It’s been six months since the song,
first burned up the airwaves. But Shruti Pathak, who lent her sensuous vocals to it, is still reveling in the limelight. The song has got her nominations for ‘Best Playback Singer’ at the major award functions, and even though she has lost out on one, she confesses that she’s flying high.
“The nominations are like a stamp of confirmation that I’ve been noticed,” she exults. “Since it’s my debut song, being nominated itself is huge for me.”
Recognition for the pretty Ahmedabad girl has taken some time to come. It’s been five and a half years since she left her hometown and came to Mumbai to pursue playback singing. Though she’s been trained in classical music, it took her almost two years till her first big break Leke pehla pehla pyaar, in the remix album, Baby Doll.
Learning the ropes
Pathak recalls, “It took me around two years to learn about recordings and shows because my family has no connection with music.” In the meanwhile, she completed her post-graduation in Psychology and Event Management. “I took up events to get acquainted with the field,” she smiles.
The strategy paid off and Shaan noticed her voice when he came for a guest lecture to her college. Soon, Pathak was busy touring with Shaan, Sonu Niigaam, Kunal Ganjawala and more recently, with Vishal-Shekhar. Yet, that elusive ‘first break’ wasn’t happening.
“I was even contemplating whether I should have taken up singing at all,” Pathak calls to mind her feelings. “But somehow, I knew I was meant for this.”
While a rank newcomer may approach small-time music directors initially, Pathak had her eyes set high. “A R Rahman sir was my first choice of target,” she laughs. She had got his number through a common friend but she couldn’t get through, though she tried repeatedly. On one lucky day, the Oscar-winning composer answered her call.
“When he actually picked up, I wasn’t even prepared to say anything!” Pathak remembers fondly. She somehow got hold of yourself and “forced myself upon him,” she laughs again. “He asked for my demo, but I insisted on meeting him, until he relented.”
She zipped to Chennai, where Rahman not only heard her, but recorded a song with her immediately too. The song didn’t make it through to the film, but Pathak isn’t sad, “because it was the most amazing experience of my life.”
Luck by chance
Recording with the legendary composer proved lucky for Pathak, who then sang the title tracks of TV serials like Amber-Dhara and Anu ki ho Gayi Wah Bhai Wah for Raju Singh, and sung for regional movies. Her debut Hindi film song came through her friend Amit Trivedi. Not only did she sing Paayaliya in Trivedi’s Dev D, she also wrote the lyrics.
The movie was delayed, but the song impressed Salim-Sulaiman, whom she played it for. So when the duo composed Mar jaawan, “I was their only choice,” Pathak says proudly.
“The fact that I could since in the lower octave has fascinated people,” she continues. “Even Rahman sir praised it!”
Pathak’s not looked back since. She’ll be heard in Karan Johar’s next production, “which would be filmed on Kareena Kapoor,” she excitedly reveals. There are other projects lined up too, but she’s superstitious about naming them.
“It’s not been a typical filmy struggle,” she concludes with a radiant smile. “But yes, I have worked hard to reach here, and I still have a long way to go. At the moment, I don’t want to come back alone from the next award function!”