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Shashaa Tirupati on her National Award: This award belongs to Rahman sir

Singer-songwriter Shashaa Tirupati, winner of the Best Female Playback Singer for Mani Ratnam’s Kaatru Veliyidai at the 65th National Film Awards, says that what she is today is because of musician AR Rahman’s faith in her.

music Updated: Apr 13, 2018 17:29 IST
Shreya Mukherjee
Shreya Mukherjee
Hindustan Times
Shashaa Tirupati,65th National Film Awards,National Award
Shashaa Tirupati has won the National Award for Best Female Playback Singer for Mani Ratnam’s Tamil film Kaatru Veliyidai.

Since the morning of April 13, Shashaa Tirupati’s phone has been flooded with congratulatory messages. The winners of 65th National Film Awards were announced on Friday, and the singer-songwriter was named the Best Female Playback Singer for the song Vaan Varuvaan, in Mani Ratnam’s film Kaatru Veliyidai (2017). Her first reaction was of disbelief when she came to know about this honour. When she could finally absorb the fact that she had won, she was in tears, shares Shashaa.

This is Shashaa’s first National Award. “I was shaking and couldn’t stop crying for a good half-an-hour. The news was way too overwhelming for me,” says the singer, who literally woke up to this amazing news.

She recalls, “I was actually sleeping till I started getting one call after another. And finally, when I woke up, there were more than a hundred calls and messages. I have no idea what I told people in the first few calls that I took today. My mother was, like, ‘Why’re you crying? This is wonderful news,’” she laughs.

“It took me time to believe [it]. It was unreal. The award belongs to [AR] Rahman sir and my parents. Their love, support and faith in me has made me what I am today. I hope I’ve made them proud,” adds Shashaa, who grew up in Canada and has her family there. She came to India to pursue her interest in music.

The music of Kaatru Veliyidai is composed by Rahman, whom Shashaa considers her mentor. The first call she made was to him. “In the brief conversation that I could have with him, I thanked him for being there for me always. The award isn’t mine, it’s his... He is the light of my life, I live for his music... This is what I feel about Rahman sir. Every morning after I wake up, I start my day with a sense of gratitude towards him. He gave me identity and believed in me when no one else did, and changed everyone’s perspective towards my singing. My win is his hard work and perseverance; I just followed him,” says a very emotional Shashaa.

Shashaa made her playback debut with Priyadarshan’s Bollywood film Bumm Bumm Bole (2010), singing the track Rang De. She went on to sing for films such as Ungli (2014), Sarbjit (2016), OK Jaanu (2017), Mom (2017), Jab Harry Met Sejal (2017), and Tumhari Sulu (2017). She has also sung for films in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Konkani, and Kannada languages. Her first collaboration with Rahman was for the film Kochadaiiyaan (2014), and her first Hindi film with Rahman was Mohenjo Daro (2016). She says that it was her collaboration with Rahman that turned things around for her — before that, she wasn’t really getting noteworthy playback offers.

Rahman himself has bagged two National Film Awards this year — Best Background Score for Mom (2017), and Best Music Direction for Kaatru Veliyidai. Shashaa congratulates him again, insisting that he has actually won all three awards, including hers.

Shashaa’s family and friends are in a celebratory mood. Talking about her plans, the singer says, “Unfortunately, I live alone in Mumbai, so I can’t meet my family and celebrate. Meeting Rahman sir, something I’d have loved to do, is also not possible, because he’s a busy man. For me actually all the calls, messages and praise — in short, all the love I’m getting — are no less than [a] celebration. My fans are over the moon, they are sending me messages. Isn’t that incredible?”

Interact with Shreya Mukherjee on Twitter/ @Shreya_MJ

First Published: Apr 13, 2018 17:28 IST