Newcomer Sneha Pant speaks to Rachana Dubey on the route to a career in film playback singing.
I was only four.. or maybe five years old. My parents felt that my voice could be groomed. So, I was trained till I was 13 by Shikha Ganguly of the Kirana gharana.
Meanwhile, I participated in several competitions and won most of them. I was noticed at one such competition in 1995 by Anandji of the Kalyanji-Anandji team. He told my parents I should be in Mumbai, not in Delhi.
In Mumbai, my mum and I stayed at my paternal uncle's house. While completing my school and college education, I attended Kalyanji-Anandji's training school.
I'd spend days and hours at Kalyanji gurji's house, mastering my surs and raags. I also won the Sa Re Ga Ma Pa juniors. (Pause) Kalyanji guruji passed away My father, a civil aviation officer, didn't have any media connects. He would go around, meeting any film composer to get me work.
Today at 25, I've been in the industry for eight years. I sang for Yaadein, Moksh, and Shararat. And more recently for Partner, Golmaal and Halla Bol.
Yeah, and I've done countless remixes too, they were all the rage when I started out. Of late, the remix craze seems to have subsided though.
Often, the original singers have detested remixes.
Really? Didn't Asha Bhosle rearrange her songs when remixes were in. Why should remixes be a problem? After all, they do revive forgotten melodies. I even won an MTV award for the remix of Saiyyan dil me aana re.
The younger generation is introduced to songs they wouldn't have heard other wise. If you ask me, remixes will return to the charts soon.
At a juncture when music is more visible than audible because of video promos, haven't you remained in the shadows as it were?
Okay so I have hits like
Soni de nakhre
) to my credit. You're right.. no one attaches my face to those songs. Maybe I'm much too shy I don't attend too many events. I guess, I'll just have to network.. it has to be done.
Have your assignments ever been snatched away from you?
Yes, several times. Suddenly, I would be told that my voice had been dropped from a certain song. I took the humiliation in my stride. Ae dil was a rough cut. But when Subhash Ghai heard it, he said that he was looking for just my kind of voice.
Can the winners of TV singing contests be considered as competition to the established playback singer?
No, simply because there are far too many contests and too many winners. Frankly I haven't heard any of the contest winners sing for the movies.
It takes much more than winning a contest to make it in this business. Sure, some of the contestants have fresh voices. They become famous overnight. That gets them stage shows and some money.
Who's your competitor then?
No one. I'm not saying that I'm the best. Sunidhi Chauhan, Shreya Ghoshal and I all have out plus and minus points. We are all versatile in our own right.
What's keeping you busy at this very moment?
I'm hosting a show called
with Urmila Matondkar.. she anchors two episodes of the show and then I anchor the third. My episode deals with the reality bit, the gurus and the backstage highs and lows.
And I'm singing for a couple of films which are still to be titled. Plus, there are stage shows across the country Like every singer, who has made a mark, I don't have a minute to breathe.