Prajakta Shukre was studying science in class XII in Jabalpur when she decided to take part in the Indian Idol contest on Sony. She was a hot favourite with the audiences, but unfortunately didn’t make it to the last three. Nevertheless, a lot of people liked what they saw and Prajakta bagged several musical assignments including films like Shaadi No 1 and the upcoming Jaaneman.
For Prajakta, music has been a passion from the tender age of four and the young singer has taken part in innumerable musical shows in Jabalpur. Currently, she’s busy working on her solo album with composer Leslie Lewis. The album has some peppy dance tracks and it will be released under the Sony BMG label.
Prajakta’s mother Renu is a music teacher. She has now shifted to Mumbai and micro-manages Prajakta’s career. And Prajakta too relies completely on her mom’s advice ' on everything from musical contracts to dates for her work.
Since my mother is a music teacher, my basic training started with her. She’s always been my greatest pillar of strength and has encouraged me in whatever I have done so far. As a music teacher, she knew that I had the potential right from my childhood days. Like all mothers, she was ambitious and wanted me to excel at singing. Therefore, while I was growing up in Jabalpur, she used to encourage me to participate in musical shows and different cultural events. Of course, she could not have done this without the help of my father, who also instilled a sense of confidence in me.
It was both my mom and my dad who really encouraged me to participate in the Indian Idol contest when they saw the ad on television. And it was my mom who accompanied me to Mumbai and stayed there with me till the finals. I was lucky that the channel allowed my mother to stay with me in the same room during the contest. This was a big support for me as we had to undergo rigorous training. Being a music teacher, she advised me whenever I went wrong.
Even today, I can’t imagine a single day without her. I rely on her advice completely as I know that she won’t go wrong. Earlier, she used to accompany me to recordings and live shows, but now she prefers to stay at home. After the Indian Idol contest, we’ve shifted to Mumbai but my father has stayed on in Bhopal where he works in the State Bank of India. As I hardly get time nowadays, due to my various musical assignments, it’s my mom who shops for me.
My mother was the music teacher in my school and I remember during lunch breaks we used to have lunch together. She’s a wonderful cook and I really love her aloo ke paranthe. I remember when I was small, she used to sing while making meals for us in the kitchen. And I used to follow her alaaps and imitate her singing style. More than cooking, I used to love the interaction, which happened in the kitchen. I take great pride in my family and the values that I have inherited from them. What I love about my mother is the fact that she’s a very patient and humble human being. Whatever little I have achieved today, is entirely because of the support of my parents.
For the rest of the world, Prajakta is a promising singer who has just emerged on the horizon, but for me, she’s still my little girl. I knew from the very beginning that she had the talent to be a really good singer. You see, Prajakta’s father has always encouraged me to follow my dreams and never really stopped me from pursuing a career in music. We wanted the very same thing for Prajakta and allowed her to participate in all kinds of musical competitions ever since she was a young child. Of course, the Indian Idol contest on Sony has been the biggest thing to happen to her career thus far, and because of it today she’s recognised and loved by so many people across the country.
I have noticed just how much Prajakta has grown and evolved as a singer from the very first day of the Indian Idol contest. As a mother, I was naturally hoping that she would win the title and when she was voted out of the competition, we were obviously quite upset. But I also told her that it wasn’t the end of the road. Far from it. And true enough, right now, Prajakta is receiving great offers and is doing good work. I hope that she goes far and makes a name for herself in the future.
We belong to a middle-class family and Prajakta is a very down-to-earth and simple person. This is a very competitive industry and if you make one mistake, you will attract lots of media attention. I want my daughter to succeed in life, but not at the cost of personal happiness. She should be satisfied in her work and not do films for the sake of doing them. Looking back, Prajakta was a very bright child when she was in school. She was never demanding and was very considerate.
When we were in Jabalpur, she bagged the Lata Mangeshkar award in Madhya Pradesh in 2004 for the most promising singer. And when we heard the news, we were over the moon with happiness for her. Today, Prajakta is very busy with different projects, but even then she makes it a point to spend time with me. We have similar tastes and wherever she goes, she picks up something for me. Though we have our share of fights, she is basically a loving daughter and I am terribly proud of her, as is her father.