Melodies so sweet!

With her rich voice and an ability to connect, Shreya Ghoshal had the audience in raptures at a concert in the city. Priyadarshini Paitandy reports

If only a beautiful voice were contagious, I would gladly spend the next few years glued to Shreya Ghoshal. Her career spanning nine years (and still counting) is layered with numerous film awards and four National Awards. Says Shreya, who gives credit to a lot of people for her success, beginning with her parents: “It’s been an exciting journey…a happy ride. But, no journey consists of only highs; that makes it more enjoyable.”

In Chennai to perform at an event organised by The Bengal Association for the welfare of cancer patients and the education of the girl child, the singer keeps the audience entertained for three hours. It’s a full house at The Music Academy and people without seats are lined against the walls. Yet, no one’s really complaining. Shreya is crooning some of her hits. She starts off with ‘Silsila Yeh Chahat Ka’ from “Devdas”, the first film she sang for, and the crowd goes into raptures. Then comes ‘Waada Raha’, ‘Agar Tum Mil Jao’, and an improvised version of ‘Jadu Hai Nasha Hai’ — the audience laps it all up.

“I need lots of claps, cheers and whistles, even if the song is really pathetic,” she says, after a few more numbers. By now, people are shouting out requests. “‘Munbe Va’,” says a voice from behind; “‘Bangla gaan’”, “‘Teri Ore’”, “‘Yeh Ishq Hai’”, say others. “I need water, glucose and an ambulance now,” she laughs, as a barrage of requests follows. She manages to fulfill most.

What the audience gets is a delightful khichdi of Tamil, Malayalam, Bengali and Marathi songs. Having sung in nearly 13 languages, how does she manage to enunciate the words perfectly? ““Whenever somebody dictates a song, I write it down in Hindi according to the pronunciation. The composers too have always been there to guide me. However, it is a little tough to get the pronunciation in Malayalam right.”

Shreya is now looking forward to the release of “Ponnar Shankar” and “Game”, both of which she’s sung for.

The list of music directors she’s worked with is rather impressive too. But, is there anyone that she really enjoys working with? “Ilaiyaraaja sir is an institution and I feel like a student when I work with him. He likes my work and that’s the biggest certificate for me. Also, Rahman sir and Pyarelalji. I feel blessed to have worked with them,” says the 27-year-old.

Not many know that the pretty singer has even been offered roles in movies. “I am not comfortable acting. I am happy singing. And, I don’t have the time either,” she says. In fact, she’s so tied up with work that she hardly gets time for daily riyaaz. “I manage to do it once in five days. Then, I don’t even answer my phone. Sometimes, I sing so much that I am advised to not talk so that I can preserve my voice,” she smiles.

Bring on the beats

Shreya then takes a short break. Round two sees her singing more high-voltage numbers. ‘Honth Raseele’, ‘Yeh Ishq Haye’, ‘Rang Barse’, ‘Om Shanthi Om’ … The audience waves banners, sways, claps, and hums along, keeping beat. A group of girls (including three-year-olds) has even turned a corner of the Academy into a discotheque. They are busy shaking a leg, spurred on by Shreya. Seeing the attention the girls are getting from the singer, a gang of young boys too joins the party. And before you know it, they’ve formed a boogey train and run around the auditorium, with more people joining in.

At 10 p.m., its time for the show to end. But, Shreya still has two more requests pending. Not wanting to disappoint her audience, she requests that she be given two more minutes, and quickly does an encore of ‘Mere Dholna’ from “Bhool Bhulaiya” and ends with the hauntingly romantic ‘Soona Soona’ from “Krishna Cottage”, all to a standing ovation. Shreya’s voice can make one feel all warm and fuzzy inside, like honey on hot waffles. The audience went back home feeling just that way. And now, long after the performance is over, her voice still resounds in my ears.

Keywords: Shreya Ghoshal

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