Sunday, April 1, 2012

Singing the unsung...

Amidst a thousand award functions that can be easily replaced with each other, Filmfare Awards 2011-2012 had one heart wrenching moment when Utha Uthup came to receive her first Filmfare in her 42 years of singing career. She had tears in her eyes and that broke my heart. Such a candid, heartfelt moment was that!

Every decade had seen a couple of singers ruling the roost in our film industry. Be it Lata and Asha in sixties and seventies or Alka and Kavita in eighties or Sunidhi and Shreya in nineties. Thank god for new filmmakers, new cinematic sensibilities and the era of experimentation. We have clearly moved on from ‘awesome singers’ to ‘awesome songs’. With films based on characters and situations, it has opened a world of opportunities for singers who were once told –you-are-not-a-hero’s-voice.

Neeraj Shridhar who at one point in time was too anglicised for our desi heroes has now a song in practically every album lending his voice to every Khan, Kapoor or a Kumar that there is! Mika and Mohit Chauhan who made money only during college festivals, hopping from college to another singing their ONE HIT and making hay till the sun lasted have now a myriad of experimental albums to their credit.

And the most heartbreaking of all- Usha Uthup. I have been a huge fan of Usha ji. Be it tu mujhe jaan se bhi pyara hain or hari om hari, hari om hari, I have grown up listening to her. And now when I play her songs ‘daaaaaaarling’ from Saat Khoon maaf or ‘kolkattttttaaaaa’ from Kahaani on my radio show, there’s extra excitement in my voice, a divine intervention, a poetic justice. Imagine recognition eludes you for forty long years; you don’t give up; you continue doing what you can do the best; in hapless hope of some pat on the back sometime; and one fine day you hear your name announced as the best singer of the year, the moment that only sweet dreams were made of four for decades, dawns now, leaving you totally choked. What a tear-jerker!