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Sujatha on song

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WINNING SMILE: Sujatha says her dream is to present a full-fledged Carnatic music concert.
WINNING SMILE: Sujatha says her dream is to present a full-fledged Carnatic music concert.

SARASWATHY NAGARAJAN

Sujatha has won her third State Film Award for the Best Singer (Female) for her duet in `Rathrimazha.'

An award is a reason to celebrate. And Sujatha, who won her third Kerala State Film Award for the Best Singer (Female), says that the award calls for a double celebration as `Bansuri shruti pole... ,' a duet with Srinivas for `Rathrimazha,' bagged him the award for the best singer as well."It is special as my friend Srinivas and I have won the award for the same song. Perhaps, for the first time, both the singers of a duet and the music director Ramesh Narayan have won awards," she says.Sujatha candidly says that this duet did deserve the award. "Sometimes, you feel embarrassed when you win an award because you know in your heart of hearts that the song was not a very difficult one or a challenge to sing," she explains.

Ageless voice

The seven-year-old who enchanted listeners with her clear notes in the early Seventies continues to cast a spell on a new generation of listeners who grew up listening to her Tamil and Malayalam hits. "My debut as a playback singer was in 1973 for `Tourist Bungalow (`Kannu ezhuthi pottu kuthi... ', written by O.N.V. Kurup and tuned by M.K. Arjunan)," she recalls. As a child artiste who even sang duets with K.J. Yesudas, Sujatha points that she had had her share of fame and adulation before she reached her teens.Although Sujatha took a break, she came back with a bang with `Puthu vellai mazhai' in `Roja.'To the delight of her fans, time had not aged her voice. "I take care of my voice more than I take care of my daughter," she jokes. "There are many food restrictions. If there is a recording, I rest my voice for a day or two and remain as silent as possible. A difficult task for someone like me who enjoys meeting and talking to people," she adds. Sujatha's efforts to preserve her voice seem to have paid her rich dividends as she has sung for almost all the top music directors in South India. "Thanks to Rahman [A.R. Rahman] and film director Priyadarshan, I am back to doing to what I enjoy the most. I am certainly enjoying my second innings. I try to follow my director's instructions to the best of my ability."Concurring that it helps a song when the singer and the director are tuned to each other, she says that working with Rahman, Ouseppachan, Vidaysagar, Ramesh Narayan, M. Jayachandran and so on is enjoyable as they let you experiment while Illayaraja is more like a teacher who carefully watches every note you sing.

Plus points

Sujatha's plus points are her expressive and mellifluous voice and her ability to enhance the feel of the scene for which the song has been sung. "One has to pay attention to the meaning of the lyrics and the pronunciation of the words must be correct. When I used to sing in Telugu, I used to insist on the lyricist being there to correct my pronunciation and to ensure that I had conveyed the nuances of the lyrics correctly. After a point, they assured me that it was unnecessary as they were happy with my work," she says.Following in her footsteps is her daughter, Shwetha, who has also made her debut as a playback singer. "She is learning Carntic and Hindustani music. Music is her passion and she is enjoying it. That is what is important," she says.While Sujatha admits that she has no plans to compose, her dream is to present a Carnatic music concert some day.


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