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Singing with Remo(rse) can lead to controversy
23rd Apr 2001   10.53 IST
By ApunKaChoice Bureau  


Former Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao, whose attempts to remain in power a decade ago kicked up a legal row, retains his sense of humor even when the chips are down, as famed singer Remo Fernandes discovered to his pleasant surprise.

Perhaps afraid it may kick up a 'row' (pun intended), Remo wrote to the then Prime Minister to say that he did not mean any disrespect in his song 'Don't kick up the Rao' in his 1993 chartbusting album 'Politicians don't know how to Rock N Roll'. He was surprised when he received a cryptic letter from Mr. Rao, which said 'No Remo(rse)', cleverly using the singer's name to convey the message.

This was not the first time that Remo got into controversy over a song, as his number on Rajiv Gandhi ''Hello Rajiv Gandhi'' was also controversial. "A certain section of the press in Goa who had to pick a bone with me - because of a previous song I had written about them - started a campaign against me. It was a very systematic campaign. For two weeks there was an article against me for every single day. And I could see that the editor - who on earlier occasions had ruined the lives of politicians with whom the owners of the paper did not see eye to eye - was trying to do the same to me."

But Remo said in an interview to Karan Thapar on BBC World that ''Rajiv simply loved the song. He came backstage and took the cassettes. At the end of two weeks I posted the first clip to (then) Prime Minister. Just imagine a small pop star writing to the PM of a country...But something in me said that Rajiv Gandhi would reply if he gets it. After two weeks I saw an official letter from the PM house and he pointed out how much he loved the song ...and to ignore what was happening all around.''

To a question about his first Hindi Album ''Oh Meri Munni'', Remo said it was meant to have a social message for adolescent girls. "I could sense that the phase was the beginning of sexual liberation in India, and I saw the liberation with the very young. Unfortunately it came at a time when the danger is lurking...AIDS is around...and one has to be careful."

While refusing to give details about his future album, the Indipop singer said it was very special to him in more than one way as 'It has a new type of music, which is very different - Its not even pop'. He said to ensure that no recording company can interfere with his kind of music, he preferred to first complete his album and then start negotiating for its recording and release.

Born and brought up in Goa, Remo says he owes his success to his father, an industrialist. Although his father had shut down his soft drink business and got into Real Estate so that Remo does not have to struggle when he becomes an architect, he gave full support when
Remo said he was keen to pursue a career in music.

Once when he was around seven, Remo was cast in a school play on the insistence of his father. However, when he realized in his first rehearsal that he had to run after a girl in one of the scenes, he froze. He could not even move from his chair. It was beyond his imagination to run after a girl. He still recalls that after the rehearsals he thought that acting is one thing he would never be able to do. However, in the end he did manage to play the part. Now when he watches his videos and commercials, it surprises him how he has managed to do them.

In 1982 Remo came out with his debut album called ''Goan Crazy''. The next year, he got an offer from Shyam Benegal to compose the music in his film ''Trikaal''. Two years later, he composed the music of the Pankaj Parashar-directed ''Jalwa'' and also sang the title song. The same year Remo came out with his second album called ''Old Goan Gold''. In 1986 his next album ''Pack that Smack'' came out. The title song was about the harmful effect of drugs. The very next year he came out with his next album, ''Bombay City''.

In 1992 Remo came out with his fifth album ''Politicians don't know how to rock n' roll'' which he says is his highest selling album to date. In 1995, he sang for A.R. Rahman in Mani Rathnam's ''Bombay''.

The song ''Humma Humma'' took the nation by storm. Other film songs include ''Huiya-Huiya'' from 'Khamoshi', and the title songs of 'Daud' and for ''Aflatoon''. In 1998 Remo came out with his first Hindi pop album called ''O Meri Munni'' and later sang the title song for ''Pyar to hona hi tha'' in which he made a small guest appearance.