Srilekha Parthasarathy is a sought-after performer on stage, writes S. Aishwarya
When on stage, she is the cynosure of all eyes. Her foot-tapping numbers apart, Srilekha Parthasarathy's knack of enthralling the audience with her witty impromptu interactions in between, makes her the most sought-after on-stage performer. "I put myself in their shoes. When I spend out of my pocket for a light music concert, I expect a lot more than monotonous filmy numbers," says this up-and-coming playback singer, for whom entry into the filmdom was not a cakewalk.
In pursuit of chance
An English literature graduate from Delhi University, Srilekha came down south carrying her mammoth bundle of demo CDs to try her luck in Kollywood. "I started my career when I was in my final year at the university. Since I have sung many jingles in quite a few languages, I was confident enough to render my voice for Tamil songs. `Her' quite a few languages count up to 16, including Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Bengali and Konkani. Her next venture was to Mumbai where she voiced Punjabi albums such as `Mehendi ki raath' and `Mehendi ne mehendi' and later turned her attention towards Chennai. "My parents were very finicky about sending me to Mumbai all alone. Eventually, Chennai was my next destination," she quips. Inspired by her grandfather Varadhachari's research in `Physics and Music,' Srilekha has never failed to assess her vocal chords recurrently. "As far as I have identified, my voice is not for heavy `gamakams' of carnatic music. I'm now learning Hindustani, which I'm more comfortable with." Having been the `Cultural secretary' in college, she feels that success of a song does not entirely depend on the music and singer. "There are lot of things involved in making a song. But whatever they are, every song decides our destiny," comes the reply from the singer whose maiden attempt, `Yedho Ondru' from `Lesa Lesa,' gave her an indelible `capable singer' identity. "My greatest break is still my first song. But that was a decisive movie for many including actor Trisha and for me."
List of success
With the `success singer' tag fixed on her, Srilekha's successive numbers, `Kalyanandhan' from `Saami' and `Chinna Veeda' from `Otran,' promptly fell into the box-office list. But the success of her fast numbers left her voice with the exclusive-peppy-number identity that she is trying hard to change. "I'm trying hard to change their [composer's] perception by constantly requesting for melody numbers as well. Not that I'm not happy with the success of my fast numbers but I want to prove my versatility," she is quick to add. A. R. Rahman and Ilayaraja are among the composers she is looking forward to work with. "I have worked with Raja sir [Ilayaraja] but unfortunately the song didn't feature in the movie." Rahman too sent word for his recent film at a time when she was overseas. "This shows I'm on their cards for sure. I hope to get a call soon from either of them," she says, with her fingers crossed. If asked about the increasing replacement of singers for many songs, her chirpiness comes to a brief halt. Choosing her words carefully, she continues, "It happens. Sometimes, the music director may not be satisfied with a few notes of the singer. But the saddest part is many of us come to know about it only after the release of the album." Despite her hopes that her to-be-released song `Madana' in `Boys and Girls' will prove her proficiency in melody, Srilekha seems glad about the fast numbers she has voiced so far. "Ultimately, that's what sells on stage. I have known many singers who yearn for a `ghana' song. What I need is a perfect balance of both," she clarifies. When film and modelling offers knocked at this good-looking songster's doors, she instantly turned them down. "When the focus gets diverted, its difficult to catch up with singing chances in this buy-and-sell industry. A singer's prime job is to wait for the right opportunity and I'm happily doing that," she signs off musically with her evergreen number `Yedho Ondru.'