Thursday, July 15, 2010

Shreya is A Divine Gift to the modern world” and as “A talent so rare that it needs celebration.” , says Ilayaraja

One of the most celebrated playback singers of the Indian film industry will be in Auckland to present a sterling evening of melody, fun and entertainment.

Shreya Ghoshal, arguably the most resplendent singing star of the present-day cinema, will mark her debut under the ABC Entertainment (which has a record of quality shows including those featuring Jagjit Singh and Pankaj Udhas) and Perfect Harmony Productions Private Limited banner at Telstra Clear Pacific Centre in Manukau City on August 20.

Shiv Prasad, another winner in the Sa Re Ga Ma series, Stand-up Comedian (more than six feet tall) Nitin Bhandarkar and a band of musicians will join her in presenting the concert.

Her ability to evoke the sentiments of the song sequence, bringing forth the vicissitudes of human emotions in her voice has seen Shreya’s meteoric rise in less than ten years. Beginning with Devdas, a colossal multi-starrer for which she rendered five songs, including Bairi Piya and Dola Re Dola, she has rendered hundreds of songs for almost all frontline music directors in the industry.

Ilayaraja, the first Asian composer to score a symphony for the Royal Philomornic Orchestra in London described her as “A Divine Gift to the modern world” and as “A talent so rare that it needs celebration.”

If Shreya was stunned at the stupendous calibre of the music director, she did not hide. She rendered a song with Illayaraja for debutant director Katha Thirmavalavan’s Tamil film Ajanthaa, stated to be the first film to be shot simultaneously in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi.

“I am very privileged to work with his Grand Master of Music. He composed nine songs for each version – that is a total of 36 tracks in one week. More than a music director, he is an institution,” she said.

Her list of films is long, and the scores are longer. But music buffs would say that some of her all-time hits should include Teri Ore (‘Singh is Kinng’), Mian Agar Kahoon (‘Om Shanti Om’), Salamm-E-Ishq (Title song), Ye Ishq Hai (‘Jab We Met’), Zoobi Zoobi (‘3 Idiots’), O My Love (‘Amanush’) and Un Perai Sollum (‘Angaadi Theru’ in Tamil).

As well as Hindi and Tamil, Her mellifluous voice has been heard in a number of other Indian languages including Assamese, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi and Punjabi.

The popular Zee TV programme attracts thousands of aspirants from many parts of the world each year, adding to the treasure house of singers.

But it all began when Shreya saw a poster in Rawatbhata, near Kota in Rajasthan, where she was raised (her father is employed at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre), announcing a national level music competition in Delhi.

“I was just ten years old then (1994). For the first time, I stepped out to land in the competitive world. I did not win; I was of course sad, but convinced myself that I would try again. I went on to win the sub-junior title at the next competition,” she said in an interview last fortnight.

Shreya credit the late Kalyanji (of the Kalyanji-Anandji fame) for honing her musical prowess. Following her episode in Sa Re Ga Ma, the famous composer (he was a judge), taught her the nuances of music, despite his chronic ailment.

She recalls with gratitude his parting advice: “Don’t go with Show Business. You have talent. Pursue Saraswathi (Goddess of Learning), Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth) will follow. If you pursue Lakshmi, Saraswathi will desert you.”

Has Shreya betrayed her master?

“Not at all,” she said, adding, “I never take on too much work, because then the purity of voice is lost. If you are stressed and disturbed, it will show in your singing. You have to be honest and sincere about your music, not anything else. You have to be in the water and not be drowned. If you get carried away, then you are gone.”

This 26-year-old says neither the fame nor the numerous honours that she has attained, including National Film Awards (4) and those of Filmfare (5), Filmfare South (2) International Indian Film Academy (4), Zee Cine (3) and Star Screen (3).

“My music is beyond films and a playback career. I would not be worried if I do not get a call. Experimentation today is only limited to finding exotic, new textures, voices and timber. Indian films will never say no to Indian melodies. I would say I have a good chance. Flavours might keep changing but the heart of Indian music is the same,” she said.

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