Excerpts from his interview:
Ques: Your fans did not like your public apology to Salman Khan?
Arijit Singh: I have no regrets about it. I know where my fans are coming from and I understand their concern. But I did what I had to do. This song in Sultan( Salman Khan's film ) which was deleted was very important. When you see the film, you'll get to know why it's so special. And it's really not just about the song.
Ques: Then what is it about?
Arijit Singh: See, I told everyone associated with the song that they shouldn't record it with me because Mr Salman Khan is not on cordial terms with me.
Ques: What exactly happened between the two of you?
Arijit Singh: This was my first award function. I wasn't prepared to go for it because I was editing a song for my mentor Pritam da (composer Pritam Chakraborty) but Mukesh Bhatt ji, who was a jury member for that particular awards function, insisted that I should come for the function. And since the Bhatts' Aashiqui 2 was actually the beginning of my career in Bollywood, I couldn't say no to him.
Ques: And then?
Arijit Singh: I was working for Pritam da in my casuals and I had a flight to catch. So I went in my casual chappals and clothes to the function. I didn't realise that a lot of people would feel I was insulting the function.
Ques: Once you reached the function in your chappals, then what happened?
Arijit Singh: I was on my seat and very tired. So I dozed off. As you know, these award functions go on for hours. When my name was announced for the award, someone had to wake me up. I know it was wrong. But I was tired and I dozed off.
Ques: So why did Salman Khan take this personally?
Arijit Singh: While I was walking up to the stage, they started capturing my images in my chappals and casuals. On stage, Salman Khan was laughing in disbelief saying, 'Tu hai winner' (You're the winner)? When I got on stage, he asked me if I had fallen asleep. In my nervousness I blurted out, 'Aap logon ne sula dia' (you all put me to sleep). I immediately bit my tongue.
Ques: Is this what has upset Salman Khan?
Arijit Singh: I think so. I don't know of any other insult. I shouldn't have done what I did.
Ques: Did you apologize to him?
Arijit Singh: At that very moment, when he handed me the award, I whispered 'sorry' into his ear. I couldn't say more there. When I came down from the stage, I couldn't find my seat. So I just started walking away. Salman sir saw that and commented, 'Look at this guy. He has collected his award in chappals and now he's walking away.' I got really scared and didn't know what to do.
Ques: So what did you do?
Arijit Singh: That night when I was in my flight, I kept thinking about the incident and felt sorry about it. When I reached Kolkata, I texted him. He texted me back saying I shouldn't have gone so casually and I shouldn't disrespect awards. I was happy that he rebuked me as a senior and that he had got the anger out of his system. I didn't know he was still angry.
Ques: When did you get to know that he was still angry?
Arijit Singh: When I recorded a song for the Meet Brothers in Kick, they called me saying that Bhai doesn't want to keep the song. I realized that he was still angry and started apologizing again and asked him whether I could meet him to apologize personally. I told him not to be angry and that I was just a newcomer. Then came Bajrangi Bhaijaan.
Ques: That too had a song by you?
Arijit Singh: I didn't sing. I was helping Pritam da with the music. When a particular song was being considered for me, Bhai (Mr Khan) vetoed it. Pritam da told me that he won't record any song with me because he might have had to remove my voice. I stopped working on the music of Bajrangi Bhaijaan with Pritam da. I again apologized to Salman Bhai. I thought time would heal the hurt. I hoped it would be fine in five or ten years. I left it at that.
Ques: Then what?
Arijit Singh: I was out of Mumbai when I got a call from Vishal Dadlani saying that I have to come to Mumbai immediately to record a song for Sultan. I was really excited. I felt Salman sir has finally forgiven me. I went to Mumbai and recorded the song. It's an amazing song. Vishal called to say Salman sir also liked the song. I thought everything was okay. I planned to dedicate the song to Salman sir after the release, go to his house and thank him. Then I got an sms from Vishal Dadlani. He informed me that my song couldn't be kept in Sultan. Vishal said Salman sir had forgiven me but I couldn't sing for him.
Ques: Why didn't you leave it at that?
Arijit Singh: If I hadn't sung it right, I would've left it. I asked Vishal Dadlani if I should try to talk to Salman sir. He said I should. But it wouldn't change the status quo regarding the song. I kept thinking about the situation. At Nita Ambani ji's son's birthday, I met Salman sir. I had left the party when someone informed me that Salman sir had arrived. I went back. I couldn't miss the opportunity to talk to him.
Ques: He ignored you?
Arijit Singh: No, we spoke. I again apologised. He said he was okay and that it was all good. But I could sense the coldness. After the Sultan song incident, I tried calling him and texted him not to remove the song since I had worked hard on it. I wanted to sing for Salman sir.
Ques: What is your thought on the situation now?
Arijit Singh: I'm really hurt. If I had not sung the song well, I would have been okay. But there's no reason for getting it removed. When I was told that it was removed, I wasn't in Mumbai. If I would have been, I would have gone straight to his home. Rather than trying to reach him through mutual friends, I decided to write my apology on Facebook. I knew it would go viral. It happened in an hour. I knew the impact of my action.
Ques: So no regrets?
Arijit Singh: No regrets. I have no shame in saying that I wanted that song in Sultan. I knew some would misunderstand my Facebook apology. But it doesn't matter. For me, the song is important. And my relation with Salman sir is important. He has to forgive me some day. I didn't mean to insult him.
Last week, Arijit Singh posted a lengthy Facebook note addressed to Mr Khan apologising for having insulted him and pleading in favour of his Sultan song. He later deleted the note.
A video of the original exchange between Mr Singh and Salman Khan has been made available on YouTube.