Acclaimed Bollywood playback singer Shreya Ghoshal owes a major part of her success to reality talent hunt shows. More than a decade ago, the Sa Re Ga Ma Pa winner was discovered by director Sanjay Leela Bhansali during the talent hunt and the next thing you know she was lending her voice to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in the epic saga ‘Devdas’.
Surprisingly, Ghoshal isn’t too impressed with the current crop of reality singing shows.
“During my time, there was no audience voting or TRPs, it was plain music. There was no drama,” said Ghoshal with no hint of malice in an interview prior to her concert at Madinat Arena in Dubai this Friday. “Earlier, it was honest and natural. We connected to shows a lot more because it celebrated Indian music and Indian culture. During our rehearsals, we used to choose tough numbers… nowadays, there are just too many reality shows and talent is filtered too many times.”
Her verdict may sound like a grave deduction from a music veteran, but this Rajasthan-bred songstress is all of 28. And the number of hit songs she’s had, far surpasses her age.
In the last few months, she was the husky voice behind Katrina Kaif’s ‘Chikini Chameli’ and ‘Mashallah’ from ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ and the crooner behind Parineeta Chopra’s danceable ‘Jhalla Wallah’ from ‘Ishaqzaade’. So do stars thank her when her voice finds resonance among millions of Bollywood fans?
“If we meet at a function, they tell you that they enjoyed a song. But we are usually disconnected,” said Ghoshal, her response highlighting the divide between actors and singers in an industry that thrives on song and dance spectacles.
“More than the actors it is the directors who are far more inspired and connected to us. After music composers, they are the most involved.”
Ghoshal bills director Sanjay Leela Bhansali as her mentor. In her illustrious career, she says she often sings songs without a clue about which star is going to be eventually featured with it. Having glamorous stars dancing to her songs does not necessarily bolster her popularity, she said.
With no Bollywood insider backing her, Ghoshal is a self-made star whose voice features in almost all the blockbusters that hit the silver screen today. She believes that a song’s success depends on how the film is promoted, the visibility it gets and finally the quality of the song itself.
“If it’s a good song, half your battle is won. For ‘Shor In The City’ with Tusshar Kapoor, it was an unconventional film. But my song from it did exceptionally well and it was the most requested number on the radio for several months. That proves that the song should finally be worth listening to,” she said.
A regular to Dubai, Ghoshal promises the ultimate Bollywood musical experience for her next gig.
“Every time I come to Dubai, people expect change. This year, I have had so many new releases so the format of the show will naturally change. But I don’t have a fixed agenda,” she said. “Audience participation is what I want. I have always loved the vibe that I get from my Dubai fans and I have a feeling it won’t be any different this year.”