On a high note

On a high note


Maharashtra has always provided the Hindi film music industry with great voices. Be it the Mangeshkar sisters or the melodious Sudesh Wadkar, music lovers have always been enriched with voices from the state. The latest addition to the illustrious list is Vaishali Samant, who participated in Meri Awaz Suno a few years back, who is now delivering back-to-back hits in the Marathi and Hindi film industries.

Vaishali SamantVaishali explains, “I learnt Marathi natya sangeet at an early stage of my life. But I must confess that I was quite shy about stage performances at that time.”
Difficult to believe if one sees Vaishali today. Not only does she sing with a lot of gusto, her stage performances are charming and energetic too. “It was during my college days that the situation with respect to stage performances changed. I started performing in many college fests and other functions. That made me realise that I could perform in front of hundreds of people,” she says.

Vaishali feels that the college stint along with her interactions with Marathi composer Avadhoot Gupte, tilted her thoughts in favour of a career in music. “Although I didn’t win in Meri Awaaz Suno, it was still an eye-opener for me. I learned so much about playback singing in that show. They were basic things — how to pronounce a word, how to use the microphone, how to modulate my voice — but what I learnt helped in grooming me as a singer,” says Vaishali, whose perfect rendition of songs like Aika dajiba, Kombdi padali, Cham cham karta have become a rage, not just in Maharashtra, but across the region. “Meri Awaaz Suno also increased my confidence. That has helped me a lot in my career,” she adds.

Interestingly, Vaishali has a degree in fishery science and could have well pursued a career in science. Didn’t her parents object to her moving away from a secure scientist’s career to an uncertain entertainment world? Vaishali responds, “There was no objection as such, but yes, they were a bit worried and confused about me leaving a career in science and choosing singing instead.”

Vaishali got her first break from renowned Marathi composer Shridhar Phadke and after that she slowly started getting more offers. After singing in chorus numbers, she started singing cover versions. She even sang scratch versions for recordings, before the original singer came in and recorded over her version. She did feel sad about it then, but as she didn’t have any godfather in the industry, there was no other option but struggle. Slowly, her remixed cover versions (Sajna hai mujhe, Tu tu hai wahi, Disco 82, etc) started getting popular and she got noticed by Hindi film composers. “Music directors would ask me if I had sung any film song earlier. I did not have anything to say. Unless they gave me an opportunity, how will I have new songs in my kitty?” Vaishali says of her initial struggle in the industry. Left without any option, she started concentrating on jingles, stage shows and cover versions.

That is when Aika dajiba happened. “Music director Avadhoot Gupte had composed the song long time back. But getting everything together took time and we could only launch the song three years later. But I guess it was worth the wait,” says Vaishali. The song changed Vaishali’s fortune to a great extent. After this, the Vaishali Samant-Avadhoot Gupte combination worked well and went on to deliver many other hits. She has also sung for A R Rahman in films like Taal, Saathiya and Lagaan — most of the alaap in these songs were sung by her.

The talented singer has even ventured into music direction and has been signed up for some Marathi films. “I am lucky that singers like Sonu Nigam, Sadhana Sargam and Shankar Mahadevan have agreed to sing for me. In fact, after singing my song, Shankar Mahadevan praised my composition a lot. That was a huge compliment for me,” she says.

So how does the future look like to her? The mother of a 18-month-old son says, “I want to sing more Hindi songs. I have struggled a lot to reach this level. I know I will have to work harder to move ahead. I will need to balance my personal and professional life well too.”

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