There is another big birthday today, but I am following a “if you can’t say anything nice” policy and ignoring it. But that means Sukhwinder gets a day all to himself! And he deserves it, he has worked very hard for a very long time.
Sukhwinder doesn’t have the kind of voice that gets a lot of starring songs. It’s kind of rough sounding, and harsh. He does a lot of work as the extra male voice in ensemble songs. Like in Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, when they needed 4 distinctive voices, 2 male and 2 female, they brought in Sukhwinder.
Music directors will pick him when they want that rough every man sound to their songs.
He doesn’t seem to have a regular music director collaborator, not the way Arijit Singh works with Pritam for instance, but he does work with Rahman fairly often, when Rahman needs that rough sound.
Other music directors too, every once in a while will find a really spectacular way to showcase his sound.
There’s a kind of aggressive misery in his voice.
Which can also turn into a strange sort of party song with an edge to it feeling, like in his recent hit from Soorma.
Or in “Slow Motion Angreza” from Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. His voice works well for songs sung by strong manly men.
His voice makes you believe it could be a real person singing, not a famous movie star or playback singer, but just a regular person lifting up their voice.
Maybe that’s why he’s often used for the voice of the second hero. The less heroic hero.
Right from the early days, Kumar Sanu got the good bits of this song, Sukhwinder was left with the dregs.
Which isn’t to say he hasn’t had his chances to shine, his big hit songs! Often with Shahrukh, something about Shahrukh’s unusual difficult face goes with Sukhwinder’s unusual difficult voice.
Sukhwinder isn’t a famous name and doesn’t have a lot of songs to his credit, but if you crawl through his filmography you will find that he has been a part of a handful of classics. A reminder that everyone has their part to play, and everyone will have their moment to shine. From “Chak De India”
To “Haule Haule”
To “Chaiyya Chaiyya”