A coincidental singer - Madhushree
- Soumita Sengupta & Sonali Joshi
Although Madhushree made her Bollywood debut with a forgettable movie called Moksha, it took her some time to make her mark. She shot to fame with her adorable rendition of 'Kabhi neem neem' (Yuva) for which she won an award as well.
This year, she once again delivered a great song with A R Rahman. 'In lamhon ke daaman mein' is undoubtedly one of the best tracks on the Jodhaa Akbar album. In a tête-à-tête, she tells us how playback singing was a coincidence, what's special about her album Laagi Lagan, and acting in the future.
We heard that Rajesh Roshan got you your first break.
Actually, Javedji (Akhtar) introduced me to Rajeshji. He heard my voice, liked it and told me that he had a song to record which he would ask me to sing if it suited my voice and style. I was very scared when I walked into the studio, but I tried my best and he liked it. It was a good song called ‘Mohabbat zindagi hai’ from Moksha.
Tell us about your background.
I have a musical background. My father is a very good singer and I started learning singing from him. Then I learnt classical singing from Dr Omir Dayal. I never thought I would become a playback signer some day, although I always liked singing filmy songs. My father wanted me to become a classical singer. When I finished my studies, I got an opportunity to work as a singer in South America. So at a young age, I went there. After four years, I moved to Holland. Gradually I decided to take up singing as a career. That brought me to Mumbai, and by god's grace I got a chance to sing as well.
What do you feel about the competition in Bollywood?
I do not feel any competition and consider myself very lucky to have got a chance to sing in this era. If we had Lataji and Ashaji singing in our era, then you could have said that we have competition. Now it has become an open profession as there are so many styles of singing. Earlier there was only one profession of playback singing. Nowadays, a singer who does albums and reality shows also sings in films, which was not the case in olden days. This is a great time for artists to display their talent.
Why did you choose playback singing as career?
That was coincidental. A decade ago, I went to Kolkata to record a song. Sanuda (Kumar Sanu) met me then and suggested that I go to Mumbai and try playback singing. Even ten years back ago, the general perception was that if you have become successful in playback singing, then that is it. So I thought why not give it a try? But today I consider myself a singer, without restricting myself as a pop or playback singer.
You won the Sony Stardust Award in 2005 for the Best Female Singing Sensation for ‘Kabhi neem neem’ from Yuva. Tell us about that experience.
Honestly, I was surprised. I never thought that song would be so popular! When the award organisers asked me to come for the ceremony, I was a little scared; but I was jubiliant on receiving the honour.
Your album Laagi Lagan was released recently. What’s unique about it?
This album has a mixture of Indian and Western style, I have used thumri with contemporary music. Normally everyone uses Sufi style but I wanted to experiment with thumri, and I have received a very good response especially from youngsters. I have used old songs like ‘Ka karu sajni’ and others. There are two new compositions by Robby Badal.
Whom do you look up to for inspiration?
I have learnt singing from many people but when I listen to any song and like it, I get inspired. One name is surely of Rafiji.
You are a Bengali but have sung many songs in Tamil. How difficult was it?
It was a coincidence again. I sang ‘Kabhi neem neem’ in Tamil and it was a super hit. I practised a lot. I could not say no because they wanted to record it with the same singer in both languages. I somehow managed and then got many offers from south as well. Now I have taken training in pronunciation so it is not too difficult for me.
Everyone comes to Bollywood with a dream. What was your dream? Have you got any acting offers?
Good question. I have a photogenic face so I have got some offers but I ignored them all. Even Rehmaji has complimented me. But times are changing; my dream was to become a singer, but you never know what the future has in store.