While Chennai Express is riding high on success at the box office, its songs are playing on everyone's mind. Chinmayi Sripada, who sang the soothing Titli song from the movie can't stop beaming with happiness. This isn't the first time the singer has tasted success.
She has popular songs like Tere Bina (Guru), Ayi Sakhi (Raanjhanaa), Mayya (Jhootha Hi Sahi) among others to her credit. In an exclusive interview, Chinmayi talks about her state of mind and journey in the industry.
How does it feel to be a part of Chennai Express, which is a huge success already?
When I initially got to know that this song is going to be a part of Chennai Express, I couldn't believe my ears. I wasn't expecting that I would actually get a song after Tere Bina and it would happen like this. In between of course I had sung in other films, but being a part of a Shah Rukh Khan film is something else. It's a big deal. I wasn't willing to count my chickens before they hatch, I was just expecting good.
Titli has become quite a rage...
I'm in an extremely grateful place. A huge opportunity has come through, thanks to Shekhar sir and Vishal sir. Right now it's only an outpour of gratitude. I'm extremely grateful. Absolutely happy, overjoyed, yes! And very grateful.
Tell us about your journey from South film industry to Bollywood.
Rahman (AR Rahman) sir gave me my first song which is Oru Deivam Thanta Poove. My first song was when I was 15 years old and I have sung about 55 songs for him so far. My first Hindi song that I had recorded was from Mangal Pandey called Holi Re and later he gave me Tere Bina from Guru. I even sang antara and mukhda of Maiya Maiya as Mariam's diction was an issue.
How has Tamil industry treated you?
Tamil industry has been very good to me too. I've won three Filmfare awards and three State awards for playback singing.
It must be overwhelming for you.
Yes it is. Just after Tere Bina released, Mithun came down and he gave me Madno from Lamhaa. So, there have been gaps. I haven't been aggressive, I'm not aggressive. The desire to sing some more here in Bombay is definitely there but I don't know what needs to be done. I go into my shell at one point and I don't know how to go out and say "hi, hello". I've never done that in Chennai.
And Titli, was a dream. I was actually curious as to how he remembered me. I never met him, neither did I ever send him a DVD or something. Though, I always wished that at some point I should work with Vishal-Shekhar. They suddenly remembered that the girl who sang Tere Bina lives in Chennai. And they just called me and landed in the studio, it was that simple.
You've sung some really popular songs like Tere Bina (Guru), Sajnaa (Lamhaa) and recently Ay Sakhi from Ranjhanaa. Share your thoughts.
I heard that audio of Jhootha Hi Sahi did quite well because it was released during navratras. It feels good, I come from a classical music background, one of my grandfathers is a Padma Bushan in classical music. So, it's a very very strict background that I come from. At one point, I turned to my mother and told her that I want to be a playback singer and it's good to live the dream. Now that one dream is fulfilled, I'm looking forward to the next dream and then the next.
Which song do you think brought you immediate success?
It has to be Tere Bina and now Titli. The high point being, Shah Rukh Khan tweeted to me how he loved the song and I sound very sweet in it. He took out time to tweet and say that the song is lovely and his favourite from the film.
If you have to pick one industry which would it be - South or Mumbai?
I think a lot of things have made it possible that one doesn't need to pick or choose. Because, I remember Benny (Dayal) was doing really well in Chennai when he moved to Bombay and he still is recording songs in Chennai in Malayam, Telugu, Kannada. And I would say the same for Shreya Ghoshal, Sonu Nigam etc. I don't think anybody is in that space where they have to choose one.
Who's your inspiration?
Tell us your personal favourite.
I think it all goes back to that one song that I sang for Rahman sir. If that hadn't happened, I wouldn't be here. So it is Oru Deivam Thandha Poove from the film Kannathil Muthamittaal.