There is no middle ground when it comes to Himesh Reshammiya. Either you love him or you hate him.
For those who hate him, here's the big news: Himesh is going to stop singing.
Himesh-fans, don't you worry, we mean he's just going to be cutting out the nasal element to his songs. To most of his detractors, that's good enough.
Himesh said, "I will stop nasal singing. I will change if the time comes. I am 100% sure about it. The day I feel people are loving some different kind of music, I will opt for it and change myself."
Asked if he wasn't dictating his music to market demands rather than creativity, he frowned angrily, saying, "I gave music for Banaras and Kuch Meetha Ho Jaye. These two albums were the best of my music, but they flopped. The songs did not sell. From that point onwards I have become pure sales, baaki sab gaya tel lagane (the rest can go to hell). I feel if Himesh does not sell," he smiles, "you wouldn't be here to interview him."
Used to dominating dancefloors, Himesh has been on a sabbatical for the last 6 months and is doing far lesser films today. After 36 major hits in a span of 18 months, he gave up plum assignments because of too much demand. He felt his songs were competing against each other, making the producers of his films lose money.
Since then he decided to do only 4 films this year, plus a pop album -- and one film in which he will act.
He's upbeat about his latest release, Namastey London, where he's collaborated with lyricist Javed Akhtar for the first time. "Javedsaab is truly a legend. I always wanted to work with him but things never worked out. I am happy that Namastey London finally worked for both of us."
Answering critics who feel Akhtar's words might not be suited to Reshammiya's usually-insubstantial music, Himesh said, "He is a great poet and I told him that if he wants to use difficult words in the lyrics of Namastey London he was free to do so. We have used the word veeraniyan (wilderness) which is used rarely."
The highlight of Himesh's year is his curiously spelt acting debut, Aap Ka Suroor - The Moviee. The film will be shot in 18 countries and hit theatres on July 6. "I think I have it in me," Himesh said pensively. "When I started singing, people said I couldn't sing because I was a music director. I proved them wrong. Now, I will prove to them that I can act too."
Does the constant criticism of his music in the press bother him? Not quite. "There is only 1% of the audience who don't like me, but I'm confident that I will soon win them over too."
"I feel it is God who is making me do all this. Today people are criticising my move to act because there is no one for comparision. Nobody in our film industry did what I have done," added Himesh.
What about Sonu Nigam's ill-fated attempts at acting? "Sonu is the best singer of India. I don't want to say anything more on him. Period." There is rumoured to be some friction between the two singers, with Nigam publically ridiculing Himesh's nasal stylings -- while not taking his name directly.
While on Reshammiya, it's impossible to not mention the baseball caps. The singer has turned the generic peak-cap into a virtual logo of sorts, and admits he has bought thousands of caps over the last couple of years.
So, how many caps then? He isn't telling. "I have a collection of caps, but I never count them. Nor do I ever count the number of films I have done so far. I have become very superstitious."
"I am totally insecure today," reveals Reshammiya. "In fact, I think I'm the most insecure man in the film industry. I am a human and I fear flops. I cannot say that flops won't affect me today. I am always worried whether my next song will click with the masses or not. The best in me is coming only because I am insecure. The day I become secure I will become complacent."
As a composer in a fickle film industry, does he fear he might die like a recluse like legendary music director O P Nayyar? "Yes that is possible," Himesh nods gravely. "You never know what fate has in store for you.I feel life is all about destiny. I believe in my karma theory: I never do bad, and try to be a good human being all the time. I only pray and hope God blesses everyone."