The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Showtime for shady lady

Who’s the star singer this Saptami'


Swati Pal!

Err… Not really. Actually, it’s Swati Chakraborty…

Performers are said to have made it when their lookalikes and namesakes become a draw. So, this Puja, Swati Pal has “arrived”. Hopping on to the bandwagon of Swati’s fame or infamy, copycats are fast finding their way into the spotlight.

The star witness in the Khadim’s kidnap case is currently making the most of her freedom, having struck a deal with the prosecution. Singing had been Swati’s cover before, and it is to be her livelihood now, having re-launched herself at a recent concert in Beleghata.

Barely a month later, confusion reigns in Khardah over who is really the singer this Saptami, Swati Pal or Swati Chakraborty.

But the original isn’t complaining, with enough to keep her hands full for now. Swati, who had, many years ago, made waves with her rendition of the popular Nazrulgeeti, Tomaar Mahabishwe Kichhu now belts out Hindi chartbusters and Bengali film numbers.

“She has been booked for a Barasat puja on Saptami and for the Dum Dum Cantonment on Dashami. We have shows lined up at Sarat Sadan in Behala, at Dunlop and in the districts as well,” reveals Atanu Sarkar, her manager.

He insists that the “past is behind Swati” and it is only her music that causes organisers to come knocking. Swati, who is “booked almost all through October”, rehearses with a troupe of seven at her Baguiati residence, as her manager juggles dates to accommodate all those at her doorstep.

With the demand for Swati’s performances spiralling, her on-stage rates have soared. She is reportedly charging around Rs 25,000 a show — a price few newcomers can command on the Calcutta Puja circuit. “She bears the expenses for her whole troupe, including light, sound and dancers. But because she has regular assignments, we are not complaining,” says Sarkar.

An album also looks imminent, if the industry buzz is to be believed. While her associates are tight-lipped, recording companies are said to be following Puja organisers to Swati’s door.

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