Behind Vijitha's simplicity lies an exceptional talent, says Vivek Narayanan followng a chat with the playback singer
When she sang Malarndhum Malaradha from the movie Pasa Malargal at the centenary celebrations of Indian cinema held in Chennai last month, none other than K.J. Yesudas praised her. It was a dream come true for playback singer Vijitha.
At first sight, Vijitha, who hails from a village in Kozhikode, does not come across as a person with an extraordinary talent. But when she begins to sing, neighbours passing by her door stop to listen. She started learning music at the age of four from her father Sethumadhavan. Later, she was mentored by Geetha Devi Vasudevan (A-Grade Artist AIR Calicut) and then became a disciple of Santha Subramanian, the elder sister of veteran playback singer Mrs. Vani Jayaram. She is now learning from Binni Krishna Kumar.
“My father is a music teacher and plays the violin. My brother is also a singer and has won in a musical reality show in Malayalam. He will be singing in movies soon,” said Vijitha, a mother of two children. In 2002, after getting married to advocate Jaiganesh, she moved to Chennai. “Singer Unni Menon gave me my first break. I sang the title song for Kolangal serial in Malayalam. Following this, I sang in many Malayalam movies. The next big chance in Tamil was given by maestro Ilayaraja,” says Vijitha. She was sweeping the house, when she recieved a call asking her to give a voice test. “I thought I performed poorly. But after the test, I was taken into the room where Illayaraja sir was sitting with a harmonium in front of him. I was nervous but somehow managed to sing a few Carnatic songs. The next thing I know I was asked to sing in his Symphony Thiruvasagam,” reminiscences Vijitha.
In Tamil, Vijitha has sung in 11 movies, including Mayandi Kudumbathar, Gnyabagangal, Pazhassi Raja and Goripalayam. In Telugu, she has sung in four movies and in Malayalam five including the latest Ezhamathe Varavu by director Hariharan. She has shared the stage with eminent singers like K.S. Chitra and K.J. Yesudas.
“I am still learning and try to impart it to children by conducting music classes at my school,” says Vijitha. She says that without her husband’s support, she wouldn’t have made it to the film industry. “My dream is to sing a song like Porale Ponnuthayi and work with all music directors, including A.R. Rahman and Ilayaraja sir. I also want to launch an album with the tunes composed by my father,” she says before going on with her household chores. Vijitha has won a couple of awards, including the Tamil Nadu Cinema Kalaimandram in 2008 for best upcoming female play back singer.