She won over the judges with her pristine renderings of Lata Mangeshkar’s numbers. When the girl recently auditioned for Zee’s Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, judges Vishal-Shekhar were so bowled over that they immediately decided Abhilasha Chellam is the voice of tomorrow.
The girl, who has been praised by Lata Mangeshkar, chose one of Mangeshkar’s most complex tunes Tu chanda main chandni from the film Reshma Aur Shera and swam through it.
Now, the judges feel the girl has the potential to shape up into a prominent voice of tomorrow.
Speaking on behalf of the judges, Shekhar Ravjiani said: "When we heard Abhilasha, we knew we were in the midst of an extraordinary talent. Of course this country is filled with young singing talents. But Abhilasha is special. She has the same voice quality as Sunidhi Chauhan and Shreya Ghosal. The two singers do not need any voice-adjustment when they record. We feel Abhilasha has the same quality."
But Shekhar is not in favour of making any singing commitments to Abhilasha or any other contestants.
Says the composer: "We don’t believe in saying Aapko hum gaane ka mauqa denge (We will give you a chance to sing). The fact that we believe in Abhilasha is enough testimony. Having said that, I must point out that Sa Re Ga Ma Pa contestants Amanat Ali and Raja Hassan have sung for us. There’s no reason why Abhilasha shouldn’t. She is phenomenal."
Shekhar says new voices are always welcome in Bollywood.
"We think Shreya and Sunidhi among the female singers and Shaan and KK among the male category are very good," he said.
Shekhar himself is doing some substantial playback singing. He sang in the Imran Khan starrer I Hate Luv Storys and is now lending his voice in Break Ke Baad (again starring Imran Khan).
Moreover, composing partner Vishal Dadlani recently sang the chartbuster Dan dana for Shahid Kapoor in Kaminey.
Do we see a clash of interest here? Shekhar emphatically erases all such notions.
"Vishal and I were friends before we became music partners. Unlike other composing duos, we don’t compose tunes separately. Each of our songs carries our collective identity," he says.