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Soulful music from pretty lips

Shibani Kashyap is one of those lucky people to have been blessed with a melodious voice, a pretty face and a sound head on her shoulders. When she first appeared on the small screen in the late 90s, lending a helping hand to a blind man, people were confused about whether she was a model or a singer.

But her sweet voice made her a household name way before her looks could kill. “I did the title jingle for AIR FM when FM took birth in the country. Since then there has been no looking back,” said the singer who was in the city on Sunday.

Shibani graduated from Lady Shri Ram College for Women and went on to train in western classical music from London School of Music.

She tasted real success in 1998 when her song Ho gayi hai mohabbat tumse was on everyone’s lips. “I was very apprehensive when the song came on air. That was the time when remixes were on the rise. And I thought who would listen to my song, which was new and unheard of. But the outcome took me by surprise,” said the Delhi girl, now settled in Mumbai.

She hit bull’s eye with her first attempt in Bollywood when she sang the melodious Sajna ab aa bhi jaa in the movie Waisa Bhi Hota Hai directed by Shashank Ghosh. “After doing ad jingles and singing my own songs, I wanted to do playback. But I was waiting for the right opportunity. Shashank gave me a lot of freedom. I composed and sang the song and thankfully everybody liked it,” reminisced Shibani.

The singer is also game for working in a setup where she just has to lend her voice. In fact, that’s what she is doing in Ram Gopal Varma’s forthcoming film, Mr Ya Miss, starring Aftab Shivdasani and Antara Mali. “Though I have not composed the songs I was given a fairly long rope. RGV told me I must sound like myself in the song,” said Shibani. She is also lending her voice to Aditya Bhattacharya’s Dubai Return.

She has been turning down a lot of acting assignments of late. “People do not understand that I am not an actor but a singer. I am here to make my mark in music and not grab whatever comes my way,” said Shibani. But being a singer with a beautiful face has its own advantages. “I really have no problem in controlling and enthralling a crowd,” she added.

Shibani begs to differ on a couple of issues from her contemporaries in the industry. “All the songs in my album are my original compositions. I would never do anything like remixes. They might make for foot-tapping numbers but there is no effort on the part of the composer. Original work will any day score over remixes.”

If Shibani is not inside the studio she is travelling around the world doing shows and familiarising a global audience with the rich repertoire of folk songs and other genres of music from India. “Abroad it seems like Bollywood is the only genre of music India has. And surprisingly very few people have tried to break this myth. Every state in the country has distinct notes of melody. I feel like spreading this music since I’m part of such an amazing symphony,” signed off Shibani.

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