Madhushree Bhattacharya, the singer still remembered for ‘Kabhi neem neem’ (Yuva, 2004) and ‘Mahi ve’ (Kal Ho Naa Ho, 2003), has just come out with a devotional album, Siddhivinayak, that is a tribute to Ganesha.
“In mid-August, I’d gone to the Siddhivinayak temple for darshan. The pooja went off well and I came out asking myself why I didn’t sing for the Lord,” she reminisces.
Within a week music composer Robby Badal had composed five songs for her and with co-artists Anup Jalota, Sumit Tappo, Jayant Pingulkar, Gaura Srivastava, Tushar Joshi, Sumit Saretha, Vivek and Robby Badal joining her, the album was ready in another week’s time.
“On September 1, Nana Patekar who surprised me with his knowledge of classical ragas and taals, released the album that was named after Siddhivinayak that had served as my muse at the temple itself. We distributed 1,000 CDs for free in the temple and the rest are being sold from there rather than in stores,” says Madhushree.
She points out that for the last three years she has been opening the Dadasaheb Phalke Awards with a Ganpati vandana that has been tuned differently for the album, incorporating the sounds of dhol, dhak and Durga puja festivities. “You also get to hear ‘Jaidev, Jaidev’ in a new version, along with other songs you might have heard during temple visits and the chanting of ‘mantras’,” says Madhushree.
During the on-going Ganpati festival, she plans to have a show at Siddhivinayak at which she will sing some of these songs live.
One song, nine versions, Madhushree who was recently lauded for the Tamil song ‘Un Perae Theriyathu’ from the film Engaeyum Eppothum (2011), is really excited about her stint down South. “I recently sang a ladies’ only duet for (AR) Rahman’s Ranjhana, a unique song,” she says, adding that another experiment she’s gung-ho about is a one-of-a-kind album of solo singles, Only For You, that releases towards the year-end.
“The album has only one song, ‘Hero’, that I’ve sung in three languages — Hindi, Bengali and Tamil — and in three versions — original, remixed and unplugged. It’s romantic pop, and the idea is to appeal to people across regions and different age groups. There’s a softer, melodious version for the older generation and a massier, more catchy version for the youngsters,” says the singer, pointing out that the album was made in response to requests from fans not to get stereotyped as a classical singer.
She also has two movies, Shudra and In The Name of Pai, coming up and is open to judging TV reality shows too. “I have a degree in music, know 70 ragas and am proficient in Indian, Carnatic and western classical music, so have the necessary credentials. There are lots of offers. Maybe something next year.”