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‘Success is ephemeral’: Anuradha Paudwal

Anuradha Paudwal in performance Photo Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar   | Photo Credit: CH_VIJAYA BHASKAR

Recently, when “Dheere Dheere Se Meri Zindagi Main Aana” was remixed, one’s heart went out to seek the original sung by Anuradha Paudwal and Kumar Sanu. In the late ’80s and 90s, when film music was not at its best, Anuradha was the saving grace. It was the time when Madhuri Dixit’s graph was rising and Anuradha became her voice. Remember “Bahut Pyaar Kartein Hain Tumko Sanam”, the song just refused to go out of the music charts. However, at the peak of her career, she switched to devotional music and the meaning of sanam changed from worldly to divine. Many who switched sides looked back to regret it, but not Anuradha, as she has clarity about the materialistic world. “Much before the songs of Lal Dupatta Malmal Ka and Aashiqui became hits I had decided that on reaching the zenith I will quit singing film songs and concentrate on devotional genre.” The choice of devotional over material was due to her deep interest in spirituality. “My film debut happened when I rendered a shloka in Abhiman scored by the legendary S.D. Burman,” she quickly points out. She recently opened the three-day “Bhakti Sangeet Festival” presented by Sahitya Kala Parishad and Delhi Government featuring singers from several genres.

A break in those days when playback singing dominated by the Mangeshkar sisters –– Lata and Asha –– must have been tough, more so as they were rumoured to create hurdles for challengers. “I can’t vouch for others but I did not feel any pressure. The two sisters deserve their recognition because of their talent and hard work,” Anuradha states, closing the subject and moving back to her life.

“Early on I perceived the impermanence of popularity. I had seen many talented and hardworking artists suffer due to lack of recognition. I understood that even the greatest of the names were not here to stay permanently.” Citing the example Nazia Hasan who stormed the music scene with her hits, Anuradha explains, “Everybody had predicted that she will replace the ruling singers but that never happened. Success and popularity are momentary and ephemeral.”

It all sounded too good to be true so I ask was this the only reason. Without pausing, the singer reveals that being a content person she neither expected nor aspired for moon. “I was highly satisfied with what I received from the audience and industry. I felt that it is always better to retire when on the pinnacle nahi to log darwaza dikha dete hain (otherwise you are shown the door).” Many attribute Anuradha shying away from films to the untimely death of Gulshan Kumar of T-Series fame. She says her switch to devotional music was always on the cards. “The decision was correct as film music industry, as predicted by Gulshanji, faced a downslide. In fact I have more work at present than I had then.”

Associated with several hit films including Hero, Utsav, Tezaab, Ram Lakhan, Aashiqui, Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin, Sajan and Beta, Anuradha sang in Kannada, Marwari, Marathi, Sanskrit, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese, among other languages. Many of those popular songs went on to be chartbusters. “The experience was fantastic. I made no special effort and sang them in my natural style.” Well, her voice was magical. “It was not just that. The success was the result of team work –– excellent lyrics and composition and great promotion of the films and songs.”

Anuradha never felt heady when she was credited with creating the “dhak dhak” image of Madhuri Dixit through the sensuous number in Beta. “It all boils down to being at the right place at the right time with the right people. Talent is essential and foremost but there are thousands who do not make it. It is only when the precise song and the film comes your way does success happen.”

Fortunate to have sung with leading singers and musicians, she describes her musical journey as fruitful and happy. “Completely satisfied with the way things have turned out. I have and will have no regrets,” she signs off with complete confidence.

Once more!

“Tu Mera Hero Hai” Hero

“Dheere Dheere Se Meri Zindagi Main Aana” Aashiqui

“Nazar Ke Saamne” Aashiqui

“Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin” Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin

“Dhak Dhak Karne Laga” Beta

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 12:47:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/success-is-ephemeral-anuradha-paudwal/article8537600.ece

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