The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Lady with melody

Why aren’t you seen judging any of the reality music shows on television?

I believe there is no reality in reality shows and I like to keep myself away from them. All the shows on television are offered to me first as I am the only contender left to hit the small screen. But, firstly, I do not enjoy judging and secondly I am too occupied with my work.

But you did Yeh Shaam Mastani on Sony...

It is a feel-good show with no competition involved. It is a musical show where one episode is dedicated to each of the seven singers participating. It is like the earlier musical show of Sony called Harmony, where singers specifically sing for the audience and television viewers. I had a great time on the show as I sang all my favourite and popular songs.

What is your take on reality shows that make children compete?

There is no harm in singing on television or to start early in life, but it is important to be level-headed. It is solely the parents’ responsibility to keep children grounded. A lot of money and promotion is involved in the shows but children should keep themselves away from the benefits and focus only on working hard. That will help them in the long run; not just mere publicity.

You also started young. Do you think early success leads to early maturity?

I started singing at the age of four. I studied till 10th standard. As I was not interested in pursuing studies further, I took up singing seriously and my family supported me totally. I do not think of singing as work; I am passionate about it and enjoy it thoroughly. I agree that I matured early, but I do not regret it as I am an independent woman today. It has helped me know and understand people better.

What made you come to Mumbai from Delhi at such a young age?

Mumbai is the city of dreams; and it was my dream to see it once. When I was in Delhi , Tabassumji heard me on a show and was highly impressed with my voice quality. She arranged an introduction with (music director) Kalyanji, who took me into his academy and I sang for his show called Little Wonders. I got my first break at the age of 11 in the movie called Shastra. After that, as my voice was not very mature, I rehearsed at home. And then at the age of 14, Sandeep Chowta gave me my first major break in Mast. I haven’t looked back after that.

Who do you give the credit for your success?

Sonu Nigam had recommended my name to Sandeep Chowta and it was very brave of Ramuji (Ram Gopal Varma) to believe in a newcomer. So the credit for my success certainly goes to all three. But Sonuji has a big hand in my success as he gave me a break from dance numbers and introduced me to soft melodious numbers.

What gives you more satisfaction — fast or slow-paced songs?

Five years ago, my bag was full of dance numbers and nobody had imagined that I could sing soft romantic numbers as well. Luckily, Sonu Nigam opened my eyes and told me to do some vocal training which helped me discover my softer side. Anu Malik was the first to make me sing a soft number, Meri zindagi mein in Ajnabee. Today I am glad that people call me a versatile singer and I am equally popular for songs like Bhaage re mann (Chameli), He Shona (Ta Ra Rum Pum), Tere haath mein mera haath ho (Fanaa) etc. I consider myself very lucky as I love soft numbers and I also enjoy singing fast numbers as they are more popular. When on stage, it is great entertainment for my audience as I have a variety of songs to offer.

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