, 7:41 PM

Sunidhi Chauhan has been an integral part of every Bollywood music lover's playlist. The range she has had, from the early 2000s up until now, is no less than impressive.

Sunidhi has sung catchy tunes that leave us humming, be it Desi Girl, Crazy Kiya Re, Dhoom Machaale, Sheila Ki Jawaani, Saami Saami; the list can go on and on.

Safe to say, Sunidhi has become a global sensation with Bollywood lovers residing in every corner of the world. And she makes sure she regularly goes on tour to treat her fans.

"There are going to be a lot of shows in 2023," Sunidhi told City Times in a conversation earlier this year. "A lot of ticketed concerts all over the world."

The playback singer recently performed during a live concert to raise funds in support of cancer patients, in Mumbai. Now, she is all set for another showstopping concert at IIFA Rocks 2023 in Abu Dhabi on May 26.

We caught up with Sunidhi to discuss the impact of Bollywood in the UAE and the Middle East and what makes her wanting to come back to the country.

Excerpts from the interview:

You're back in the UAE for yet another performance, this time at the IIFA Rocks. How did you feel when you first heard of this?

Firstly, I love UAE. I love Dubai and Abu Dhabi. I was recently in Yas Island for a little family vacation and I got so excited when I got to know I will be performing there. Nothing can beat this; I am getting to perform and it is really an exciting time for me. I am preparing hard, I am really going to try and do my best because this platform is where you can do anything; you can be experimental and there will be many people from all over the globe to watch you. So I think nothing can beat this.

Do you remember the moment when you first performed in the country? How did it feel back then?

It was very exciting because I remember it was back in early 2000s or late 1990s. Lot of shows were happening, people were going to Dubai all the time and talking about how people there are very welcoming and they love music. We used to hear that Dubai has a variety of audience that listens to everything, and that's true. When I performed here, I remember people were not in a hurry to get to the fast paced music, they were there just to listen to whatever I sang that night. I don't remember very clearly, but I do remember the experience I had in Dubai the very first time and that it made me want to go back there again.

Two decades on, you're a regular performer in the country. Would you say the UAE and its people have changed, or developed its taste in music over the years?

They have changed, yes, and in a very good way. The country underwent massive development in each department. Look at Yas Island for that matter. And the fact that IIFA is happening there for the second year in a row. The country's culture, love for music, and its people's welcoming nature is incredible. That is the reason why people like us keep returning to the country, and just for shows but also to have a good time with family and friends. The country generally has a good vibe.

With IIFA returning for the second year in a row, what are your thoughts on the impact Bollywood has created on the UAE and the Middle East?

People from different cultures in Dubai come together to watch Bollywood films or listen to Bollywood music. Yes, and vice versa. I love listening to Arabic music and there have been so many songs in the past that I have sung in which I have incorporated that style of singing. The Arabic music, the dance, there are so many things that we've exchanged between us. And, of course, our cultures. There's a mutual respect between us which just keeps bringing us back to each other.

Would that possibly mean that Sunidhi Chauhan will collaborate with an Arabic musician?

I am saying that (laughs). I would love to collaborate with one of the artists from the Arab world, absolutely.

Coming back to IIFA Rocks 2023, what can fans expect from your show?

Well, the time is less. It is only a 35-minute slot. But all of the performers, we know each and there's a mutual respect between us, are looking forward to performing at the event night. I hope that I am able to do my best in those 35 minutes, although it is difficult to choose from what songs I can sing. But songs like Saami Saami and Sheila Ki Jawani, I just cannot not sing it because I know people are expecting. There will also be a set of songs which are really close to my heart and I will also experiment with it a little when I present.

What do you have to say to all the fans coming to watch your show at IIFA Rocks 2023?

IIFA means party time! You get to see so much, and live so much. So just come and have a good time. I am going to have a great time myself. The best part for me is that I am performing and this will be another opportunity to meet you guys, enjoying and celebrating our music.

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