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Actor-singer Suchitra Krishnamoorthi chats with Bhavi Gathani about her comeback song Sawan barse, and how the industry has changed over the years

Actor-writer-singer Suchitra Krishnamoorthi is back after 18 years with a single, Sawan barse. On how the journey of this song began, she says, “I was at a friend’s film screening. After that, one of the music directors of the film, Surya Vishwakarma, started messaging me on Facebook, saying he wanted to work on a song with me. I didn’t meet him that day, though. I kept ignoring him as I was not planning to get back to singing. But since he was persistent, I agreed to meet him. He came home with a guitar and asked me to listen to a song. That was a kitaabi type of song. I didn’t want to sing something so serious. I asked him to give me something lighter. So he played me a melody and I liked it. He wrote the lyrics and I agreed to sing this song, Sawan barse.”

She adds, “When we recorded the song, I made Atul Churamani listen to the song as I trust his acumen and judgement. He said it sounded really nice and very different from the current trend of music. He asked me to put a video out for this. Initially, I was hesitant but he put me in touch with Zee Music and that’s how this song got released.”

The songstress had ventured into singing in the late ‘90s and lent her voice to quite a few films. But the years went by and her confidence dwindled. “I am from a family of singers. Those who know me from my childhood know me as a girl who was always singing on stage. People had to tell me to shut up sometimes! But, over the last few years, I lost my confidence. One’s voice is very connected to confidence and emotion. Even when friends and family would ask me to sing, I used to get very anxious. There was a time when I thought I had lost my voice completely. Then, three years ago, I happened to meet my Guruji Ravi Juleji, who encouraged me to sing again. Whenever I used to feel discouraged, he would say, ‘If you trust me, then just sing quietly.’ That’s how I gradually started rebuilding my confidence.”

Krishnamoorthi sheds light on how Sawan barse is different from her other songs. “This song is not written and composed by me. I am just the singer. I was given this song as a gift. But if I talk about my earlier songs, I was a teenager at that time. If I were to sing Dole dole today, I would look like a moron (Laughs). There is a day and age for everything. I like Sawan barse because it’s mature, it’s a song of yearning. Even when the video was made by Karan Butani, we decided to make it as a return to childhood and innocence, a yearning to recapture that innocence, faith and hope.”

Talking about her experience behind the mic after such a long time, Krishnamoorthi says, “As I said, I had confidence issues. The first time I recorded the song, I was not happy. I went back and re-recorded it but I was still not happy. I finally realised that I would never be happy (Laughs). Hence I decided to go with it. But I think it’s a process and things will evolve organically. There is no point overthinking things. But I am happy that people like the song. It’s a slow song, so it will take time to pick up the momentum.”

On the growth of independent music in India, she says, “I don’t know whether this is the correct time for me, from a business point of view, but for me as an artiste, whatever you decide to do, at whatever time, is the correct time. Also, when I was very active in the music business in the ’90s, there was no digital or Internet; only television and live performances. Now everything is digital.

In a similar vein, she says, “Also, there was a long gap between 2000 and 2010, where only film music flourished because people had not caught onto the digital model. People did not subscribe to channels or pay for downloads. There was a generation who believed that music should be free. Now, the culture of filmmaking is also changing. That trend of lip-syncing a song has completely changed. That automatically gave rise to independent music. Now they put out a video with not just the actor or actresses’ face but also the face of the singer. Things have been changing since the last two years and I just got on the train!”

Back in the day, Krishnamoorthi says, all one had to do was “show up, look pretty and sing”. She explains, “Once you had a foot in the door, you just had to step inside. The difficulty was getting that foot in the door, getting that break.  At one point in time, I was told to just ‘look pretty and sing’.”

The songstress hopes to collaborate with her daughter Kaveri in future. “I would love to work with her, but let’s see, let me ask her. She is still a teenager. Right now, she wants to formally study music abroad and is busy with college applications. There is an event in the first week of December and they wanted me and her do a duet. She said, ‘Mom, I would love to do it but I am so busy.’ But I am sure we will do something later.” Krishnamoorthi adds, “Kaveri is very supportive. In fact, she is one of the reasons that has egged me on to get my act together. I cannot afford to sit in front of her and be such a coward. I have to be positive for her.”

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