Tanvi Shah on turning a performer for her latest single ‘Call It Love’

“It is really difficult. As singers, we go to the recording studio and be ‘in the zone’ for the song. But facing the camera is another thing altogether — I’m scared.” Singer-designer Tanvi Shah used to shudder at the thought of facing a camera.

But all that will change now. For, her latest single ‘Call It Love’ features the singer dancing in Indian costumes, doing a bit of belly-dancing and well, singing.

This music video is Tanvi’s major outing in front of the camera. And going by the response, it certainly might not be her last. How did it all happen? “It took five months of coaxing from my entire team to make me star in the video. Every time they asked me, I would be like, ‘Why can’t we get a model’ and ‘No, there’s no way I can do this’.”

Once Tanvi decided to go ahead with it, it was a roller-coaster ride. The video demanded that she be immersed in the ocean waters and do a bit of belly-dancing too. “I made the entire team mad while shooting that,” she says. “Shooting a dance sequence in water was a major task. It was one tough job to belly-dance, and on top of it, I had to do it standing in water! We were also particular that the top half of the body doesn’t get wet in that sequence — balancing all these was quite tough. But, it was a brilliant learning experience.”

The song itself is the English version of her Spanish number. “JHawk, my music producer in Los Angeles, and I were jamming on a few things and this stood out. He insisted on having an Indian element in the song… and that’s how I came in to it!”

Up next for the singer is the video of a song called ‘Meant To Be’. “It’s a simple song that features a normal girl wondering who her man is and whether he’s going to come in to her life,” she reveals. “I’m still working on its storyboard, but I’d like to shoot it at a simple place as it goes with the theme of the number. And, there’ll definitely be no belly-dancing in that one!”

Tanvi’s journey as a singer started more than a decade ago when A.R. Rahman called her for a recording. When the song, ‘Fana’ became a rage, it was a sign of things to come. “I used to sing just for fun and was looking forward to becoming a designer,” she recalls. “But when Rahman called me, it was a shock. But, I’d be stupid not to take it.” She followed that with songs by other leading music composers in Kollywood and a few international tracks as well.

And then, somewhere along the way, ‘Jai Ho’ happened. The months after it released were mad for her. She attended several high-profile international events, got noticed by people for her voice and was branded the ‘Jai Ho’ girl. Has she grown out of that image now? “That song will always be a part of my life. I’m grateful to the Oscars and every other major award, but then I had to look at what lay ahead. Every time I do something, I would like to raise the bar for myself. But have I grown as a singer? Oh no, I’m still crawling.”