?God will protect me from campbaazi?

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By Madhushree is the latest voice from Bengal that is happening in Bollywood. By Anil Grover
  • Published 28.01.05

Q: So you are not Madhushree, you are Sujata!

I am Madhushree! I was Sujata [Sujata Bhattacharya changed her name to Madhushree on the advice of A.R. Rahman, as he knew too many Sujatas in the music world and his own group].

Q:Other new singers have got instant recognition and fame. But in your case, although your songs have gone on to become superhits and been loved by the public, they mostly don?t know that it is one Madhushree who has sung them! How?s that?

I think because of the confusion with my name, people didn?t relate immediately. But now the listening public has got the taste of my voice and can recognise it easily now.

Q: With your classical base in thumri and khayal, why did you trail off to Mumbai for playback singing?

It was always my desire to do playback singing.

Q:So, how did it happen, anyway? Was it with that aim or was it destiny?

My parents wanted me to be a classical singer, but destiny took me to South America (Surinam), where I was deputed by the ICCR to teach classical music. But my students were only interested in light music so I started teaching them film songs. By doing this I became famous for singing film music and people started appreciating me. So it gave a great boost to me and when I was on my home leave in Calcutta, Sanuda [Kumar Sanu] also suggested that I try playback singing and this was for me more than enough incentive to give it a shot in Bollywood as playback singer.

Q:What does your husband do? You were married at what stage of your career? How supportive has he been?

Robby is basically a businessman, but he loves music and he is very supportive. I?m also very grateful to my father Amarendranath and mother Parbati Bhattacharya, who taught me, inspired me, and supported me since my childhood. Not to forget my Guru, Amiya Ranjan Banerjee.

Q:You were hardly seven years old when Madan Mohan happened to you and changed your life, it seems? How was that?

I was very small when some body introduced me to him at a function. I do not remember much about the meeting, but he had mentioned that my talent in khayal gayaki would hold me in good stead as a playback singer.

Q:Recently, the talking point has been Madan Mohan?s music being ?revived? in Veer-Zaara. How did that make you feel?

It was a great idea. I liked the music.

Q:You are in the Rahman ?camp?, it is apparent. Certainly, that has been a great achievement. But do you think that that would also keep you distanced from other music directors in Bollywood?

I don?t think so. You need one hit song to become a mainstream playback singer. After that, everybody will give you a chance.

Q:How did your Tamil film happen? Did the Rahman connection help there ? or did you catch Rahman?s ear through that film?

Music director Vidyasagar gave me the first Tamil break, then came A.R. Rahman?s Yuva song in Tamil and Telugu ? which was thanks to Mani Ratnam whose first choice was me.

Q:A lot of Bengalis have done very well in the Bollywood music world before, and even now. How do you explain that?

Because music is in Bengal?s culture. And I?m proud to be a Bengali.

Q:One hears so much about camp-baazi, politics, dog-eat-dog, etc in the film industry. How do you think you will survive all that?

I have just entered the mainstream stage and I have yet to experience that. I have a great belief in God. So God will protect me from campbaazi.

Q:Name your favourite song among the ones you have sung so far?

I would say both Kabhi neem neem (Yuva) and Hum hain is pal yahaan (Kisna). Both have also got me a lot of recognition and appreciation.

Dil mein tujhe bithaake (Fakira)/Lata Mangeshkar
Lag ja gale (Woh Kaun Thi?)/Lata Mangeshkar
Aao huzoor tumko (Kismat)/Asha Bhosle
Rasik balma (Chori Chori)/Lata Mangeshkar
Jaaeeye aap kahaan jaayenge (Mere Sanam)/Asha Bhosle

Kaun hai jo sapnon mein (Jhuk Gaya Aasman)/Mohd Rafi
Kabhi khud pe (Hum Dono)/Mohd Rafi

Ami je jalsaghare (Anthony Firingee)/Sandhya Mukherjee
Aei path jodi na shesh hoi (Saptapadi)/Hemanta Mukhopadhyay and Sandhya Mukherjee

Hum hain is pal yahaan (Kisna); A.R. Rahman
Pal pal hai bhaari (Swades); A.R. Rahman
Kabhi neem neem (Yuva, all three versions: Hindi, Tamil, Telugu); A.R. Rahman
Naina milaike (Saathiya); A.R. Rahman
Sadiyaan (Lakeer); A.R. Rahman
Dil ne jise apna kaha (Title song); A.R. Rahman
All the ghazals (Tehzeeb); A.R. Rahman
Maahi ve (Kal Ho Na Ho); Shankar-Ehsan-Loy
Tumhe aaj maine (Kuchh Na Kaho); Shankar-Ehsan-Loy
Tum mujhe (Aetbaar); Rajesh Roshan
Mohabbat zindagi hai (Moksh); Rajesh Roshan
O jaana (Dhund); Viju Sha
Jab dil mile (Satta); Raju Singh