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Updated: January 2, 2013 19:40 IST

What’s on your lips?

Tanya Singhal
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In demand: Papon.
In demand: Papon.

A look at the voices that might rule the charts in 2013

It is no longer just about melody or matching the voice of the star. Bollywood is looking for the attitude of a rockstar in its playback singers. The success of Mohit Chauhan and Neeraj Shridhar has opened the gates for many singers who were once associated with independent bands. Angaraag ‘Papon’ Mahanta emerges as a popular choice among seasoned composers in the music industry as the voice to look forward to in 2013. Originally from Assam, Papon hit the music charts in 2012 with Kyon naa hum-tum, Chale tedhe-medhe se raston pe nange paanv re, Chal bhatak le na baawre, the evocative number from Barfi!

Music director Shamir Tandon’s mind lights up with Papon’s name as a person who has great potential and can make it big in the New Year. “His voice has a texture, which is soothing. He comes with a well trained backgroundand the low end notes are especially sung very well by him,” he says. Shamir also feels that the list of upcoming singers can definitely include Shahid Mallya, the Rabba Main Toh Mar Gaya Re (Mausam) singer, who, according to him, has a good hold of high end notes. Also, Monica Dogra, part of indie band Shaa’ir+Func., who sung Dooriyan Bhi Hain Zaroori (Break Ke Baad), has a voice that goes well with both Hindi and English songs. “The youth will very well connect with these three singers. Their originality and individuality is what will make them stand out,” says Shamir.

Composer Shantanu Moitra is also very impressed with Papon, and feels that he can create ripples on the music scene. “Papon has got a fresh voice. And being from a (rock) band background, he adds an attitude to his emotive voice, which connects well with the young listeners.” Papon has collaborated with Midival Punditz and Karsh Kale in the past.

Moitra feels that since the concept of playback singing is changing these days with lip-syncing on the verge of extinction, singers like Papon along with K. Mohan of Pune-based band Agnee can become very successful in the music industry. K. Mohan, who sang for Paan Singh Tomar and Ferrari Ki Sawari last year is making waves with his “Zindagi Ka Karobar” number for Inkaar, which is composed by Moitra.

Known for his score in films like Parineeta and 3 Idiots, Moitra feels that classical singer Kaushiki Chakraborty, daughter of vocalist Ajay Chakraborty, has a voice that can suit playback singing if she shifts to playback singing.

With classical flourishes finding place in Bollywood themes and audience’s memory after a long time classical singers are being looked at as promising candidates for films. The recent example is Jiya Lage Na from Talaash. Sung by Sona Mohapatra, the song is refusing to budge from the charts. The Oriya singer also impressed with her renditions in television series Satyamev Jayate.

Composers suggest that different textures will also continue to attract attention. From Gangs of Wasseypur to Talaash, 2012 saw many unique voices finding acceptance. While Suman Sridhar’s Muskanein Jhhooti Hain stirred many souls, Sneha Khanwalkar and Amit Trivedi employed chutney music in Gangs of Wasseypur to hypnotizing effect. Is ‘chutney’ the way forward? Lyricist and music director Piyush Mishra, who contributed to the music of Gangs of Wasseypur, says he misses the music from the golden age of Hindi cinema and feels that singing is a “matter of heart”. “Now people are looking for new talent for almost every other film. It’s not just refined singers, but also raw singers who are being searched for,” he sums up the situation.

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