Dubai: From singing on a railway station to Bollywood, a viral video completely turned Ranu Mandol's life around.
Like any other day, on July 21, Mondal walked from her home to the Ranaghat Railway Station in the Indian state of West Bengal, a distance of four kilometers. Her melodious voice her tool and the local trains and railway stations her workplace, she was set to make another day's living by singing for the travellers.
As the 59-year-old sat on a bench singing, a man named Atindra Chakraborty took out his phone, recorded her song and uploaded the video on social media.
Her rendition of the Hindi song, an evergreen Lata Mangeshkar hit, 'Ek pyaar ka nagma hai' soon went viral and she was an overnight celebrity.
Recently, Bollywood singer-composer Himesh Reshammiya came across her video and has offered to give her a singing contract for the upcoming movie Happy Hardy and Heer. She will also make an appearance on Superstar Singer and meet the kids and the judges, including Himesh. He said: “Today, I met Ranuji and I feel that she is blessed with divinity. Her singing was mesmerizing and I could not stop myself from offering her the best I could.”
Social media stardom
According to an article on India Today: "Atindra Chakraborty, the 26-year old engineer who first heard Mandol singing a Mohammed Rafi number at Ranaghat station, said: 'I was hanging out with my friends at a tea stall on platform No 6. A Rafi song was playing in the radio aloud. Suddenly I heard the lady humming to the tune, as she sat on the platform floor. I asked her if she could sing something for us. She sang a song and I recorded it on my mobile. We were surprised by how melodious she was."
That evening, Chakraborty and his friends spent an hour with Ranu as she sang old melodies. They got her some food and water. On July 23, the young engineer posted her video on Facebook.
Her video was watched by millions, even celebrities started sharing her video.
Soon, many people volunteered to fetch her food and she received numerous phone calls. She even got a makeover at a local beauty parlour, the pictures of which started flooding social media.
She is now reportedly getting offers from TV talent shows around the country.
According to an article on the Indian newspaper, Times of India, Chakraborty said: “A Bengali band has called and she may be seen on stage this month. A reality show producer called too and wanted to send flight tickets. But that fell through because she doesn’t have an identity card. Several producers from Kolkata have called, asking if she is interested in playback singing."
The article adds that this is not Mandol had to stop singing in her youth because her family did not approve of it. “There was a time in my 20s when I toured the districts with an orchestra owned by a local club. The audience called me ‘Ranu-Bobby’ after hearing me sing songs from 1973 hit movie Bobby. I even earned some money but was forced to stop as no one in my family supported me or my art," she told the paper.
But it wasn't the fame that touched her, Mandol's daughter, who was not in touch with her for the last 10 years, finally came to visit her.