It was a stroke of luck that landed her an assignment with A.R. Rahman, but there’s hard work and passion behind Harini’s success
Hers is a fairytale saga to the summit of success. With dime a dozen playback singers, she is one cut above the rest and it is her humility and attitude that has kept her among the top till date.
“It’s all destiny. I never dreamt of singing for movies, leave alone a busy career in music. My story is rather too unreal,” she says with a pretty smile.
What is so unrealistic about your rising career? “Can we call it a fortunate accident?,” she asks rhetorically and says, “Way back in 1994, A.R. Rahman was being felicitated at a music competition where four girls, including me, were selected to sing, solo of course, on the dais, in his presence. All of us sang well and before leaving, he asked us all to send our recorded CDs.
Naturally, we were overwhelmed and promptly sent him our respective music CDs. Little did we know that the CDs would just lie there in a bunch to be picked up at random as and when the ace music director needed a new voice.
And this is exactly what happened, as his sister later admitted to me. She was asked to pick up one CD, which he had in mind, but both were in a tearing hurry and she just pulled out one CD that came to her hand — that happened to be mine and what more, I was finalised, to sing under his direction for a Tamil movie.”
With that, all doors leading to the entertainment industry burst open ushering her into a position she has since retained for more than a decade.
Ask her about the highly competitive field she is in and Harini candidly admits, “Like in cricket, I have to keep myself ‘in form’. Or else there are hundreds waiting in the wings, so they can replace you. I keep listening to all music — Arabian, South African and the like just to know the nuances.”
She hones her skills learning Western and Hindustani (self-taught) along with her Carnatic music practice sessions under eminent gurus. Harini found her life partner in singer Tippu (L.N. Ekambaresh).
“We met in Australia at music director Deva’s show. Initially, there was some resistance in the family about our marriage but it was evened out as both of us belong to the same community. We have two kids and we have no ego clashes,” she says.
The young singer is presently being awarded this year’s Ugadi Puraskar by Sri Kalasudha Academy, Chennai. Despite fame and remuneration, passion for singing keeps this great granddaughter of Sri Anantasayanam Iyengar (former Speaker of the Lok Sabha) going.
She loves to share an interesting anecdote where she kept singing for four hours, in complete involvement and “never realised how tired I was till I took off my headphones! And mind you, the recording was running on UPS. I was told later that all others were sweating it out but did not disturb me because they found me engrossed in my part of the job. I never feel the strain because of the love of it. Luckily, I live in a joint family with my in-laws and that makes all stress evaporate, since there are elders to share your tensions and suggest remedial measures,” she says.