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Journey of music

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On her own terms Singer-actor Vasundhara Das
On her own terms Singer-actor Vasundhara Das

Multi-faceted Vasundhara Das says that music remains her ultimate passion

Films in Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, playback singing, music band, concert tours around the world and even a reality show, actor-singer Vasundhara Das has done it all.

The talented singer has rendered a soft romantic number ‘Kahin to Hogi’ along with Rashid Ali, in the latest Bollywood hit ‘Jaane Tu Ya Na Jaane Na’. “I am exploring different things. I am being little more introspective. I am thinking a lot, toying with various ideas. There is lot happening but I can’t talk about it now,” says Vasundhara.

The lady is also a part of a music band ‘Aryans’ along with Narain and others. She is also part of a unique concept called ‘Drumjam’ which organises rhythm-based events for the corporate sector aiming to boost morale, team-building and reduce stress. “We have got 1000 drums of different sizes and places which have travelled countries and cities. It’s a business venture for me, but whatever I do will always be associated with music. If I have to choose between a film and a concert tour, I will take up the latter,” says Vasundhara.

“There is nothing as thrilling as a live performance. Stage is my life,” she adds. But it just so happened that in North India, her debut film Kamal Hassan’s ‘Hey Ram’ released first before her first playback song ‘Shakalaka Baby’ in Tamil film ‘Mudhalvan’.

“I went for ‘Hey Ram’ audition just to find out how screen tests happen. After the test, Kamal introduced me to the violinist L. Subramaniam saying: ‘Meet my new heroine’. I was a complete tomboy. I had never worn a salwar kameez and in the film, my character Mythili had to wear heavy Kanjeepuram saris and wear flowers in hair. But I couldn’t have performed the way I did if the role wasn’t written like that,” says the Hebbar Iyengar girl of Bangalore.

Her first album was ‘Meri Jaan’ with Magnasound comprised myriad flavours like Arabic, Latin soft ballad and even Bhangra. And while working on this album, Mira Nair’s ‘Monsoon Wedding’ came her way. Her role as Aditi, Naseeruddin Shah’s daughter, turned the attention towards her. On the music front, her debut song ‘Shakalaka Baby’ had everyone dancing to its tunes, and she went on to fetch Filmfare award for best singer right for her first song.

As an actor too, she had branched out to regional cinema with films like ‘Citizen’ opposite Ajith in Tamil, Malayalam film and ‘Ravana Prabhu’ with Mohan Lal. “’Ravana Prabhu’ is one of the biggest hits of Malayalam cinema. I played a free-spirited young doctor in this modern-day interpretation of Ramayana.” Coming back to her singing career, the performer with a husky voice has an impressive list of songs to boast of. ‘Lagaan’ ‘Aks’, ‘Salaam Namaste’, ‘Jhoom Barabar Jhoom’, ‘Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna’ has made her a name to reckon with. She has also sung in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Malayalam, Marathi and French. Vasundhara also collaborated with A. R. Rahman for ‘Global Rhythms’.

And how has her journey been so far? “I value my voice. In the past, I have stood up and said no to particular things I didn’t like. When I do playback for a song, I ask myself is it worth my being there? I have always lived life on my own terms. I am a wanderer, a vagabond and my journey is music,” says Vasundhara.

SHAILAJA TRIPATHI TANEJA

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