Melody unwind

Music is my life S.P. Sailaja   | Photo Credit: Photo: Nagara Gopal

S.P. Sailaja is content with what she has achieved

There is a zen-like calmness around the songstress, who has lent voice to some memorable films. Be it romantic, folk, or devotional numbers… Sailaja has carved a niche for herself. As the sister of the legendary singer S.P. Balasubrahmanyam, Sailaja held her forth and has come a long way. “There is an age gap of 16 1/2 years between me and annaya. More than my brother, he is like a father-figure to me,” she says.

Making her debut

The singer recollects a few incidents of the industry she grew up in.

“I was a teenager when I first started singing in films. I was a regular teenager, watching movies and spending time at the beach,” she reminisces. And, when the role of a carefree and arrogant young dancer came her way for the film ‘Sagara Sangamam,’ her answer was a big no. “I was reluctant as I was trained only in Bharatanatyam but in the film I had to perform other dance forms like Kathak too. While shooting my introductory song ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ at Ravindra Bharathi, I became nervous on the stage and refused to act. However, director K. Vishwanath, who also happens to be my cousin, prevailed upon me and the movie became a turning point in my life.”

While she shared the screen with bigwigs like Kamal Haasan and Jayaprada, Sailaja says, the shooting was not an easy affair. “During the song ‘Vedam,’ I had to stamp Kamal Haasan’s feet in rage and I couldn’t muster enough courage to do it,” she recollects. Singing for two decades and with 6,000 songs in her kitty, Sailaja considers herself a student of music even now! “Hard work is the only recipe for success. We need to give our best to our work and the result is not in our hands,” she says .

Changing gears

The switchover from films to television during the early 90s has been a natural phenomenon and she believes shifting careers helped her to reinvent herself. As a guiding force to many-a-youngster, she enjoys her stint on the small screen.

“The music industry is very big and I had my share of success. I was mature enough to understand that it was time for someone else to enjoy their fame. I just moved on,” she says.

On why she maintains a low-profile, she says, “I try to give interviews to the media but if there is nothing new to talk about, the chat becomes a routine affair. I want my songs to be in the spotlight more than me.”

She lives in Chennai and keeps herself busy with stage shows and by launching devotional albums. She loves watching movies, and spending time with her husband Sudhakar and teenage son Sreekar. “Success means different things to different people. To me, it’s about happiness and being content with what I have achieved,” she concludes.