‘Singing is not a stable career option,’ says Golmaal Returns singer Anwesshaa – Exclusive – Times of India

Singer Anwesshaa is a popular face and voice during garba events. She started her formal training in Hindustani classical music at the age of 4 under her Guru Pundit Jayant Sarkar, senior most disciple of Pundit Ajoy Chakraborty (Patiala Gharana). Her first breakthrough in Bollywood came at the age of 14 in ‘Golmaal Returns’ where she sang for music director Pritam.
As the Durga Puja festivities are going on in full swing, ETimes got in touch with Anwesshaa to talk about her musical journey, her favourite memory with her mother, facing uncertainties in the music industry and many more.
How does it feel to perform live during the Navratri festival?
I feel very good during Durga Puja. I sing Devi Vandana a lot because in my shows a lot of Bengalis also come. They ask me to sing Bengali songs and I recently got a chance to sing my Bengali songs as well.
What has been your best memory of Durga Puja?
My best memory is from childhood. Everyday we used to go out and do pandal hopping. Childhood memories had an innocence. I was singing professionally as a child. We used to go to different cities for shows. It was fun. We used to travel a lot. In childhood, it used to be a different feeling. Now after growing up, as Durga Puja begins, not just me but all musicians travel a lot for live shows. We are always busy during festive seasons. During Covid, we did a digital concert in Charkhi Dadri (in Haryana) during Durga Puja.
It’s difficult to find time for yourself. We still celebrate Durga Puja so consciously if you decide to celebrate. Normally, people who perform professionally go to live shows, connect with people and it also feels good. But it is nothing like we used to celebrate in my childhood.
My mother used to sing professionally. So I am a second generation singer-composer. I have a lot of memories with my mother. When I was a child, I could not prepare music by myself. So she used to write and prepare songs for me and she used to listen to it. The memories of my mother are closest to my heart. She also used to perform live on stage during her time. And I also got to perform with her in my neighbourhood, which made it even more special.
Do you also perform in star-studded Durga Pujas?
Yes, I have performed in front of Rani Mukerji at Durga Puja. The day before yesterday, I had performed at Abhijeet Bhattacharya’s Puja. Earlier too, I had performed in different star-studded pujas. It was a very good experience. Everyone was nice. There was a different crowd. There were a few visitors. But Rani Mukerji’s mother also enjoyed the show. So it feels good. I have met her brother Raja also. So we do get to interact with the celebs during live shows.
Tell us about your musical journey.
My musical journey started with shastriya sangeet. Later, when I appeared in reality shows, people got to know about me because television is a very important medium in our country. After that, I started doing playback singing. I was very lucky that over the years, in India’s regional languages, different composers have given me a lot of good songs and are releasing them. So I am very happy about it.
I always wanted to sing in playback because playback is a very big thing in our country. I used to watch movies and our cinema is very colourful. I used to listen to music. So it was a fascination to listen to music, which made me pursue singing professionally. I enjoy singing and I will continue doing it. I discovered the skill of composing later. I enjoy it a lot because my creative side has grown in the last 4-5 years.

How has been your experience with the Indian music industry?
If I talk about my musical career, I feel very lucky because I have received calls from composers like Vidyasagar and AR Rahman asking me to sing for them. But it does not mean that this will keep on happening. The industry has changed a lot in the last 15 years. I have seen, especially today, when kids are starting, it is very important to be a go-getter. Whether an offer comes or not, you can introduce yourself. I have done it in many places, introduced myself, showed them my body of work and said I would like to work with you. It is not a big deal. You should not have that kind of ego but it is a matter of self-respect. There are some artists who go and sit in a production house or ask for songs. It does not look good. But it is not bad to introduce yourself.
With the music industry, the experience has been good. Sometimes there are ups and downs. So it is a mix of different kinds of experiences which makes your journey special. You will always learn good things. There were also many failures which I had to face, which makes your personality visible.
Would you call singing a stable career option?
Singing is not a stable career option. I will not lie. But I can say that if you are passionate about it and if you really like it, I think you can do a lot with it for many years. You will get a lot of experiences, you will meet a lot of new people with whom you learn a lot. So it is a dynamic profession. I have seen a lot of people who have left a stable job to pursue their hobby and they are doing a good job in the music industry. So definitely there will be something for people who are passionate about it.
Have you ever faced any uncertainties in your career?
Yes, I have faced uncertainties. I have been in this career for 15-16 years. At that time, my family was very supportive. So whenever there was any issue like I have lent my voice to a song and seen it getting replaced by someone else’s voice. Initially, I used to feel bad but my family used to support me and they are still supporting me. But after a certain time, I used to feel bad because when they were not there. I might not have been able to handle those setbacks if my family wasn’t there.
Something about your upcoming projects…
I am working on some songs for my family. With playbacks, I have some interesting releases in Telugu. I am working with Ajay-Atul and Javed-Mohsin in Hindi. I have sung a semi-classical song for a movie starring Arjun Rampal. I have also sung in Malhar. And there are some good line-ups in Bengali also, which will come out soon.

Pahije Jatiche | Song – Duniyadaari

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