In a recent interview A R Rahman was asked about this trend of actors singing for themselves and he replied
Yes, like in the West, actors never practise to use someone else’s voice. Nicole Kidman used her own voice in Moulin Rouge. I think that should happen in India too. It will be good if actors learn music because it will make our industry more credible. It will be good if these things could happen simultaneously.[Interview: Sound of Rahman via LazyGeek]
Kamal Haasan imposes himself on most of his films these days as a playback singer and Aamir Khan had the hit, Aati Kya Khandala. Sanjay Dutt and Amitabh Bachchan too have tried various songs. In Malayalam, Mohanlal has tried a few songs with his limited singing capabilities and among actresses Manju Warrier has atleast one song (Chembazhukka Chembazhukka).
Still all these actors have limitations and we will alyways need playback singers. While choosing the playback singer, one important factor should be how well their voices match.
As an example let us look at Vineeth Srinivasan who has ventured into singing big time. In Udayananu Tharam, he sang a song for his father and it was excellent since both of them have the same voice and we felt as if Srinivasan himself was singing that song. Both Mammotty and Mohanlal do not have the same voice as Srinivasan and we were amused to see Vineeth singing playback for both of them, in Thuruppugulan and Rasathanthram. Similarly it was Afsal who sang for Mammotty in Rajamanikyam. Recently we saw the movie Sanmasullavarku Samadhanam (again) and it was Yesudas who sang Pavizhamalli for Srinivasan.
Imagine a man with an excellent voice like Mammotty acting all macho in Thuruppugulan and when it comes time to sing a song, he sounds like a bumblebee. Similary it is odd when a man with the voice of a bumblebee like Srinivasan turning all baritonic when he sings Pavizhamalli.
We don’t mean to say that new singers like Vineeth and Afsal are bad singers, it is just that their voices does not suit certain actors. Probably since we grew up hearing the voice of Yesudas, we think he is the right voice for Mammotty and Mohanlal. A better way to use these talents would be to let the song play in the background while the story progresses forrward. In this technique, the actors do not have to lip synch to the songs and it would not look odd as well.
We wish film makersÂ pay serious attention to these aspects.
Read Also: How mediocre singers come up