Saptaparna Chakraborty, a non-Malayali, has scored with her song in Emmanuel. She has already sung in Tamil and Telugu
Music cuts across boundaries. Many singers speaking different languages have made a mark in Mollywood with their melodious songs. The latest addition to that illustrious list is Saptaparna Chakraborty, a Bengali, born and brought up in Assam. She is the new talent in Mollywood who has sung the duet, ‘Manathudichathu…’ with Najim Arshad in Lal Jose’s Emmanuel. The 22-year-old has already sung in Telugu and Tamil and will be heard in more films in Malayalam. She will also be tying the knot to a Malayali. The soft-spoken singer talks with MetroPlus about her career and association with Kerala. Excerpts:
Being part of Emmanuel
Afzal ikka (Afzal Yusuf, the composer of Emmanuel) liked my song in a Malayalam album – a duet with Najim that was composed by Anand, a friend of mine. Working with Afzal was an amazing experience. Although he is visually challenged, his sense of music is terrific. I had my apprehensions about being a non-Malayali when I sang the song. But the entire crew was supportive. People have liked the song and I’m happy that my Malayalam diction has improved a lot, thanks to my friends here.
Music in her life
I’m the first professional musician from my family. My parents (Subrata Chakraborty and Suparna) are bankers. However, they are all fond of music. An aunt of mine, who used to work in All India Radio, used to teach me music. Later, I learnt Hindustani classical from Bhatkhande Music Institute University, Lucknow. I participated in various competitions, one of them was the Bangla version of ‘SaReGaMa’ on Zee Bangla. Later, I competed in the second season of ‘Voice of India’ on Star Plus and was the first runner-up. That eventually opened the door to Bollywood and the Bhojpuri film industry.
Tryst with the South
I wanted to learn sound engineering and that brought me to Chennai where I joined Muzik Lounge School of Audio Technology run by composer Stephen Devassy and his brother Sam. I have a big friends’ circle of Malayalis from whom I picked up the language and culture. In fact, I started off by singing a Malayalam song for a documentary, ‘Kazhinja Kalam’, which was based on the life of K.P. Kesava Menon. An animation CD, ‘Meesha Marjaran’ and a couple of Malayalam albums followed. I also worked with Stephen in his projects. Another big opportunity was The Hindu FridayReview ‘November Fest’ for which I was one among the singers who paid musical tribute to Rajesh Khanna. We performed in Chennai, Coimbatore and Bangalore. I sang along with Srinivas, Naresh Iyer, Haricharan, Swetha Mohan and many others.
On reality shows
‘Voice of India’ definitely changed my life. But the important aspect is that it all depends on being at the right place at the right time. In my case, I had almost lost my voice after the reality show because of a problem with the vocal nodules. I was unable to sing for nearly two years. The recovery was very slow and it troubles me at times even now.
Singing for Ilayaraja
I still can’t believe that I’ve sung in three movies for him. I went to his studio for a voice test after Haricharan suggested my name to him. I sang a bhajan. He just listened and didn’t say anything. He told his team to give me a solo song! I have sung for him in the Tamil movies Nilachoru, which is ready for release, and Sree Ramanujar and a Marathi movie Touring Talkies .
I’ve already worked with James Vasanthan in Tamil and my first work in Telugu (for the movie Shivani) is already out. Malayali composers, Sachin and Sreejith had composed the songs for Shivani. I’m singing for Deepak Dev in Malayalam (Aru Sundarimarude Katha) and KQ (for Stephen Devassy). I’ve already worked with Deepak sir in I Love Me. It’s not that I’m concentrating only in the South. I hope to get interesting work in Bollywood as well.