By Suhel Johar

Voice Over

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Falguni Pathak, call the name and it immediately reminds one of dandia and the Navratri season. In fact the Navratri stage has proven to be a great launching pad for her career. But she's come a long way … from singing at garish dandia dos in Juhu to breathing the same air, as Madonna and Sting at the VMAs, is a remarkable journey. Falguni's yet to learn the art of self-hype. She talks little. She does not have the conventinal 'I-am-the-best' attitude, though she is fully aware of her own achievements, and the amount of hard work, perseverance and commitment which has gone into her growing success.

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Her band 'Ta Thaiyya', churning out Gujarati tinged tunes, had been hotter than backless cholis when she was the queen of dandiya in Mumbai. Having achieved cult status in the Gujju belt, Falguni decided to play for big stakes. Her first album 'Yaad Piya Ke Aane Lagi' was a rage … and not just in the dandiya league and Falguni Pathak emerged as the new diva of Indipop with her chart-buster 'Yaad Piya Ki Aane Lagi' four years back.

It was now time to move on to bigger things. She chose the Navratri period as the perfect time to promote her next big album 'Maine Payal Hai Chankai'. She sang the title track to delirious crowds at concert after concert. Fat girls danced and fat guys danced in gay abandon as Falguni ruled from the stage. Falguni now seems all set to recreate the same magic spell with her latest album 'Yeh Kisne Jadoo Kiya'. The album is a progression for Falguni from all her earlier work, as she has moved on from the normal epithets of love to reach for an emotion that is more airy and subtle, closer to the heart. While the lyrics of Nida Fazli have retained the essential Falguni flavour, they are also more full of depth and character. We steal some moments with the singing sensation. Excerpts of an interview with Smashits:

What's your latest album 'Yeh Kisne Jadoo Kiya' all about?

My latest release is woven around an enchanting kind of love. Here love seeks love and finds its true legion at the end, after wandering and stuttering. And in its wake, it leaves one wondering -- "Yeh Kisne Jadoo Kiya". On the video a young girl's heart is set upon the professor of her college. Meanwhile, she has a secret admirer, who she only later discovers, is none other than her classmate. Raju Khan, the video director, fabricates a sweet and simple story to portray how love, in its many-splendoured ways, brings two sincere hearts together. Lalit has weaved his magic with his tunes to beautifully dress up the words of Nida Fazli and transform them into magically lilting strains.....

Why is love the focal theme of your songs and why don't try something different?

I purposely don't want to sing serious songs. It will not go well with my happy-go-lucky attitude. I like my tunes to be catchy, but I'm also cautious the lyrics are not vulgar. They should be simple, sweet and easy to understand. All my songs are fresh and written by great lyricists.

When did you decide to take up singing as a career?

Singing happened by default. I had never dreamt of being a singer as such. But I had been performing right since the age of 10. In fact one programme led to another and before I knew it, I was performing big time.

Did you get any formal training in singing?

It is only for the past five years that I have been taking classical training under Bharati Jaipurwala. Else, I never had any formal training. It was just a desire to sing since my childhood that brought me here.

Who among your contemporaries are your favorite singers?

Of the new crop of singers or rather my contemporaries I like KK a lot. Hariharan, Udit Narayan and Kavita Krishnamurthi are my personal favorites.

And your personal favorite among the albums you did?

I cherish two albums - 'Maine Payal Hai Jhankaiyee' and 'Yaad Piya Ki Aane Lagi…'

Are you not interested in playback singing?

So far playback singing is concerned I think I am yet to find time for that. I have got several offers but I did not find time to do justice. It is not that I would sing for only big music directors. I can sing for anyone. But stage is my first love and I am passionate about stage shows. I am open to such offers and any music director is welcome for that matter. My only criteria in choosing to render my services, as a playback singer is that the offer should be exciting and not just a routine Bollywood song. Otherwise I am happy doing what I have been doing. Moreover, singing for pop albums has its advantages over playback singing and that is the reason why playback singers are cutting pop albums. I also feel that in a Pop album a singer gets the opportunity to express the different facets of their style.

Why are you always dressed in jeans and brick red jacket?

I've never worn any traditional Indian costume. But there is no specific reason why I've chosen to dress up the way I do. I've been only wearing either shorts or trousers ever since I can remember. My hair was always like this and I always wore jeans with T-Shirts. This is what I wear while performing!

How has been the experience of singing with Neeraj of Bombay Vikings for 'Tera Mera Pyar Sanam' with him?

Neeraj is one of my favourite indipop singers and I loved singing with him. Shooting the video with him was great fun too.

What's next?

I want to keep singing like I am doing now. Right now I will shoot another video for my latest album.


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