Two years ago when Naresh Iyer was eliminated from the Channel V Super Singer contest, he felt dejected. That was quite natural for the 22-year-old.
Within a month, he was recording Roobaru for AR Rahman in his Chennai studio — who was also a judge at the show. The song from Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra’s Rang De Basanti became the anthem of the nation.
The song helped Iyer win the National Award for the Best Playback Singer Male in 2006. He also sang the Patshala and Tu le chal mujhe numbers in the film. The singer finds it hard to believe that his debut song has been honoured at the national level.
"I’m awestruck. I never thought the song would make its way to the top," asserts Iyer. <b1>
Back in time
The making of Roobaru lingers in his mind. "Mr Rahman and I were quite passionate about this number but had never thought it would becomean anthem," says Iyer.
The response crossed the expectations of both the composer and the singer. Since then, the singer has been flooded with offers from the Bombay and the South movies.
Iyer, since then, has already given quite a few hits in the south. He attributes the success of Roobaru to A R Rahman and Prasoon Joshi. He is now a regular in Rahman’s group. Unlike most singers hailing from South India, Iyer isn’t a trained classical singer. "I remember when Rahman sir came in to give his judgement for the contest. He said that there is good news and bad news. He told me, I’m out of the competition. After some time he came up to me and offered me to sing for Rang De Basanti. At that moment, I didn’t know whether to feel happy or otherwise," he reminisces.
Moments of glory
Naresh Iyer will soon be travelling to New Delhi to receive the Rajat Kamal and a cash prize of Rs 10,000 from the President of India.
Initially, he even had a problem with his Hindi accent but Roobaru helped him improve. "Winning talent hunts is not everything. If you have it in you, you are bound to succeed," he says.
The singer will soon be heard in Hansal Mehta’s Woodstock Villa and is also working with Rahman on his next Hindi film. "I still have a long way to go but the National Award has certainly boosted my confidence," he sums up.